Cybertrauma and Technocultural Shock in Contemporary Media Culture

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Abstract

This paper investigates the relations between contemporary media culture and the ‘culture of trauma’ that has been emerging during the last few decades by focusing on three arguments. First, it approaches the prevalence of trauma in popular culture and academic debate in terms of the ability of the concept to epitomise the experience of postmodern technoculture. As a concept primarily defined by its overwhelming nature, trauma may be seen as representative of the period of postmodernity which has been theorised in terms of an ‘information overload.’ Second, the prevalence of trauma is interpreted due to the fact that the very nature and function of the new media reproduce the experience of trauma, in that they produce new ways of experiencing time and space that resemble the structure of trauma. And third, contemporary media technologies serve as the major site wherein contemporary trauma is not just witnessed but actually produced and registered as traumatic in the first place. ‘Cybertrauma’ thus stands as a term registering a feedback loop between the discourses of cyberculture and traumaculture. As ‘trauma’ has often been theorised in relation to the concept
of ‘shock,’ ‘cybertrauma’ is seen as a response to the ‘technocultural shock’ of the Information Revolution at the turn of the early twenty-first century.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Media and the politics of Online Communities
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherInter-disciplinary Press
Pages173-180
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781848880320
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • cyberculture
  • media
  • trauma
  • memory
  • Freud
  • Lacan
  • Kittler
  • media events

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