Tag Archives: internet

Module 1.2 – Tribalism

As an antithesis to Howe’s “Cyberspace is no place for tribalism”, I wanted to highlight this interesting journal article I found which appropriates the language of indigenous people to discuss the potential sociocultural benefits of being part of a “tribe” in the online world:

An Online Community as the New Tribalism: The World of Warcraft

In particular I was drawn to the concept that the authors of this paper would feel the best way to describe the building of an online world or community would be “tribalism” when World of Warcraft happens to have its own nomenclature for this type of group already in place (“guilds”) which would have probably been more natural terminology for an article of this sort.  This article discusses the social benefit to the use of joining an online “tribe”.  That alone makes one think of the significant cultural appropriation taking place, that articles writing about something as (relatively speaking) insignificant could feel comfortable taking the language of enormous swaths of people to explain the experience of community/online world-building.

I think it also brings up some thoughts about the way in which we see ourselves in online communities, like this? Is there space for indigenous internet users to actually build tribal spaces online that feel authentic?

Module 1.1 – The Impact of Digital Technologies on Indigenous Peoples

While I was reading the first article for Module 1, I got to thinking a bit more about the impact of  digital technologies on indigenous traditions.  I wanted to read more about beliefs and conventions surrounding how and when technologies, such as video (YouTube, Vimeo) or audio recordings (podcasts, terrestrial radio) are considered suitable for cultural and educational knowledge transmission.

As a result I came across EcoLiterateLaw’s page, which focuses on globalization and the transformation of cultures and humanity.  There the author discusses the uses and impacts of technologies and technology tools (as mentioned above) as they can be seen to benefit indigenous communities, primarily by fueling self-determination and self-identification, and by allowing for information and knowledge sharing online.  Furthermore, there is some suggested benefit to having the ability to participate in knowledge exchange through online chat or forum groups, that allow indigenous groups to meet and learn from other, more disparate groups, in ways that were previously unavailable.

In spite of all these highlighted potential benefits, the article comes to discuss the negative connotations of indigenous participation online,

…because colonizers are the ones with the resources to be in control of this information, the Internet, for the most part, is only a modern tool for further colonization.  And, there is always the risk that others, who have no stake in Indigenous peoples integrity or survival, will circulate stories, histories, cultures, and traditions devoid of respect for the principles underlying the veracity of those principles.  Although there may be reason to believe otherwise, history has shown that the stories of “[I]ndigenous peoples worldwide . . . have been told and manipulated by others, only to be reduced to fantasy, novelty, myth, and untruth. [Indigenous] knowledge was validated, discarded, or modified to suit a strategy of colonization, conquering both geography and knowledge systems.”

I found this quite enlightening and made me think of the concept of concealed identities online in a different light.

1.2 – Top Level Domains and Culture

There has been a couple interesting ideas that I would like to share in this post regarding the internet as a place for cultures to find a voice and meet (even digitally). The first is a hopeful evolution of the top level domain name. Now, non-latin alphabets are supported as URL for various countries… check these links out:

On the flip side, there has been cultural exploitation via top level domains. Those are the suffixes each country uses (eg. Canada gets .ca). As the internet has grown, certain top level domains have become desirable… Tuvalu (.tv) was an early winner. Sadly, the Chagos Islanders (of whom there are very few and cannot live on their home islands due to being ousted by the British and US Military) have never see a cent from their country’s TL domain (.io). The money for registering this went to a holding company and is a sad bookend to their tumultuous history.