The foreword written by Norman K. Denzin regarding Krug’s book describes the experience of reading the book as a pentimento. Pentimento is a term that describes something that has been painted over, and just like a well-written literature, the book has a story that reveals something new upon analysis. As the foreword depicts the reading experience as pentimento, one can see why Denzin makes this association. He relates that life and experiences can be contained in words through different stories of people. The described reading experience is like having lives painted over, and as paint is scraped off, an old picture still comes into view.
The foreword for the book poses a statement: there is no truth in painting life but only realizations of past, present, and future.
Reading the book is an experience of essential discovery. The author depicts real-life scenarios and how society lives today. Underlying the simple explanations are implications with far deeper meanings. The author shows that there are chosen truths. The study of communication, media, and technology always results in a deeper understanding and new perspectives.
Among the many topics discussed in the book, it can be noted that the author stressed the focal point of determining the social history of oneself, one’s own self, and embedded stories of life. Adding to that are language, culture, technology, different images, writing styles, truths about military-industry and even pornography of visible apparatuses for surveillance.
The complexity of technology was also discussed by including factors such as cyber-space identities and digitalized worlds. As times change and life is revealed to us more fully over time we realize there is always something new to be discovered.
The intention of the author in writing this book is not easy to determine. However, one thing is evident: his approach attempts to differ from common knowledge and approaches when describing and analyzing the concepts of communication, technology, and cultural change. The approach used in the book intends to shun common and linear development. As stated by the author, the essence and purpose of the book must be read in its full context, not just individual chapters but as a whole. The term pentimento” aptly describes how this book appears since visual imagery is what the author aimed to create through his writing.
There is a strong critical analysis and understanding of the topic made by Krug. Essentially, he makes it a point to refer to old concepts and beliefs regarding communication, technology, and subject matter and analyze them to see what is new to say about it. The things discussed in the book are very unconventional, something that is uncommonly taught in mass communications or any technology and social science subjects. I have to agree with Denzin that Krug’s work in this book correlates with the pentimento it depicts. Even with many factors like time, images, and different kinds of understandings present, the “montage-effect” of the entire story contributes greatly to the new creation it aims for. It can be said that the book was a story overlapping with one another judging from how he presents contrasting past and present conditions.
One thing that makes this book identifiable is the way the author speaks from his emotions and memories. He attributes his realization to how he views and judges his past and present. This is what makes the story appealing; it can highly affect the emotional and conscious minds of its readers. The author quickly defines his intention for writing this book by stating that the world is continuously remade by both the contributions of the present and inevitably, the future.
When the author starts with 9/11 situations, readers immediately notice its effect on people’s ability to identify with him. But critical to mentioning 9/11 events is that at that particular moment, we realized that our world had become complex, fractured, and shared. During 9/11, there was a depressing, sad, fearful, and troubled situation in which everyone shared. Everyone lost something in those moments.
The author points out one of his most truthful observations: society is now in everything indiscernible – chaos and conflict – where private life becomes public due to experiences making it a public affair. He laments about personal life’s transparency spilling over into public life while observing America’s war against terrorists under Bush administration.
The government reacts by striking out at shadows opposing it hoping to hit something corporeal while claiming patriotic duty as an outcry for their actions. Meanwhile, unemployment increases proportionally as economy decreases resulting in the land of free” becoming “the land of free-for-all” controlled by bourgeoisie reigns of capitalism.
The author points out their disregard for elevating poor states while neo-liberalists believe economy equates democracy failing to comprehend democracy’s root welfare for masses instead of few resulting in widening gap between poor & rich oppressed minorities losing liberties enjoyed by masses private sector workers being stamped out by neo-liberalists.
The government must not continue allowing this kind of democracy to take control of capitalism’s tenets. However, these social aspects, however noble, fail to be linked by Krug into his main ideas.
Krug emphasizes the stifling security being brought down upon us. The military should not be in control of basic daily processes as it goes against their role in servicing democracy. A country that cries for liberty should not be restrained by its own government. The author decries the use of technology to spy on citizens, even in places like airports, malls, hospitals, and schools. Civil liberties are being violated with people thrown into government-owned detention camps for suspicion of terrorist activities.
The America that once welcomed ethnic minorities is now shutting them down using national security as an excuse. Krug notes how much government control has permeated our society from research to public debate and philosophy. The government brands those who voice criticisms as traitors.
Krug’s observations are bleak, but he offers hope at the end by calling upon us to reassert the moral and philosophical necessity to find ourselves in self-reflection and dialogue.” He encourages us to engage with texts as if ideas, words, and symbols were still bridges that consciousness builds across the gulf of being.
He calls upon those of us who are willing to find ourselves. He urges us to look inside ourselves and share what we discover with others, just as they share themselves with us. The use of language and communication through dialogue is our responsibility and right as moral and social beings. His appeal to our sense of duty provokes thought – a moment where we try what he says; a pause to see if looking inside ourselves is truly a step towards making things better.
The author reminisces about days gone by and his previous hopes for the future. He reflects on the feeling of being out of touch with both the concrete and intangible aspects of the world around us, which is a struggle that never truly ends. Despite this, he emphasizes that even small moments in this struggle can be perfect. The author links necessary amnesias to sanity through communication, although his argument on technology’s effects on communication and culture becomes repetitive. He argues that communication by means of technology is intertwined with culture and economics, exhibiting their interconnectedness. The author’s goal is to discuss how technology transforms human thought, reflecting cultural implications brought about by technological adaptation within communities. His main point is to develop a bond between communication, technology, and cultural change rather than studying them separately.
Communications, technology, and cultural change are all factors that contribute to situations where communication seems impossible despite advances in technology. The global issues facing society today reflect severe social and moral problems that affect everyone. The book addresses this idea by adapting the 9/11 scenarios and focusing on the main point of miscommunication among individuals in today’s society.
Krug wrote the book with the objective of addressing the missing gaps or spaces where communication, technology, and cultural change intersect. He provides a serious but inspirational encouragement for people to realize how society is coping with everything that has happened already. Krug emphasizes the need for self-reflection and awareness of the intensity of these situations.
The author effectively uses human interest to bring emotions to his readers’ minds and hearts. This approach allows him to form evident relationships between communication, technology, and cultural change in one dynamic but common definition and analysis. Without this emotional appeal, it would not have been possible for him to achieve such an effective message.
The author extends his understanding of alternatives and past thoughts to reconstruct a new understanding of a principle. Many of these ideas are attributed to contemporary forms of communication technology. He asserts that to understand the depth of reflection on the common concept of communication technology, one must take into account the self, culture, and technology mutually reflecting one another. One of the main objectives is to explore relationships between language used by society, current technology, social institutions that contribute and generate personal ways of thinking in individuals in society. The author’s use of history examines how communication and culture are affected by existing technology.
As a reader, I have thought about the relationships between communication, technology, and cultural change. I believe that none of these should be treated as a single entity specific to one particular field. After reading Krug’s book, I identified strongly with the idea that there are undiscovered relationships between these three components and subjects. Through exploring these connections, we can see how different entities can form dynamic relationships that affect even the most indistinguishable factors.
The truth is without this book; some may be confined to traditional beliefs in terms of segmentation between the three concepts.
Technology affects culture. Some view it as a benefit for society, while others recognize its drawbacks. As technology becomes more advanced, society grows more complex, making it difficult for people to comprehend simple meanings and simple living. The implications of being dependent on technology generate an unreal and inhuman approach to communication due to the employment of recent technologies.
The book raises awareness of the moral implications brought about by the adoption of technology and its impact on society. Cultural change leads to greater access to various forms of technology, which can increase understanding of societal complexity. However, this can also result in different opinions and reactions from society. The implications of cultural change on behavior are not always as they seem, as people may use technological advancements to initiate their demands, needs, and wants. This can lead to various outcomes that highlight the importance of communication in forming relationships between technology and cultural change.
In general, the book accomplishes its objectives by providing an in-depth analysis and critical evaluation of how communication, technology, and cultural change play their roles. These three components must be treated as a whole to better understand society and how technology and communication function to bridge gaps, motivate change, and promote development.
Krug, Gary. (2005). Communication, Technology and Cultural Change. London: Sage Publications Ltd.