Description EMPATHY, THE SELF, AND SOCIAL CONNECTION Personal autonomy and the internet The impact of digital forms of communication on social connection Reading: Turkle (Conversation, One Chair, Two Chairs) https://e-edu.nbu.bg/pluginfile.php/849202/mod_res… Questions: Try to rebut Turkle’s central arguments in one of these three book sections. How do you recommend that society respond to the tensions Turkle discusses in this section? Peer response: In an attempt to rebut Turkle’s argument that digital communication and technology limit our capacity for empathy, I posit the argument that it actually has the capacity to increase empathy as well as widen cultural horizons. Of course, the following argument will play into the pitfall Turkle describes when she states that “we like to hear the positive stories because they do not discourage us in our pursuit of the new–our new comforts, our new distractions, our new forms of commerce” (Turkle, pg. 12). The rebuttal is based on the fact that digital spaces and social media allow us to come into conversation with a wider and more diverse branch of peoples than we normally would, due to constraints of geography. Turkle discussed how social movements have started in these online spaces in the first chapter of her book. While these movements often run into the issue of engagement due to performative activism (by majority-white audiences), it does provide a space for children and adults to learn more about lives that are drastically different than their own. There are Instagram pages focused on discussing antiracism in films and films that do not play into narratives of black suffering and pain, providing nuanced conversations on race and racism to children who may be growing up in majority-white towns. This could be positioned as critical to developing a broader sense of empathy that is developed through more diverse means than just with those geographically near. Of course this argument is not without its faults, as Turkle has outlined in the first three chapters of her book.
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