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ECU professor explores technology and 'space'

GREENVILLE, NC   (Jan. 4, 2008)   —   An East Carolina University communications professor has co-authored a book that examines how technology, such as cell phones and the Internet, shape and challenge traditional notions of “space.”

ECU’s Tami Tomasello, along with co-authors Stephen D. McDowell and Philip E. Steinberg, collaborated to produce “Managing the Infosphere: Governance, Technology, and Cultural Practice in Motion” (Temple University Press, 2007). 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.


 


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