The Virtual

The Virtual

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This book looks at the origins and the many contemporary meanings of the virtual. Rob Shields shows how the construction of virtual worlds has a long history. He examines the many forms of faith and hysteria that have surrounded computer technologies in recent years. Moving beyond the technologies themselves he shows how the virtual plays a role in our daily lives at every level. The virtual is also an essential concept needed to manage innovation and risk. It is real but not actual, ideal but not abstract. The virtual, he argues, has become one of the key organizing principles of contemporary society in the public realms of politics, business and consumption as well as in our private lives.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 264 pages
  • 129.54 x 193.04 x 15.24mm | 272.15g
  • Taylor & Francis Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0415281814
  • 9780415281812
  • 1,151,378

Review quote

"Rob Shields has written an encyclopedia of the virtual that will prove to be as indispensable to the layman as to the researcher." -Pierre Levy, Canada Research Chair on Collective Intelligence, University of Ottawa "Shields succeeds in removing the mask of The Virtual, revealing its productivity, ubiquity, and logic. The resulting text offers a compelling social critique of abstraction-on our screens, in the workplace, and within the very forces of globalization." -Greg Elmer, Boston College

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Table of contents

Introduction 1. The Return of the Virtual 2. The Virtual and the Real 3. Digital Virtualities 4. Virtual Africa 5. Joystick Generation 6. Work: Virtual working 7. Business Sense for a Virtual World 8. Risk, Trust and the Virtual Conclusion: The future and the virtual

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