Abstract

In this thesis, I ask how our understanding of human relations carries implications for the way we understand the affordances of communication technology on human relations. To this end, I examine and compare two opposed perspectives of human relations and social life. The first perspective, networked individualism, is a version of network theory that begins with a foundation of agentic individuals who actively construct and manage their social worlds. Levinasian relationalism, the second perspective, offers a contrasting view that sees human relations as constitutive of human subjectivity. In comparing these two perspectives, I argue that networked individualism is an inadequate framework inasmuch as its ontological assertions prevent it from seeing some of the significant affordances of technology on human relations, and I suggest that Levinasian relationalism is a viable alternative.

Degree

MS

College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Sociology

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2014-06-30

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd7139

Keywords

information and communication technologies (ICTs), human relations, social networks, networked individualism, relational ontology, ethical phenomenology, Barry Wellman, Emmanuel Levinas

Included in

Sociology Commons

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