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A book by ECU communication professor Tami Tomasello has been nominated for an outstanding research award. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Tomasello Book Explores Technology and 'Space'

By Erica Plouffe Lazure

An ECU communications professor’s book that examines how technology, such as cell phones and the Internet, shape and challenge traditional notions of “space” has been nominated for a research award.

Tami Tomasello’s book, “Managing the Infosphere: Governance, Technology, and Cultural Practice in Motion” (Temple University Press, 2007), received a nomination for the Association of American Geographers’ Political Geography Specialty Group’s Julian Minghi Outstanding Research Award. Tomasello is co-author of the book, along with colleagues from Florida State University.

Drawing from geography, political science, international relations and communications, the book explores problems specific to the networked world, from telecommunications and global tourism to business travel and the Internet.

In the past, Tomasello said, most communication occurred in fixed locations, like the home or office; airports and highways were the means through which people moved to travel from one place to the other.

“Today, the emergence of wireless communication is transforming these spaces of transportation into places of communication,” she said. “Many of us have had the experience of obtaining clearer and more reliable cell phone coverage on a major highway than in our own living rooms.”

The prevalence of new communication technologies such as cell phones and wireless e-mail, according to the authors, is causing communications spaces to be redefined.

Because technology spans traditional notions of both territory and government, its range is whatever its creators – and the marketplace – deem and determine it to be, in spite of national and traditional territorial attempts to control it.

Tomasello, who came to ECU in 2005, began her research for the book with co-authors McDowell and Steinberg when she was a graduate student at Florida State University.

12/5/06
This page originally appeared in the Feb. 29, 2008 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at http://www.ecu.edu/news/poe/Arch.cfm.