Awesome Event Alert! Social Networks: Humanist Models for Modern Practices?

The title is quite a mouthful, but the SFU Woodwards Cultural Unit (with other partners) is holding what sounds like a fascinating discussion on Monday June 18th from 7-9PM. Details below and  can be found here. Best of all, tickets are free!

From the SFU Woodwards website:

June 18, 2012 | 7:00 PM

SFU Woodward’s Cultural Unit, University of Victoria, the French Consulate in Vancouver and the Or Gallery present a public debate:

SOCIAL NETWORKS: HUMANIST MODELS FOR MODERN PRACTICES?

Reserve your seat at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3399049649

Are we witnessing a friendship inflation? And the subsequent devaluation of the very word “friend” due to its ubiquitous use on social networks and other forms of public participation?

The noun has become a verb: ‘to friend’ and seems to cover new ways of relating to virtual and real communities. Many have emphasized the change in habits and vocabulary brought by recent technologies allowing numerous and diverse groups to meet on line through organizations such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Nevertheless, the novelty of technology may well refer to an old chicken and egg debate: if these networking technologies have been developed and if they met success, surely they were answering needs and desires from numbers of people and, even if they helped fashion these needs into the forms of wall-pages or chats, they cannot be the ultimate cause for the social networking frenzy of the last decade.

Rather than to watch from close our current practices, the debate proposes a detour by bygone ways of networking for thinking our present times: “friend” has been a buzzword for a very long time in Western culture, especially during the periods of redefinition of nations, frontiers, and social roles such as the Renaissance or the Enlightenment.

The success of public declarations of friendship is not new either. On the contrary, it seems that friendship, positioned on the threshold of public and private spheres, has been a way of proposing alternative structures for political or institutional rigidness. In particular, in times of war, exile, or, more recently, globalization and growing powerlessness, friendship can be perceived as a reinvention of citizenship.

Moderated by Colin Browne, SFU Film Professor


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