In the 1960s America was undergoing many changes. It seemed like everything we knew was being questioned, and not even social theory could escape this investigation. This is also the point where we started to shift from a modern view of social theory to a postmodern view. All of the grand narratives that social theorists used to describe society began to be critiqued and were slowly replaced by multiple perspectives. There is also less of a focus on binary categories and more of a focus on the space between them. The world becomes more fragmented and disrupted, and chaos replaces the older attempts to keep order. While this can seem worrisome it can also be very interesting. This can specifically be seen with the British postmodern theorist Anthony Giddens, who said that there is a time-space distanciation. He believed that modernity had become radicalized because of the global society we live in. While we used to be able to only communicate with the people that were in the same place as us, we can now contact anyone around the world at any time. Our concepts of near and far have changed because of our ability to call, text, and email. Our idea of space and time is also able to stretch and compress depending on the situation.
While this might not seem like a very big deal to us today, we need to remember that at one time if you wanted to make a call away from your house you needed to find a pay phone and our computers were big monstrosities that relied on dial up for an internet connection. Today we are never without our smartphones anymore and our computers are small enough for us to use in class. Pretty soon we might all even be wearing our computers on our faces like glasses. Google Glasses are the newest thing from Google and the Android operating system, and are considered to be augmented reality glasses. They can do many of the things that your smartphone can do like send messages, take pictures, and give you directions. All of this is also controlled by voice command, so you do not even need a mouse or touch screen. As you are walking down the street you can send your friends a message telling them to meet you for lunch and then set a reminder that you need to go shopping afterwards. You can even check the weather before you go. This seems amazing but with this technology how safe is our privacy and how long before we are constantly being shown advertisements so Google can make some extra money?
When Giddens explained the time-space distanciation I doubt that he had Google Glasses in mind, but it just goes to show you how easy it has become to stay connected with everyone and everything in your life. With Google Glasses you can communicate with anyone around the world without having to lift a finger. There is even a Skype like feature where you can see the person that you are talking to. Besides that the navigation feature can show you how to get to the people that you want to meet so you can talk face to face like we used to do. We can also see how these kinds of features further change how we understand space and time. We used to only occupy space with our physical bodies in one place, but now that we can communicate globally and instantaneously we can occupy electronic space as well. In this way we can be in two places at once. We can be physically sitting in a café ordering a cup of coffee while also reading and replying to a message that you got from your friend in Europe all, on your Google Glasses. They are very different experiences, but we are still able to experience them at the same time. This is postmodern theory at its best. Before all this technology we did not have the ability to communicate with anyone and at any time we wanted. We could talk to the people around us and that was it. Technology has brought us from this black and white way of life, and introduced a grey area. We can now challenge how we are supposed to communicate and stay in contact with one another.