Captured by Google : street view as ideological digital apparatus
Savage, Cary S.
Savage, Cary S.
In contemporary digital culture a new phenomenon is emerging where much of one's identity and subjectivity is mediated through electronic technologies. In many cases, individuals voluntarily surrender pieces of themselves to new media, leveraging the networked technology to connect with individuals who have shared goals or interests. Many electronic technologies, however, also gather and manipulate personal data to serve corporate or government interests, instead of those whose information is stored and accessed. Technologies operating in this capacity make subjects of individuals, and accordingly, reinforce the goals of the ruling ideology. This potentiality threatens not only an individual's right to privacy, but also agency over one's subjectivity. This thesis explores Google's role in shaping the dominant ideology of the digital age with a specific focus on the Street View product. It examines Street View and its constituent parts through a theoretical frame of ideological critique in order to understand the technology's similarities with past technological innovations as well as highlight its departures from those innovations. I introduce the concept of the Ideological Digital Apparatus (IDA) as a way of updating Louis Althusser's concept of the Ideological State Apparatus for the digital age. The project also offers a rhetorical critique inspired by the work of Kenneth Burke of two blog entries and primary interviews with key constituents in order to unearth the ideological effects of the discourse surrounding the technology. The thesis culminates with a definition of what an ideology of the digital age might look like and identifies companies at the forefront in shaping that ideology.
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