The Trouble with Culture: How Computers Are Calming the Culture Wars (Hardcover)
In this highly original book, anthropologist F. Allan Hanson reveals an entirely unanticipated but vital link between two of the most widely discussed features of contemporary American society: the computer revolution and the culture wars. Hanson argues that the culture wars stem from a divergence in the evolutionary paths of society and culture. Societies have evolved significantly over the last few millennia from small bands of farmers or hunter-gatherers into huge, internally diverse nation-states, while cultures--the closed systems of meanings and symbols that kept small, face-to-face societies together--have failed to keep pace. If cultures became more open, Hanson contends, then the maladaptive rupture between society and culture would be healed and the clashes that currently beset us would be greatly diminished. Interweaving lucid analysis with concrete case studies of common law, education, and other areas of contemporary life, Hanson demonstrates how the widespread use of computers is, in fact, encouraging more originality and open-mindedness, with the potential to ease polarization and calm the culture wars.
F. Allan Hanson is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kansas and the author of several books, including Testing Testing: Social Consequences of the Examined Life.