Cultural polysemy: Exploring cultural codes through digital and non-digital practices

Anirban Ray

Abstract


Cultural dimension and contexting models have outlived their methodological significance as stand-alone methods for cultural investigation. Looking at cultures by using a universal framework alone poses serious problems when faced with concepts like cultural convergence, diffusion, and integration. The etics-then emics approach, though a valuable corrective, focuses too much macro-level units of analyses without factoring technologies into its interpretive framework. This paper underscores the role of digital technologies, especially the Web and the computer in shaping cultural discourse and argues that research in cultural studies should consider technological universals in conjunction with macro-level cultural units. It explores the technological implications to cultural practices by tracing the development of some of the most significant stages in the history of digital technologies. Toward this end, the study discusses findings from a research study of older Indian users and emphasizes the value of combining common cultural and technological denominators through a blended interactive approach or BIA.

Keywords


digital technologies; culture; etics; emics;senior citizens;India

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