Publication 18

Pörksen B. (2006) Digital Distinctions: An Analytical Method for the Observation of the WWW and the Emerging Worlds of Communication. Constructivist Foundations 2(1): 17–27. Fulltext at
Purpose: The inspection of the World Wide Web reveals a multitude of speculative, frequently contradictory diagnoses: the dynamic evolution of the media demonstrably correlates with a multitude of competing descriptions. It is the author’s attempt and the purpose of this paper to systematize the descriptive approaches from a meta-observer’s point of view. Approach: The author takes advantage of a constructivist “philosophy of distinctions” (Heinz von Foerster), employing it as a strategy of presentation and reflection. He starts with some general remarks describing this philosophy of distinctions, then using a number of central guiding differences (e.g., mass communication/individual communication, private/public etc.) as a suitable instrument to systematize a wide variety of descriptions. In the concluding section, he outlines an analytical method of meta-observation and specifies, in an abstract way, tendencies of potential discourse change which can be seen regarding the WWW and the emerging worlds of communication. It is demonstrated in what ways such a method could be helpful in seeking out the changes and the varying assessments of the life-world cyberspace. Conclusion: The author comes to the conclusion that the analytical method of observing distinctions that has been proposed here is capable of continual refinement; its design is sufficiently complex to permit a situation-specific activation and immediate reaction whenever unexpected developmental tendencies emerge and the contours of digital worlds of communication begin to change again and again.


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