Friday, July 17, 2009

In search of critical optimists

KSU anthropology professor Mike Wesch reports back from a Personal Democracy Forum at Lincoln Center, borrowing the phrase "critical optimism" to describe the crowd of "amazingly creative and concerned global citizens" he met there -- a pretty good description of Wesch himself, and of Paul Jones at UNC, whose Facebook post pointed me to this video of Wesch's talk. Coincidentally, Wesch starts out talking about the book Amusing Ourselves to Death, which Paul may have assigned to a class I was in a dozen years ago.

Digital Ethnography: Toward a New Future of “Whatever...” (Higher def version of the video at Wesch's own site.)

More of his comments on the Personal Democracy Forum audience:
"They were all continually trying to figure out where we are, where we might be going, and the possible downsides and dangers of new technologies so we can use the new technologies to serve human purposes. In other words, it was my kind of crowd."