Cultural planning and chaos theory in cyberspace: some notes on a digital cultural atlas project for Western Sydney

Open Humanities Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Fibreculture Journal, 2006, 9 (1), pp. 1 - 13
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A perennial issue for digital politics has been the debate between those who claim a liberatory role for digital technologies and those who see them as instruments for a more effective oppression. We prefer to avoid such abstract oppositions and ask more specific questions: what kind of digital technology, used in what way by whom, for what purposes in what contexts, may support the efforts of those who work for a better, more open society? To focus our enquiry we look at the intersection of digital systems and planning. Planning in a general sense is a fundamental human activity in all societies exercising the rationality that has come to define humanity since the ancient Greeks. Yet the dominant form of planning in western societies today employs a specific form of `rationality which has emerged only recently, labelled `Occidental rationalism by Weber (1930:26), which insists on crisp, clear categories and a linear, reductive logic. Starting with Weber himself there has been a continuous tradition of critique of this form of reason, which we will categorize as linear reasoning.
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