This presentation develops out of our work on the Analysis Paper. The goal of the presentation is to offer insights about a particular community that is relevant to you through an analysis of the organizational structure of the community and its relationship to technology. This community can be your field, academic discipline, or expected profession, but you are also welcome to change your focus for this presentation. The presentation draws on our readings from Clay Shirky and the video from Steven Johnson. Shirky and Johnson help us consider how digital technologies radically reframe our understanding of communication, organizational structure, professions, and innovation and creativity. In your presentation, you should achieve the following (not necessarily in this order):
- Look at your community from a more distant perspective, thinking about its organizational structure and its use of technology (this might involve research, or it might involve your own understanding of the community). From this perspective, address these sorts of questions: is the organizational structure of the community hierarchical or non-hierarchical? How so? Is it shifting in any ways? In what ways does your community involve sharing, cooperation, and/or collective action? In what ways does your community foster the sort of innovation that Johnson describes? What does innovation in this community look like? To what extent is this community “professional”? Are there professional standards and gatekeepers of those standards? How does this community use technology? Has it been shaped in any way by digital technologies and environments? What aspects of the community have been or can be technologized and made available to amateurs? How will this shift the nature of your profession over time?
- Define and describe your community, noting its main attitudes, values, beliefs, orientation, and trained incapacities. What distinguishes this community and its members in terms of what is important to them and how they see the world? Also, make direct connections between the community and your analysis of its organizational structure and use of technology. Do these things work to promote a sense of identification between members of the community, or do they create divisions and tensions? Do the orientation and trained incapacities of the community make it more or less likely to adapt to changes in organizational structure and use of technology? What do we learn about the community through your analysis of its organizational structure and use of technology?
Your presentation should be 4.5-6 minutes long, and it should include visual aids as you see fit to help you develop your analysis and conclusions.