Babel machines and electronic universalism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


The Internet world of the 1990s has been preoccupied with the invention of virtual communities and rearticulation of an historical concept of insubstantial community. These ideas, which rely heavily on Howard Rheingold’s popularizing net theory,1 require uncritical acceptance of enabling predicates, entail erasures of group culture, and rely upon a division between material self-conceptions and an ideal community form. “Virtual community�? is an appeal for a transcendent communitarianism, one where race and ethnicity have been left behind as remnants of an Old World Order. In this emergent electronic ethos, the specificities of origin and ethnicity are irrelevancies that characterize an exterior, increasingly antique world. Virtual uncertainty and unknowability have promised to annul the particularistic atavisms of “race�? and ethnicity, introducing instead an universalitic community instrumentalized by shared online access.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRace in Cyberspace
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781135266684
ISBN (Print)0415921635, 9780415921626
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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