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Of ‘near pollution’ and non-linear cultural effects: Reflections on Masahiro Mori and the Uncanny Valley

Of ‘near pollution’ and non-linear cultural effects: Reflections on Masahiro Mori and the Uncanny... Existing theories of cultural pollution take two forms. It is seen either as the product of a binary disambiguating activity that codes the problematic Other as symbolically distant, or conversely the result of ambiguity, confusion and hybridity that locates the Other as in-between. The article introduces a third option of ‘near pollution’. On the basis of the work of the roboticist Masahiro Mori this indicates the significance of classificatory proximity and similarity, extreme sensitivity to signals and non-linear cultural effects. Examples are given ranging from computer-generated images to body modification, mental incapacity, material culture, artistic and political performance, and political purges. These capture the uncanny effects originally identified by Mori but also map out a far wider range of empirical and theoretical opportunities for cultural sociology. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Journal of Cultural Sociology Springer Journals

Of ‘near pollution’ and non-linear cultural effects: Reflections on Masahiro Mori and the Uncanny Valley

American Journal of Cultural Sociology , Volume 2 (3) – Oct 14, 2014

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 by Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd
Subject
Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general; Sociology, general; Sociology of Culture; Media Sociology
ISSN
2049-7113
eISSN
2049-7121
DOI
10.1057/ajcs.2014.11
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Existing theories of cultural pollution take two forms. It is seen either as the product of a binary disambiguating activity that codes the problematic Other as symbolically distant, or conversely the result of ambiguity, confusion and hybridity that locates the Other as in-between. The article introduces a third option of ‘near pollution’. On the basis of the work of the roboticist Masahiro Mori this indicates the significance of classificatory proximity and similarity, extreme sensitivity to signals and non-linear cultural effects. Examples are given ranging from computer-generated images to body modification, mental incapacity, material culture, artistic and political performance, and political purges. These capture the uncanny effects originally identified by Mori but also map out a far wider range of empirical and theoretical opportunities for cultural sociology.

Journal

American Journal of Cultural SociologySpringer Journals

Published: Oct 14, 2014

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