Technically Together

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Book: Technically Together: Rethinking Community within Techno-Society. By Michele A. Willson. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2006


Review

Excerpt from the RCSS review by Lisa Justine Hernández:


"Technically Together confronts the ironic sense of isolation felt by many people in our increasingly technologically connected society. Michele Willson cleverly entitles her first book with an allusion to the conflicting tendency people have to seek both individuality and togetherness, a conflict undeterred by technology. Her book explores this conflict in a new, interesting way by focusing on the effects technology has on community. As Willson notes, "the title, Technically Together, is ... part description and part question. It refers to the increasing ways in which being together is technologically mediated, and it also questions the form, degree, and experience of this type" (3). As an initial stage of a much larger project, Willson takes the time to unpack terms useful for theorizing how technology affects our ways of being-together.

One strength Technically Together has is addressing the interplay between the individual and the social as components of community. The book addresses ways of being-together in real-space and cyberspace by looking beyond both the nostalgic ideas of traditional community and the utopian ideas of virtual community. Willson provides a useful framework for understanding the changing, complex relationship between real-space and cyberspace experiences. In addition to exposing the effects of technology on both individuals and society, Technically Together differentiates society from community, and exposes similarities between real-space and cyberspace.

Willson's work strikes a critical balance that both avoids glorifying technology's utopian potential or vilifying its ability to oppress and distance individuals from meaningful community. She does this by raising questions that clarify our understanding of community, subjectivity, and technology.

Clearly structured, the book is divided into two sections. Part one, "Establishing a Framework: Theorizing Community, Technology, and Intersubjectivity," includes three chapters filled with new terms and that outline, as promised, her analytical framework." (http://rccs.usfca.edu/bookinfo.asp?ReviewID=545&BookID=393)