Digital Culture: The Changing Dynamics
Edited by Aleksandra Uzelac and Biserka Cvjetičanin
Culturelink Joint Publication Series No. 12, Institute for International Relations, Zagreb, 2008, 202 pp., 30 €, ISBN: 978-953-6096-46-6
Digital culture is a new complex notion: today digital trends are increasingly interloping with the world of culture and arts, involving different aspects of convergence of cultures, media and information technologies, and influencing new forms of communication. The new possibilities created by ICT – global connectivity and the rise of networks – challenge our traditional ways of understanding culture, extending it to digital culture as well. So, culture today should be understood as an open and dynamic process that is based on interactive communication, and we cannot think of it as an enclosed system which makes up a 'cultural mosaic' with other similar or diverse cultural systems. The ICT and especially the Internet, has given these interrelations a new dimension, by changing our relation towards knowledge and knowledge society, by intensifying the flow of cultural goods and services, and by causing a new understanding of cultural creativity.
The book entitled Digital Culture: The Changing Dynamics, is the result of discussions among experts, members of the Culturelink Network and IMO's researchers, in the course of the past few years on the impact of information and communication technologies on culture and the changes that in the context of the information era affect established cultural practices and concepts. The inspiration for producing this book rose from the meeting of experts at the Culturemondo conference, held in Dubrovnik, Croatia in 2006, hosted by Culturelink. Informal debates led to the proposal to unite different approaches, opinions and reflections about the phenomena transforming the world today into one book focusing on digital culture.
The papers in this book examine possible shifts in the integration of new technologies and digital culture in the processes of affirming cultural diversity and intercultural communication by presenting different case studies and trend analyses – examining the changes brought about by the new context of the interactive and participatory Internet and the responses of the cultural sector to them, and analysing how cultural policies deal with digital culture. By providing insights into these interrelated aspects, the book is trying to answer the question – how can we talk about cultural diversity in the digital domain and what are the current trends? To understand the interrelation of the local and the global, the articles in this book analyse existing practices in the digital realm. The SEE context is analysed in one part of this book, thus providing evidence-based research of digital diversity trends and informing cultural policies in the SEE region.
The Introduction, aims to give an understanding of digital culture, viewing it from the perspective of a common resource for knowledge society and as a new social ecology that conditions experiences and opportunities of citizens today, where the digital network environment has brought on new practices, possibilities and threats. Part One, entitled Digital Culture – The New Social Ecology, discusses various aspects of digital culture, from its move to the real world – ambient intelligence, to its aspects related to (free) communication – analyzing the social and cultural changes which emerged with the appearance of media technologies, as well as examining how these changes influence the transformations of the mediated public sphere and considering the social implications of the transformation of the cultural and media production and the way this reflects on issues of copyright regulation. The contributions in Part One try to sketch the development directions digital culture is taking and their impact on the social ecology that we are shaping through building new legislative and institutional structures. Part Two, Conceptualising Policies for Digital Culture,, brings contributions that analyze how cultural policies deal with digital culture and new virtual structures such as cultural portals, and look at issues arising from the new relations between real and virtual spheres. In the Part Three, Cultural Practices in the Digital Territory, authors discuss the development of digital structures in the cultural sector, and try to analyze and propose a cultural portals ecology and shed light on the nature of the changes the cultural sector has to take into account when developing its services in the virtual context.
We thank all experts who participated with their contributions in the making of this book, helping raise numerous questions, offering analysis and thought-experiments, trying to imagine the future of our world. Our gratitude also goes to the UNESCO Venice office, which made possible the publication of this book and the spread of knowledge on digital culture in South East Europe and internationally. This book is also benefits from the support received from the Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports through the framework of the long-term research project entitled Cultural Diversity, Intercultural Communication and Digital Culture, within which this book has been produced.