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Virtual Text: Amazonian Democracy

Peter Childs

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Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780748620432
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671700 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748620432.003.0016
Virtual Text: Amazonian Democracy

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In his 1909 story ‘The Machine Stops’, E M Forster imagines a future underground world in which a vast mechanised web connects together all of its isolated, enervated citizens. In this society, all communication is undertaken through the machine, but its vast network can connect two people anywhere around the globe. Forster’s story, though less well-known than the later dystopian visions of Huxley’s Brave New World or Orwell’s 1984, envisions one technological aspect of contemporary life more fully than either. This is of course the Internet, which has enabled a new and different kind of cultural production to develop over the last ten years, combining graphic and system design, consumer sales and marketing strategy. The socio-economic equivalent to the world wide web that has become the dominant software on the Internet is globalisation. Globalisation operates at local and international levels, producing both cultural fragmentation and homogenization, connection and interaction, dispersal and dislocation in one connective and unifying but highly differentiated system.

Keywords: Globalization Studies; Amazon website; Internet

Chapter.  3829 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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