Journal 6 (tentative answer: less control)

In Wednesday’s class, we were asked whether Foucault’s methods exert more or less control and how they might apply to digital literacy. First, I consider the vast amount of data available on the web as inherently being freer or less restrained if compared to data available in print form. I suppose this is because the internet allows anyone with access to it the opportunity to have a voice as opposed to a selected few being able to publish, and be read, in print. Thus, the internet allows for a mechanism of loose authority where all users can publish blog posts or articles if they wish. That of course includes the freedom to choose the formality or style of writing, and as pointed out by Kalervo and Donna, that increasingly seems to involve the use of internet lingo or shorthand terms.

Because the incredible amount of websites permit a huge number of versions of texts and statements instead of a select few, power is distributed among many, even considering that just a handful of websites attract the most users. I don’t consider this as paradoxical because if one applies Foucault’s methods to the internet, the context such as the creator of the website and its number of users becomes irrelevant since Foucault focuses on the unique statement itself and ignores the rest, including that which lie hidden underneath or that do not survive. If the goal is to describe all levels of a statement, one would have to consider if the way data is transmitted over the internet is part of that description or if that hidden and non-repeatable information is linked to Foucault’s idea of positivism and can therefore be ignored. Otherwise, Foucault’s methodology might not be sufficient for digital literacy.

In terms of being more or less controlling, I see Foucault’s methodology as not exerting that much control over statements – it is specific and detailed, yes, but not controlling. Its goal is to simply describe, not to change or modify the statement in any way, which I find is quite open. The way that he seeks to look at transformations and ruptures also seems less confining than looking at sequences and chronologies which may imply that one would have predefined expectations to the results sought in the description.

My goals for this week are similar to those I had last week. These mini projects take time and I’m still working on modifying a PHP feature as well as starting to think about further suggestions of changes to ecgtext for the practicum. Of course, my main focus in the next few days is preparing my critique for the presentation.