Monthly Archives: January 2010

Digest #22

Since there is much more than just blogs at this point, I decided to rename this section; but nothing major.

This time there are some links related to the comments on the FCC stand on net neutrality, some stats summarizing 2009 as well as some regional stats, a number of provoking ideas on database security, digital collectivism, and more, a little bit on media and environment, and of course some fun stuff.  Enjoy!

  • Recent news related
  • Interesting reports, numbers, and visualizations
  • Interesting thoughts, ideas, opinions, and discussions
  • Digital Divide
  • MICT regulation
  • MICT business
  • “New” media
  • Simply Interesting, Fun, and Coll Stuff
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    The duality of hoidays

    Quoting my dear friend, Anichka: “Hello Two Thousand and Ten! You be good now.”  This is my first post in the new year and I would like to use this opportunity to share a short semi-theoretical observation.

    There was an article in the NY Times titled “Saying No, No, No to the Ho-Ho-Ho.”  The article is about people who have decided not to celebrate Christmas in 2009.  People did it for various reasons, but the following quote from Renata Rafferty, a 53-year-old philanthropy adviser, I think summarizes the overall sentiment.  She said that she decided not to stress herself by “conforming to some tyranny of the ‘shoulds.’”

    I think this idea of the “tyranny of ‘shoulds'” is a great example of social structures as those are defined in the Theory of Structuration.  We do things because this is the way it is, because we are used to.  This is how we grew up doing them and we do not think much about their meaning or why we partake in that specific activity.  People celebrate Christmas (or any other holiday for that matter) in a particular way because they should and because they grew up doing it that way.  People in many places over the world shop away the month of December, just because this is “expected” and constantly reinforced.  For example, until recently, once of the jewelry counters in a local mall, had a sign saying “Accessorize your love this Christmas” and that was the leitmotif of the entire holiday season elsewhere.

    However, ideas such as those presented in the NYT article, are an example of reflexive monitoring of our behavior.  It provides a collection of opinion where people are discursively reflecting on their behavior, which in turn allows them to change it. The fact that this reflection is discursive allows others (like me, and now you reading this post) to reevaluate their behavior regarding that structure.  The interesting part in my eyes, that if you read the comments to the article you can see that this discursive reflection is used by some to reinforce their current behavior (particularly for those who don’t like what they see the holiday has become) or to alter it (the article was an “aha” moment for some of the readers) – all this happens in the context of how each one of those people is celebrating Christmas and how they grew up thinking about it (read, duality of structure).  Moreover, for yet another category of readers, especially those who like Christmas and the way it is celebrated, this discursive reflection caused to look for an alternative explanation as to why they think it should be kept the way it is.  Overall, there can be a great number of different reactions, but all of them would be fueled by the same reflective mechanism.

    I think this is a really nice and interesting example of how the structuration works.  What do you think?  I only hope that I am not that owner of a hummer (theory) who views everything as nails (structuration).