INFO281 Post #4: Possible Research Topics

It’s that time where I reflect back on what I’ve learned to the specific points where my interest was most piqued.  Here are the results of my searching:

  1. Cultural flow as a Western prop and detrimental to periphery nation-states.  I’m interested in discussing Andre Gunder Frank’s 1969 Dependency Theory &/OR World System Theory, especially as concerns missionary work.  A friend told me to look up a speech my Monsignor Ivan Illich, “To Hell with Good Intentions” (1968) in which the priest explains that missions have a deleterious effect on culture.  This connects to information flow–inasmuch as the North views its possession of “a better way” to do any number of things, there is always a risk of exploiting Southern or peripheral peoples.
  2. Future flows affected by virtual reality.  We haven’t really gone into this piece of information flow other than a brief bit on global flows and technology; however, I can imagine that virtual reality and its proliferation and improvement will have an interesting effect on various pieces of global flows.  What are the sociological ramifications of increased use of virtual reality in, for example, the school setting?  Will we see less movement of people (tourism)?  What effect will this have on language and culture?
  3. In a similar vein, I’d be interested in learning more about Manuel Castells’ (1996, 2009) The Rise of the Network Society and his (.  This in conjunction with Mazuko Itō and fellow MIT researchers (2010) book, Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out: Kids living and learning with new media.  Again, I’m interested in the sociological ramifications.  A networked society means multidimensional, multidirectional communication (Castell 2009), but how does this affect kids?  Are networked kids shallow adults?  Are networked kids better global citizens?


Castells, M. (2009). The rise of the network society, 2nd edition.  Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Illich, I. (1968, April 20). To hell with good intentions. [Speech]. Conference on InterAmerican Student Projects (CIASP) in CuernavacaMexico.  Retrieved from

Itō, M, et al. (2010). Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out: Kids living and learning with new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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