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A Challenge to the Duel: Socializing Dedicated Virtual Reality Fans to the Ideology of Textualism
Unformatted Document Text:  A Challenge to the Duel 22 already inform the reception of the text by customers. In terms of Stuart Hall’s encoding- decoding model, we could say that Virtual World socializes its most dedicated players to the point that their options of reading are limited to the preferred reading of the text. Those who are outside of this reading are disciplined right out of the community. Of course, this is an extreme option when we consider the variety structural controls available by different producers and in different settings and their possible deployment. But this case study is particularly illustrative of the use of poetic expression to enhance technological diversity. A critical task in the social studies of technology is to describe the role of institutions in the collective action of its members and how that is achieved around a technology. This is a level of textualism that deserves more attention in studies of communication technologies. A goal would be to shift the emphasis of the social studies of technology from design to use and interpretation within various communities. One ignored context by those in the social studies of technology has been on the poetic or popular technologies, by the term poetic I mean those uses that are primarily expressive uses of technology as a form of social engagement. 18 Social actors can create technological diversity, defined here as that which makes a technology distinct from other forms, uses or practices, through expressive means. First, social actors can create technological variety, whenever different technological forms or normative expectations are developed for a technology related to some larger set. 19 BattleTech fans have normative expectations of fellow players. They are expected to follow established customs and rules. These fans say those same expectations do not exist when they go online to play combat games. The virtual reality game, because it is found primarily in entertainment centers, can be adapted to the same verbal rituals and customs that exist in other interpersonal communication settings. Even though the players are

Authors: Tew, Chad.
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A Challenge to the Duel
22
already inform the reception of the text by customers. In terms of Stuart Hall’s encoding-
decoding model, we could say that Virtual World socializes its most dedicated players to
the point that their options of reading are limited to the preferred reading of the text.
Those who are outside of this reading are disciplined right out of the community. Of
course, this is an extreme option when we consider the variety structural controls
available by different producers and in different settings and their possible deployment.
But this case study is particularly illustrative of the use of poetic expression to
enhance technological diversity. A critical task in the social studies of technology is to
describe the role of institutions in the collective action of its members and how that is
achieved around a technology. This is a level of textualism that deserves more attention
in studies of communication technologies. A goal would be to shift the emphasis of the
social studies of technology from design to use and interpretation within various
communities. One ignored context by those in the social studies of technology has been
on the poetic or popular technologies, by the term poetic I mean those uses that are
primarily expressive uses of technology as a form of social engagement.
18
Social actors can create technological diversity, defined here as that which makes
a technology distinct from other forms, uses or practices, through expressive means. First,
social actors can create technological variety, whenever different technological forms or
normative expectations are developed for a technology related to some larger set.
19
BattleTech fans have normative expectations of fellow players. They are expected to
follow established customs and rules. These fans say those same expectations do not exist
when they go online to play combat games. The virtual reality game, because it is found
primarily in entertainment centers, can be adapted to the same verbal rituals and customs
that exist in other interpersonal communication settings. Even though the players are


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