Jan 13 2010

Brief comments on two recent reviews of Digital Habitat

Published by at 1:45 pm under General,Reviews and responses

Roy Christopher on Culture, Computers, and Communities: Two Recent Books


Thanks, Roy. I think your point about nature and technology is exactly the point we were trying to make about community and technology: the two are becoming so intertwined that they constitute each other in deep ways.


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Alice MacGillivray (2009). Book review of Digital Habitats: Stewarding technologies for communities by
Wenger, White and Smith
, in Emergence: Complexity and Organization, Vol. 11 (4) pp. 99-104.


I just read your review of the book, Alice, and it is amazing. As John said, it is much more than a review. It reminds me of an off-comment by Fritjof Capra who said a while back that my work amounts to a complexity approach without the jargon. I considered it a deep compliment. Even if at times I thought that you were quite generous in your reading of our work, I have always felt a deep familiarity when I have read work about complexity. Recent discussions by Chris Rodgers of Ralph Stacey’s critique of my work have emphasized the importance of not being distracted by small differences in terminology that may prevent recognition of family resemblance between pieces of work. You certainly have done this kind of brokering beyond language differences. You and I have already discuss this tension about adopting the vocabulary of one school of thought. I have always tended to resist that (partly for the sake of sparing the audience, partly because of my own insecurity about mastering the language) and tried to focus on describing the phenomenon at hand in terms suggested by the phenomenon. But I have to say that it is very rewarding to see someone else make the connection explicitly.

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