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September 26, 2007

The Material World

Last night, our class gathered around a book entitled "Material World." It depicted portraits of families residing in various countries. We seemed to agree that the photographs portrayed each family in a very stereotypical manner (i.e. the Texan family praying, the Mexican man lying on the couch, the Haitians struggle for survival, etc.) These stereotyped depictions got me thinking; how much do we really know about each other? I mean, do we know what life is really like for others around the world?

These questions led me to consider the era in which we live. We must remember that "Material World" was published in 1993. Granted, that was not very long ago, however the online world has grown considerably since the early 1990's. How much of an impact has this new technology had on getting to know each other? Are we better informed about the average Haitian, Chinese, British, etc...person's life today than we were in 1993? Or is the internet so unavailable in certain areas of the world (like Ethiopia) that it has not made much of a difference?

I believe that the internet has had some impact, but it has the potential to do even more. If more people around the world had access to the web, we could educate ourselves about each other and perhaps abolish some of the steadfast stereotypes we see portrayed in publications like "Material World."

Posted by leslieph at September 26, 2007 09:47 PM


i wonder what people, who previously haven't been exposed to the internet would think if it came to their geographic location...would they accept cyberspace or reject it...

are all steadfast stereotypes false?

Posted by: kymmer at September 27, 2007 09:53 PM

If the internet were introduced into remote countries I think it would be accepted within 2 generations, provided literacy were not an issue. Here in the US it has taken about that long for it to become accepted and people are not much different, no matter where you live.

I think Leslie's question about the internet connecting us to foreign cultures is interesting because the internet has not necessarily allowed us to connect with our own culture. The United States is incredibly well wired yet we were discussing in class the other day how depression is on the rise due to isolation. Perhaps we should re-examine our own use of the internet before promoting it to others? Or maybe by promoting it to other cultures we will discover better ways to use it?

Posted by: srmschlg at September 30, 2007 12:29 PM

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