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.
College and Department
Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Sociology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Wood, Michael Lee, "Examining the Social Affordances of Communication Technology on Human Relations: A Critique of Networked Individualism from the Perspective of the Ethical Phenomenology of Emmanuel Levinas" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 4145.
information and communication technologies (ICTs), human relations, social networks, networked individualism, relational ontology, ethical phenomenology, Barry Wellman, Emmanuel Levinas