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The Changing Face of Alterity

Communication, Technology, and Other Subjects

Edited by David J. Gunkel; Ciro Marcondes Filho and Dieter Mersch

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The figure of the 'other' is fundamental to the concept of communication. Online or offline, communication, which is commonly defined as the act of sending or imparting information to others, is only possible in the face of others. In fact, the reason we communicate is to interact with others—to talk to another, to share our thoughts and insights with them, or to respond to their needs and requests. No matter how it is structured or conceptualized, communication is involved with addressing the other and dealing with the ontological, epistemological, and ethical questions of otherness or alterity. But who or what can be other? Who or what can be the subject of communication? Is the other always and only another human? Or can the other in these communicative interactions be otherwise?

This book is about others (and other kinds of others). It concerns the current position and status of the other in the face of technological innovations that can, in one way or another distort, mask, or even deface the other. Ten innovative essays, written by an international team of experts, individually and in collaboration with each other, seek to diagnose the current situation with otherness, devise innovative solutions to the questions of alterity, and provide insight for students, teachers and researchers trying to make sense of the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century.
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Rowman & Littlefield International
Pages: 238Size: 5 3/4 x 9
978-1-78348-869-8 • Hardback • October 2016 • $120.00 • (£80.00)
978-1-78348-870-4 • Paperback • October 2016 • $39.95 • (£24.95)
978-1-78348-871-1 • eBook • October 2016 • $38.99 • (£24.95)
David J. Gunkel is Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Communication at Northern Illinois University. He is the author of five books, including: Of Remixology: Ethics and Aesthetics after Remix (2016), The Machine Question: Critical Perspectives on AI, Robots and Ethics (2012), and co-author of Heidegger and the Media (2014).

Ciro Marcondes Filho is a Professor in the Department of Communications and Arts at the University of Sao Paulo. He is creator of the New Theory of Communication, head of the FiloCom – Centre of Philosophical Studies on Communication, and has published over 45 books on journalism, mass media, cinema and philosophy. Recent books include: The New Theory of Communication (7 volumes), The Face and the Machine (Jabuti Award, 2014), Dictionary of Communication.

Dieter Mersch is Professor of Aesthetics and Director of the Institute for Critical Theory at Zurich University of the Arts. He is the author of several books in German.

Contributors: Mark Coeckelbergh, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK / Ciro Marcondes Filho, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil / Mira Fliescher, Karl Franzens-University, Graz, Austria / Alexsandro Galeno, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, Natal, Brazil / Ann Hetzel Gunkel, Columbia College Chicago, Chicago, USA / David J. Gunkel, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, USA / Maurício Liesen, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil / Dieter Mersch, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, Zürich, Switzerland / Jörg Sternage, Universität Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany / Tales Tomaz, Centro Universitário Adventista de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
David J. Gunkel, Ciro Marcondes Filho and Dieter Mersch / Part I: The Face of the Other / 1. Countenance—Mask—Avatar: The “Face” and the Technical Artifact, Dieter Mersch / 2. Digital Exchanges: Ghosts and Gifts, Mira Fliescher / 3. Performative Modalities of Otherness, Jörg Sternagel / Part II: Facing Others / 4. Alterity, Machines and Eros: A New Vision of Communication as a Happening, Ciro Marcondes Filho / 5. Game Over: About Illusion and Alterity, Maurício Liesen / 6. Facebook and Rolezinhos: Alterity, Communication and Visibility, Alexsandro Galeno / 7. (De)Facing Alterity in the Digital Age: “The Real Problem” in the Social Interaction of Digital Natives, Ann Hetzel Gunkel / Part III: Interfaces and Other Faces / 8. Alterity and Technology: Implications of Heidegger’s Phenomenology, Tales Tomaz / 9. Alterity ex Machina: The Encounter with Technology as an Epistemological-Ethical Drama, Mark Coeckelbergh / 10. Another Alterity: Rethinking Ethics in the Face of the Machine, David J. Gunkel / Index / Notes on Contributors
Whenever philosophy speaks, it does so in response to the other whispering behind philosophical reason. In this volume, the contributors turn to look at the other face to face, demonstrating cogently how alterity--the uncanny otherness of the other--stands at the very foundation of our thinking and communicative practices. Contextually sensitive and historically informed, this collection provides us with an up-to-date guide for the communicatively perplexed.
Briankle G. Chang, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts, Amherst


This magnificent book is the scholarship of innovation as it ought to be done. Alterity is an ingenious framework for coming to grips with new information and communication technologies. The Changing Face of Alterity is not a collective of essays, but a coherent whole organized around an exceptional introduction out of which flow brilliant essays on research, theory, the history of ideas, and social science. This rigorous book establishes the future agenda, from human exceptionalism to posthuman theory and practice.
Clifford G. Christians, University of Illinois


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