DIGITAL FUTURES WORKSHOP: Pablo J. Boczkowski at the Quello Center.
Information overload is something that humans have dealt with for millennia. During different historical eras, massive increases in what was available to know has motivated the creation of systems for sorting, indexing, and compiling information as well as concerns that the abundance of information might cause cultural anxiety or even drive people to madness. The digital age has renewed concerns about information overload and the detrimental effects it has on our ability to sort through the stream of online data, decide what is most important, or even to train our attention on it long enough to make sense of it.
In Abundance, Pablo J. Boczkowski builds upon what we know about the historical and contemporary scholarship to develop a novel framework on the experience of living in a society that has more information available to the public than ever before, focusing on the interpretations, emotions, and practices of dealing with this abundance in everyday life. Drawing on extensive fieldwork and survey research conducted in Argentina, Abundance examines the role of cultural and structural factors that mediate between the availability of information and the actual consequences for individuals, media, politics, and society. Providing the first book-length account of information abundance in the Global South, Boczkowski concludes that the experience of information abundance is tied to an overall unsettling of society, a reconstitution of how we understand and perform our relationships with others, and a twin depreciation of facts and appreciation of fictions.
Pablo J. Boczkowski (he / él) is Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Northwestern University. He is Founder and Director of the Center for Latinx Digital Media at Northwestern, and Co-Founder and Co- Director of the Center for the Study of Media and Society in Argentina, a joint initiative between Northwestern and Universidad de San Andrés, in Buenos Aires. In 2020 he was named Fellow of the International Communication Association. His research program examines the dynamics of digital culture from a comparative perspective. He is the author of six books, four edited volumes, and over fifty journal articles.