Locations, liminalities and literacies

Year: 1999

Author: Gough, Noel

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The increasing extent to which our day-to-day activities involve global communications technologies makes conventional understandings of our geographic location--our identification with 'real world' territories, boundaries and borders--deeply problematic. However, apprehensions of virtual locations are ambiguous and liminal. In this paper, I explore some of the implications for literacy research that may arise from new conceptions of spatial location and of the liminality of our apprehension of space(s). How do we learn to 'map' cyberspace and its features and to develop the skills of 'navigating' in it? How do we learn the political geographies of cyberspace--'maps' of how power over information is distributed--and reach understandings of how the geographies of cyberspace and the 'real' world are interrelated and inform one another? These questions will be explored with particular reference to concepts of 'knowledge spaces' and 'actor networks' drawn from social and cultural studies of science and technology.