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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Writing about .... 


for writing

Another collection – this time it’s writing tools, sparked by hearing about historian Bethany Hughes talking about the impact of paper on European civilization.

As we know paper was invented by the Chinese - the idea probably traveled down trade routes, collectively referred to as the Silk Road, into the Mediterranean area. Hughes claims that Muslims learnt how to produce paper, and that it was the Moors who introduced paper into Europe from their paper factories in Andalusia.

In a fascinating documentary on Channel4 Hughes traced the history of the Moors and their Islamic society that ruled in Spain for 700 years. She explored the Moorish influence in mathematics, astronomy and medicine, romantic love, paper, deodorant… Just what we need to counter the current wave of Islam-a-phobia.

All right, so we have new surfaces for writing, new technologies, and, of course blogging. Here’s Alex Halavais writing about blogging. He isolates 4 things that blogs do. According to Alex, blogs:

1. promote communication in dispersed social networks
2. encourage reciprocal communication (feedback through comments, links, and other channels) fulfilling a ‘conversational desire’.
3. accumulate content in small segments, and have a low participation threshold
4. give a relatively open and unfiltered view of thinking-in-progress.

I’ll go with that. Anyone for a 5th?


Comments:
Absolutely.... No. 5. to provide a platform to replace teenage amateur dramatics societies. I have been desparate to perform for SOOOOO long and my blogging and commenting has realised my dream.
 
I'd like to know more about "conversational desires" - I am v. interested in the concept of desire (I even wrote a paper about it!) so would love to think about how conversational desire works...
 
Yep, an interesting turn of phrase that Alex uses. It would have had different resonances if he'd said 'communicative purpose'. I wonder if it could be interpreted as a desire to move beyond traditional discursive boundaries, to talk to a dispersed community, for instance, or a more basic human drive to exchange feelings/information/material that just gets extended in dig. culture? Is simply clare's comment about performance linked in to this, too. I always find myself recycling this idea that identity performance pre-supposes an audience. Could conversational desire be related to needing an audience and wanting feedback?
 
Such a great link to Alex's blog. Thanks for this Guy. You are a true flaneur of the Internet.
 
Good to have you back in the conversation DrJ, you're insatiable!
 
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