[SIGCIS-Members] Vinsel "An Unresolved Issue: Evgeny Morozov, The New Yorker, & the Perils of "Highbrow Journalism"

Sharon Traweek traweek at history.ucla.edu
Sat Oct 11 12:25:30 PDT 2014

I am very impressed with Lee Vinsel's analysis of the issues we have been addressing and I am eager to circulate it far and wide. I do have a suggestion and a comment.
First, the suggestion: since Morozov and Nasser did not give adequate citation to the works they summarized, I think it is important that we do so in writing abut these matters. Here they are:
* Eden Medina [MIT PhD], Informatics and Computing, Indiana University
Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile
[MIT, 2011] http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/cybernetic-revolutionaries

* Mara Mills [PhD Harvard], Media, Culture, & Communication, NYU
"...She is completing a book (On the Phone: Deafness and Communication Engineering) on the significance of phonetics and deaf education to the emergence of "communication engineering" in early twentieth-century telephony; this concept and set of practices later gave rise to information theory, digital coding, and cybernetics. ..."
Access her publications at http://maramills.org/publications/

Next is my comment:
I was surprised/amused that Browne regards the New Yorker as "highbrow journalism." Essays have been written in the UK and US for over 75 years differentiating class-based cultural consumption practices using the phrenological metaphors of low brow, lower-middle brow, middle brow, and upper-middle brow. See citations for many of those essays at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middlebrow
The New Yorker often has been mentioned as an exemplar of upper-middle brow culture; for an example, see William Deresiewicz, "Upper Middle Brow: The culture of the creative class," The American Scholar, 4 Nov 2012 http://theamericanscholar.org/upper-middle-brow/#.VDaufue0blU
One part of his argument is that upper middle brow culture consumption practices are aspirational and such practices  support upper brow cultural production. However, Morozov’s and Nasser’s work for the New Yorker and the Atlantic could not support the consumption of Eden Medina’s and Mara Mills’ academic work because the readers have not been given the proper names for the work being summarized.

Sharon Traweek, Gender Studies, UCLA
From: members-bounces at sigcis.org [members-bounces at sigcis.org] on behalf of Lee Vinsel [lee.vinsel at gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2014 5:55 AM
To: sigcis
Subject: [SIGCIS-Members] An Unresolved Issue: Evgeny Morozov, The New Yorker, and the Perils of "Highbrow Journalism"

Dear SIGCIS Members,

The Medina-Morozov situation continued to bother me, so I decided to write something about it. If you want me to remove reference to you or add such a reference (in cases where I write things like "One historian . . .), please let me know. Also please let me know if I have said anything inaccurate or even if you disagree with my argument. I believe that the kinds of arguments I make in this post can be right or wrong, and if I find that I have been wrong I will both make corrections and apologize publicly via the same venue.




Assistant Professor
Program on Science and Technology Studies
College of Arts and Letters
Stevens Institute of Technology
Hoboken, NJ 07030
Twitter: @STS_News
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