chapter  7
10 Pages

Conclusion: Loss and Recovery in the Digital Era

One of the observations at the outset of this book was that digital technologies appear

to be proliferating everywhere but that many of their analogue equivalents have not

disappeared and have, in some cases, also been increasing in number. I suggested that

this might invite us to reflect upon precisely what the relations are between analogue

and digital culture and what could be meant by a transition from one state of affairs

to another. At various points throughout the book I have suggested that Latour’s

notion of ‘reshuffling’ might be an apt metaphor for thinking about ‘transitions’ in

terms of how materials of cultural environments become momentarily visible when

reordered around digital ideals of access, interactivity and authenticity:

I have conceptualized cultural environments as more or less effective configurations

of narrative ideals or positioning, objects, and practices. These relational materials

and the processes through which they come to resemble forms of order become

more visible when explicit attempts to reorder them are made. The simple idea of the

book has been to explore this idea in relation to both digital culture theorizing and to

grounded engagements in specific environments. In this rather general sense, what

is common to the three institutional environments explored is how the adoption of

digital technologies have precipitated and engendered highly significant but different

kinds of reshuffling.