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Communications, Technology and Cultural Change by Gary Krug

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Communications, Technology and Cultural Change by Gary Krug

The foreword written by Norman K. Denzin regarding Krug’s book describes the experience of reading the book to a pentimento. Pentimento is a term that describes something that is painted and just like a well-written literature, the book has a story that describes something new that can be discerned in the analysis of the book. As the foreword depicts the reading experience as pentimento, one can see the association as to why Denzin mentions the relationship.

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He relates that life and experiences can be contained in words, through the different stories of the people. The described reading experience is like having the lives painted over, and as paint is scrapped off, the old picture still comes into view. The foreword for the book poses a statement, that there is no truth in the painting of a life but only realizations of the past, the present and the future.

To read the book is an experience of essential discovery.

The author paints and depicts the real scenarios of life and how it is lived by society today. Underlying the simple explanation of things are implications with far deeper meanings. The author shows that there are chosen truths. The study of communication, media and technology always results to deeper understanding and new perspective. Among the many topics the author discussed in the book, it can be noted that he stressed the focal point of determining the social history of the self, the own self and the embedded stories of the life the self is living. Include to that the language, the culture, the technology, the different images, the writing, the truths, the military-industry, even pornography of the visible apparatuses of surveillance. The complexity of technology was also discussed in the form of including the factors of cyber-space, cyber-identities, and the digitalized world. As times change and life is revealed, one realizes that there is always something new to be discovered.

The intention of the author in writing this book is not that easy to determine. But one thing is evident, that his approach tries to differ to the common knowledge and approach in describing and analyzing the concepts of communication, technology and cultural change. The approach used in the book is intended to shun the common and the linear development. As the author stated in the book, the essence and purpose of the book must be read in the fullness of its context, not just by mere and individual chapters but should be taken as a whole. The term pentimento is an apt term to describe how this book appears as visual imagery is what the author was trying to create in his writing.

There is the strong critical analysis and understanding of the topic made by Krug. Essentially, he made it a point to refer to the old concepts and beliefs regarding communication, technology and subject and analyzed it to see what is new to say about it. The things discussed in the book is very unconventional, something that is in uncommon to be taught in mass communications subject or any technology and social science subjects. I have to agree with what Denzin said that Krug’s work in this book is correlated with the pentimento it depicts. Even with the presence of many factors like time, images and different kinds of understandings, the “montage-effect” of the entire story contributes greatly to the new creation it aims to result. It can be said that the book was a story overlapping with one another, judging from the way he presents the contrasting past and present conditions.

One thing that made this book identifiable is the way the author speaks from his emotions and recalls. He attributes his realization form how he looks and judges his history and his present. That is the appeal of the story; that it can highly affect the emotional and conscious minds of its readers. He also quickly wrote his intention to define the book he wrote by saying that the world is continuously remade surrounding all the people, brought mainly by both the contributions of the present, and inevitably, the future. When the author started with the 9-11 situations, the reader will immediately notice its effect for people to identify with the author. But critical as mentioning the 9-11 events is the fact that at that particular moment, we realized that the world is now a complex, fractured and shared present. During the 9-11, there was a depressing, sad, fearing and troubled situation in which all people shared. Everybody lost something, and there lies the strong conviction that the thin line separating private live and concerns, and public issues are dissolved into that one moment, that one day. The authors’ points out the most truthful of all the truths he presented, that society is now in the middle of everything indiscernible, of chaos and conflict, and the private life is now shared with other due to the experience that makes it a public affair.  He laments the transparency of personal life, the spilling over of one’s privacy in house and home unto the realm of public life. He observes the war of democratic America against the silhouettes of its terrorists and aggravators. And the government is reacting by striking out at the shadows that oppose it, hoping to hit something corporeal. This entire charade made for the sake of the patriotic duty that has become the outcry of those rooting for the Bush administration. At the same time, the country suffers. The economy decreases proportionally to the increase in unemployment. The land of the free has become the land of the free for all, with the bourgeoisie controlling the reigns of capitalism. The author points out their disregard for elevating the state of the poor. These neo liberalists believe that economy equates democracy, failing to comprehend that at root, democracy is about the welfare of the masses, not the few.  This results in the gap between the poor and the reach to widen. The weak is oppressed, the liberties enjoyed by the masses, the private sector, the workers, the minorities are all being stamped out by the neo liberalists. And the author states, the government must not continue to allow the use of this kind of democracy to take control of the tenets of capitalism. However these social aspects, however noble, quite failed to be linked by Krug into his main ideas.

Krug emphasizes the stifling security being brought down upon us. That the military should be in control of basic daily processes goes against their role as servicing the democracy. A country with liberty as its cry should not be restrained by its own government. The author decries the use of technology to spy on one’s own citizens, in airports, malls, hospitals and even schools. Civil liberties are being violated, people thrown into government-owned detention camps ‘for suspicion of terrorist activities”. The America that once opened its doors to ethnic minorities is now shutting these same people down, using the noble goal of national security as its lock. The author notes how much the control of the government has permeated our society, from research, public debate, philosophy, the government brands those of its own that voices out criticisms and comments traitors. The bleakness of Krug’s observations is evident, yet at the end, he offers the reader hope. Gary Krug calls upon us to “reassert the moral and philosophical necessity to find ourselves in self-reflection and dialogue, to create ourselves in the engagement with texts as if ideas, words, and symbols were still the bridges that consciousness builds to consciousness across the gulf of being.”

He calls upon those of us who are willing, to find ourselves. He calls upon us to look inside ourselves and share what we find with others; as they share their selves with us. The use of language and communication by dialogue is our responsibility and right as moral and social beings. His appeal to our sense of duty provokes thought. A moment where what he says is tried; a pause to see if looking inside me is really a step towards making things better.

The author reminisces about the days past, as well as his previous hopes for tomorrow. He looks upon the world around him and articulates a feeling most of us can sympathize with. He realizes the sensation of being at loss regarding the world around us, the feeling of being out of touch not only with the concrete but also with the intangible. The process of immersing oneself fully in the language, beliefs and values of a time and place is a constant one of struggle without ever attaining the goal. However, the author emphasizes the minute moments of this struggle as pictures of perfection. He links the amnesias that he deems a necessity to sanity with communication. This seems a little off, like trying to push a point just for the sake of having one. His tirade on the effects of technology to communication to culture does become quit repetitive. His cycle from communication by means of technology in relation to culture is flavored by his emphasis that one cannot exist without the others and that the others cannot be without the other one. His delving into multiple topics as with the web, economics and telecommunications aims to exhibit the interconnectedness of all. The goal of the author is to discuss the technologies and the transformation- the process by which the technologies transformed human thought. This thus reflects the culture and the implications brought by the technology adaptation of the community. The author held one main important point, which is to develop a form of bond toward the three concepts of communication, technology and cultural change. Krug discourages the traditional and conventional belief of studying the different ideologies separated from one another. He tries to avoid making the topics appear like what is being read in the textbooks of the economics, convergence, technology, and other specified fields.

Communications, technology and cultural change link the many situations and instances wherein the communication is like impossible even with the advancement in technology. The society is now threatened by global issues that greatly reflects the sever social and morality problem everybody faces. The book addresses this idea through its adaptation of the 9-11 scenarios that deals greatly and tackles the main point of miscommunication among individuals in the society today. Krug has his objectives of writing the book to address the missing gaps or spaces to which the relationship of communication, technology and cultural change exist. The author posed a serious and inspirational encouragement for people to realize how the society is now doing with all the things that has happened already. He re asserts that there is the great need to realize the implications of the things going on around the society and the need to self-reflect and realize the intensity of the situation. To do this, the author strongly used the concept of human interest, bringing human emotions to the minds and heart of his readers. This is advantageous for him because such a concept of forming evident relationships with communication, technology and cultural change in one dynamic but common definition and analysis, the author could not make it possible if it wasn’t for the human emotional appeal he had greatly used to his advantage.

The author greatly extends his understanding of the alternatives and past thoughts to reconstruct the most original and new understanding of a principle. Many of which he attributed to the contemporary form and means of communication technologies. He asserts that one person, to understand the depth of reflection of the common concept of communication technology, it must be taken into account the self, culture and technology mutually reflecting one another. As one of the main objectives of the author, he attempts to explore the relationships to which the language used by society, the technology employed and predominant today, and social institutions that contributes and generates the personal way of thinking of individuals in the society. His great use of histories have examined the depth of communication and culture both affected by the existing technology.

As a reader, I have thought about the relationships between communication, technology and cultural change. For some reason, I know that none should be treated as a single entity that is specific for one particular field. There is the sense of identification with Krug’s book that I learned how strong is my belief of the undiscovered relationship the three components and subjects pose. Through these components, we learn that different entities are able to form a dynamic relationship to affect even the most undistinguishable factor there is. The truth is, without this book, some may be left confined to what they traditionally believe in terms of the segmentation between the three concepts.

Technology affects culture. To some it is taken as a benefit for the society to be greatly influenced by technology. But some of us living in the society realize that technology has its drawbacks. The more technology becomes more advanced; the development of the society is also greatly influenced by this factor. The advancement in technology means that society is growing more complex and it will be hard for people to comprehend the more simple meanings and simple living of life. The more one person dwell into this topic, he or she realize that the implication of being dependent on technology generates a more unreal and inhuman approach to communication because of such employment of recent technologies.

In terms of cultural change, the book raises awareness that there is the moral implication brought to the change in the society generated by this outcome in the process of adopting technology. The cultural change implies that there is the greater access to different forms of technology that can, might or maybe lead to more understanding of the complexity of a society. This event can result to different opinions and reactions from the society. The changes and the implications of the change in culture and behavior is not the same as it looks. One perspective added to the implication to technology and cultural change is that people may use this advancement in the initiation of their demands, needs and wants. The result of this can go in different directions and thus the need to also stress the need to understand how communication plays its role in the formation of the relationships among the concept of technology and the cultural change.

In general the book accomplished its objectives and makes an in-depth analysis and critical evaluation of how communication, technology and cultural change carry out its roles. The three components must indeed be treated as one whole component to which we can understand further society and the levels to technology and communication performs its functions to bridge gap, motivate change, and development.


Krug, Gary. Communication, Technology and Cultural Change. London: Sage Publications Ltd., 2005.


Cite this Communications, Technology and Cultural Change by Gary Krug

Communications, Technology and Cultural Change by Gary Krug. (2016, Sep 12). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/communications-technology-and-cultural-change-by-gary-krug/

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