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Digital Natives, the Mushroom Kingdom and the Global Village

CHLA 2011 Presentation

Anastasia Salter

on 23 June 2011

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Transcript of Digital Natives, the Mushroom Kingdom and the Global Village

Digital Natives, the Mushroom Kingdom and the Global Village:
Re-imagining Virtual Citizenship in Cory Doctorow’s For the Win
Anastasia Salter
Works Cited
"They called themselves the Webblies, which was an obscure little joke that pleased Big Sister Nor an awful lot. Nearly a century ago, a group of workers had formed a union called the Industrial Workers of the World, the first union that said that all workers needed to stick up for each other, that every worker was welcome no matter the color of his skin, no matter if the worker was a woman, no matter if the worker did "skilled" or "unskilled" work. They called themselves the Wobblies."

Cory Doctorow, For the Win
"Information about the Wobblies was just one of the many "out of bounds" subjects that were blocked on the Singaporean Internet, and so of course Big Sister Nor had made it her business to find out more about them. The more she read, the more sense this group from out of history made for the world of right now -- everything that the IWW had done needed doing today, and what's more, it would be easier today than it had been."

Cory Doctorow, For the Win
"Take organizing workers. Back then, you'd have to actually get into the factory or at least stand at its gates to talk to workers about signing a union card and demanding better conditions, higher wages and shorter hours. Now you could reach those same people online, from anywhere in the world. Once they were members, they could talk to all the other members, using the same tools."

Cory Doctorow, For the Win
"Gold farmers were easy pickings: working in terrible conditions all over the world, for terrible wages, hated by the game-runners and the rich players alike. They already understood about working in teams, they'd already formed their own little guilds -- and they were better at using the Internet than their bosses would ever be."

Cory Doctorow, For the Win
Marc Prensky defines "digital natives" as "'native speakers' of the digital language of computers, video games and the Internet.
language is the key to the global village
"Unlike older generations, which grew up relying on a small cluster of networks, newspapers, and film studios, Digital Natives presuppose their role as shapers of culture. The fact that so many people can participate in the online cultural commons and make contributions to it has lead to a culture that is far more diverse than it was even a few decades ago" (Palfrey 126).
the status of digital native does not innately entail global citizenship. However, the literature aimed at this generation can harness the potential of these virtual spaces towards presenting new models for global consciousness as a necessary part of a digital coming of age.
guilds as communities--
guilds as unions?
McLuhan imagined a global village where “our central nervous system is technologically extended to involve in the whole of mankind and to incorporate the whole of mankind in us, [and] we necessarily participate... in the
consequences of our every action” (McLuhan 4).
(Doctorow's Mushroom Kingdom is a window into the foundations upon which such a global village might be constructed)
...imagine a future world* where the economies of virtual worlds have a real-world impact, particularly on the fates of laborers.
*hint: you pretty much already live there
a next evolution in organization
"The Turks were an army of workers in gamespace. All you had to do was prove that you were a decent player -- the game had the stats to know it -- and sign up, and then log in whenever you wanted a shift. The game would ping you any time a player did something the game didn't know how to interpret -- talked too intensely to a non-player character, stuck a sword where it didn't belong, climbed a tree that no one had bothered to add any details too -- and you'd have to play spot-referee. You'd play the non-player character, choose a behavior for the stabbed object, or make a decision from a menu of possible things you might find in a tree."

Cory Doctorow, For the Win
the illusion of the clever machine...

through underpaid, unrecognized laborers
american gold farmer?
"The story is told of an automaton constructed in such a way that it could play a winning game of chess, answering each move of an opponent with a countermove. A puppet in Turkish attire and with a hookah in its mouth sat before a chessboard placed on a large table. A system of mirrors created the illusion that this table was transparent from all sides. Actually, a little hunchback who was an expert chess player sat inside and guided the puppet’s hand by means of strings."

Walter Benjamin, First Thesis on the Philosophy of History
mechanical turks
Bennett, Sue; Maton, Karl and Lisa Kervin. “The ‘digital natives’ debate: A critical review of the
evidence.” British Journal of Educational Technology. February 5 2008.

Briggs, Elizabeth L. Pandoflo. “Welcome to the Game: Cyberspace in Young Adult Speculative Fiction.
Children’s literature and the fin de siècle. Ed. Roderick McGillis. Greenwood Publishing Group,

Dodge, Tyler; Barab, Sasha; Bronwyn Stuckey; Warren, Scott; Heiselt, Conan and Richard
Stein. “Children’s Sense of Self: Learning and Meaning in the Digital Age. Journal of Interactive
Learning Research (2008) 19(2) 225-249. http://inkido.indiana.edu/research/onlinemanu/

Gee, James Paul. What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave,

McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 1964.

Palfrey, John and Urs Gasser. Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives. Basic
Civatas Books: New York, 2008.

Prensky, Marc. “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants.” On the Horizon. MCB University Press: Vol 9, No 5, 2001.

Zipes, Jack David. Sticks and Stones: The Troublesome Success of Children’s Literature from Slovenly Peter
to Harry Potter. Routledge: New York, 2002.

Goldfarming: http://www.popsci.com/entertainment-amp-gaming/article/2009-07/china-tries-curb-gold-farming

Amazon's Mechanical Turks: http://dontsweathetechnique.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/assn-8-preliminary-research-topic-assn-8-can-you-make-a-living-by-working-at-home-with-amazon-mechanical-turk/

about the original mechanical turk: http://reference.findtarget.com/search/the%20Turk/

Walter Benjamin alludes to the Mechanical Turk:

wobblies news stories: http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits/bisbee/primarysources/newspapers/bisbeedailyreview.html

Cyberunions: http://cyberunions.org/2011/05/13/from-luddism-2-0-to-cyberunions/

Mushroom kingdom retirement village: http://boingboing.net/2009/06/16/mario-retirement-tee.html
players as virtual citizens
(digital natives with responsibility)
games shape the language of the so-called digital native
Full transcript