Commentary

Civic Life, or Civic Responsibility?

Today in my rhetoric class, we talked about civic life and individual refinement. I am trying to make a connection to technology and new media with civic life. Let me provide an example:

This is what I study

Civic life simply means being a good citizen, that you contribute something to society through whatever it is that you do. The ancients saw this as attending public forums, engaging in politics, being educated, being a craftsman, etc. During the Renaissance, a shift in ideologies began to develop: individual refinement through education and deep textual analysis, and practical application of knowledge through civic life.

More Human Than Human (Rob Zombie on Americana)

Though the article emphasizes practical application, the Humanists were split. Some drew from the ancient image of the stoic, studious scholar who was idolized for his good moral values and speaking talent; others drew from similar traits of good moral character, but less from immersion in deep textual analysis. Instead, some scholars sought to place themselves within society directly, and apply their education to better the community.

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Where have all the flowers gone?

Though immersion in textual analysis and study is important, I lean more on the side of applying the knowledge gained through specific research. Today, I can see technology and new media providing the space for civic life. Everyone now has the capabilities to contribute their voice through many different mediums and methods. Information sharing and immediate communication/collaboration has helped people find justice to the person who stole their cell phone, convict a slanderous politician, or even report when the first plane hit during 9/11 (Rosenberg, 2009). But I feel like our civic life can be improved further if focused on by new media designers. If we can grow closer to the decisions our politicians make, or global events that effect our society, we would could begin to notice how some technological innovations go beyond convenience towards social quality of life.

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