Re-engineering of Values in the Global Information Society

Alberto Abruzzese and Carlo Grasi


Every criterion of social phenomenon qualitative evaluation and its material and immaterial products are on the break-point between generic form of industrial systems and localistic forms of post-industrial systems. In this break-point it should regenerate every classical questions of the modern thought: on politics, aestethics and ethics (direct democracy or representative democracy; relationship between information and consent; relationship between culture and widespread consuption; relationship between pornography or media violence and society; relationship between television and children; relationship between majority and minority, etc.). In this break-point should start a deconstruction and rebuild radical process of values and rules. In the modern societies difficulties on building values and norms good for anybody is prevailing, i.e. negotiated in massificate ambients and then characterized by strong powers egemony, modelled both on joint identities and predominantly one-way (i.e. top-bottom and centre-periphery), and, in any case, frontal interactions (individual vs. collectivity; production vs. consumption; power vs. mass; knowledge vs. istinct).

In the post-modern societies is prevailing the opposite difficulty. To the great systems of general interests solidity and solidariety, is contrasted the social necessity of build new values and new rules, although they are valid only in limited fields. They are characterized by emergence of singular identities, founded on interactivity and transversality high-level interactions among all post-modern society members.

In the modern societies social policies, aestetichs and ethics have colonized or marginalized localized forms of the human experience because their modern calling (the physical territory as “membering”; the body as the sensorial environment of the “to be there” [it. esserci, ger. Dasein]; moreover, the person as hisself-desire). In the post-modern societies these very localistic signification forms go further languages dominion and generalists customs. In this way they are weakened till the breaking of their legitimacy, without be replaced in their ancient cohesive function.

Our present time is characterized by a synchronyc intersection between two opposite movements: the first is the connection we have with the old system and its specific dichotomies between localistic forms of memberships and collectives forms of representation (nation, state, parties, institutions, etc.) and, the other is the breaking which is opening between the identitary processes new quality and the systems models which have mediated between parts and the whole up today. Under this side the new media nature (namely communications and representations forms available with the ITCs), are responding to the critical state of both these moments: it can support localism (of the local site, of the body, of the person, of the community) but, moreover, raise the globalization processes level at a planetary dimension. That push new media further the national and international dispositives of which modern systems have enjoyed and more deeply in comparison to the mass-media power control.

If the cybernetic technology quality is able to satisfy both the modern tradition and its opposite, than its relationship with ethical and social values is depending upon political negotiation of its use, of the ends we ascribe it, of the product which will be estabilished on the market. In this clash all the historically used for social control machineries are objectively more backward than consumer cultures. From ethical and social tension they have for contrasting new media emerge a very interesting paradox.

Traditional paradigms of modernity reaffirm a conventional formula: what pretend to contain the uncontrolled effects of the market push by means of socially motivated rules as the social interests, solidarity, quality of life and equality. The appeal to a strong rules system able in filter individual wishes particularity and extremism, push on the use of new technologies which is profitable for globalization processes, and then of the strategies which the modern cultures thinks are reason for authoritaries boundaries and disequality.

So, we deal not with the designing of the innovation technology sense as mapped on the right, the beautiful and the good demands in contrast of the utilitaristic interests brutality. So, we deal not with the filtering of new media significance (thinked as an high-risk revolution or as negative thing) appealling to the traditional values or generalistic systems. Instead we deal with to revolutionize the values to ascribe to technology, so we need to recognize problems to solve, the meaning to attribute to new rules, starting from the root out which human identity suffer in the mass social regimes and in the group representation forms.

New network and virtual technologies value can be negotiated only having made a political and strategical choice. Namely a background choice with which made possible (by means of digital language-based technologies flexibility) not only an antimodernist turn but also all mediation and graduality forms which are now necessary for performing the transit from joint identities to personal one. This have to be a choice which be able not only in thinking but yet in acting for assure the need of a general compatibility to normative universes each other incompatible. This is the real challenge that the epochal changement of the jointly systems centralization oriented to reticular and conflictual systems proliferation is launching us.

English Translation by Antonio Marturano