Saturday, January 01, 2011

Raw or cooked?

I finally managed to finish writing about SNSs. Towards the end I started dwelling on the network metaphor itself. It's a distinctly 20th century metaphor which easily connects with the idea of networked computers and the world of digital connection even though social networking is itself a broader concept in the social sciences. In some ways the concept of a social network reduces the human social actor to a point, not even a point of view, but a point that connects in various ways to other points. Reading Wilcken's fascinating biography of Levi-Strauss made me see it as a structuralist concept, one that in extreme leads to an erasing of subjectivity and a reification of abstraction. Interestingly the small stuff, the detail in SNSs, maybe banal and largely regulated but the grander aspirations of the social graph pull in another direction altogether.