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The Internet as the new American Frontier: ''There where there is no there''

Maria Cristina Caimotto - Università degli Studi di Torino - [2001-02]
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  • Tesi completa: 212 pagine
  • Abstract
    This thesis studies the relationships between new digital technologies, generally known as the Internet, and the culture of the United States. There seems to be a strong connection between the Net and American cultural issues. Thousands of times the Internet has been called “the new frontier”, recalling the conquest of the American West. Most of all, we must not forget that the Internet was born in the United States, and from the United States, from the American people, it has taken a great many characteristics. Sociological studies about the growth of cities in America show many aspects in common with sociological studies about the Internet. Classic works about the American spirit, such as Emerson’s, Turner’s or Crèvecoeur’s, may prove to be still effective if applied to the spirit that has driven the people who built up what we now call World Wide Web.
    What I am trying to do in this thesis, is to put the American electronic information circulating on the web together with scholarly writings about American culture, in order to show that there is a strong connection between American attitudes, American ideologies and history and the way the Internet has developed. I try to show the relationship between contemporary American culture and digital technologies, and I try to explain why we have to bear in mind where the Internet comes from.
    The World Wide Web, as its very name indicates, is a global medium of communication. I believe it is important to understand and remember that it was invented in America and that it first became popular there among ordinary people. It grew in America and together with it grew metaphors that are deeply linked to American culture, and we risk misunderstanding if we ignore where these metaphors come from and how they developed.

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