Place, naming and power

| Dr. Michael Dartnell | Department of Political Science | University of Windsor | Windsor | Ontario | Canada |

The forms of representation on the Web evokes different senses of emotions, morality and place. Various sites might evoke, for example:

  • recognition of other alternative media that are not widely remediated (King Billy Mural, Kilcooley, Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland, 1997);

  • first-hand accounts of ideology, organizations, events, culture, and history in a zone of conflict (Chechen Republic Online);

  • resources from major international organizations that represent model of global civil society (United Nations);

  • entry of marginal issues/movements such as gay-lesbian rights in southern cone of Africa into global communication (Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe or GALZ);

Place relates to site, which is suddenly freed from physicality. Place is based in emotions, expression of identity, social struggles, worldviews, visions of harmony, tolerance, peoplehood, sense of morality, authenticity and participation. Place is also the object of social efforts to name, categorize, characterize and alter. Witness the negative and positive reactions when "Dorchester Blvd." in Montréal was renamed "Boulevard René Lévesque". In this sense, place is also about naming. We can easily understand the changes brought on by naming in this altered version of Genesis 2 - "And on the seventh day God finished her work which she had done, and she rested on the seventh day from all her work which she had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all her work which she had done in creation." That many would regard this passage with outrage and denial points to the power of naming and, by implication, of place.

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