Informationsöverflödets dystopi : En intertextuell diskursanalys från Future Shock till The Shallows
Today it is common to state that we are living in an information overloaded society. But there are many different definitions of what can be said to constitute Information Overload and there is a lack of substantial research on the subject. Conclusions in the available literature on Information Overload are often drawn on anecdotal evidence and carries a dramatized picture of the causes and effects of the phenomenon.
With the tools of discursive analysis this two years master’s thesis explores how the phenomenon Information Overload is portrayed in six popular science books that deals with the subject: Alvin Toffler (1970) Future Shock, Orrin Klapp (1986) Overload and Boredom, Richard Wurman (1989) Information Anixety, Andrew Keen (2007) The cult of the amateur, Maggie Jackson (2008), Distracted and Nicholas Carr (2010) The Shallows. The result of the analysis shows that there is a common discourse of how the subject of Information Overload is represented, which stretches in and between the books intertextually. In this study that discourse is called the dystopian discourse of Information Overload. It is structured by a unified use of narratives, concepts, themes, metaphors and statements and by its separation from the opposite utopian discourse of Information Overload.
In the final discussion the results of the analysis are compared to postmodern theory, a problematisation of the concept of distraction and to the Swedish government’s 2012 investigation of reading habits of young people in the country. The conclusion of the study is that the two binary discourses discovered in the analysis – the dystopian and the utopian – should be avoided in the debate and research on Information Overload. Instead the discussion should be influenced by pluralism, complexity and awareness.
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