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"Det är månen att nå- ": en studie i några datorintresserade pojkars språk och föreställningsvärld
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Comparative Literature and Scandinavian Languages.
1992 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
"There's the moon to reach- " : a study of the language and world of ideas of some computer interested boys (English)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to describe some central conceptual ideas expressed in the language of six computer interested boys. The starting-point is the philosophy of language of Ludwig Wittgenstein, where language is seen as something deeply integrated in our practices, traditions and culture. The use of our language shows its meaning.

The material consists of 18 months of observations in the computer room of a secondary school and a series of three deep-interviews with each one of the boys over a period of three years. The computer has a central function in their identity work. Within our culture, this object - with its structure and its ways of operating - has become a metaphor for human thinking. It offers freedom and control.

The discussions involved in this work and its form of representation problemize some of the fundamental assumptions of linguistics and the humanities. The three portraits (chapters 3-5) are to be understood as meaningful examples, while the persons portrayed are to be seen as symbols, inviting the reader to reflect over our culture and our practices. The fostering into the computer world and the ways of looking at the world are shown through the "personal voice", each followed by an interpretation linked to the theories and results of other researchers.

In the boys' ways of using language there are differences and similarities. Learning, growing, creating, signifying 'freedom', can be seen as central notions in the identity work of one of them. With another of the boys there is a strong resemblance in his talking of computers and of his personal God; he "fixes" the world through dividing-lines, strong recommendations, further emphasized through the frequent use of the verb ska (shall, should). In the third portrait it is evident that the boy's abundance of words and narrative-making is a strategy of preventing nearness and to be able both to control the interview situation and to intensify the here and now.

"Going deep" into computers make certain assumptions about the world more essential than others. Central concepts explicit in their common language game are logic, power and control (chapter 7). There is a common tendency to hierarchize and dichotomize the world; upper/under world, outer/inner world, logic/feeling, we/they, right/wrong. Stability can be seen as a summarizing notion.

The deeper significance of their feeling of safety and control in the computer world is a fostering both into male dominance and into a dominant way of thinking about knowledge as something primarily logical, controllable and possible to account for. This masculinist language game is confirmed in different ways: individually, in the group and at a more subtle and symbolic level.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 1992. , 225 p.
Nordsvenska / Institutionen för litteraturvetenskap och nordiska språk, ISSN 0282-7182 ; 9
Keyword [en]
Wittgenstein, philosophy of language, the moving example, computers, mastery, masculinist language game, hierarchization, dichotomization, power, control
Keyword [sv]
Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 1889-1951, Programspråk
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-65819ISBN: 91-88466-01-9OAI: diva2:604922
Public defence
1992-10-30, Humanisthuset, hörsal E, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:15

Diss. Umeå : Univ., 1992

Available from: 2013-02-12 Created: 2013-02-12 Last updated: 2013-02-12Bibliographically approved

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