Masthead CMC Magazine / February 1, 1996
  Information Technology Systems as Publics, by John Monberg

Renegotiation of the boundary between the Public and Private: Household Concerns

Adoption of advanced communication technologies means that banking may now take place within the home. Transactions can now be processed by customers instead of bank employees and, in a sense, the customer becomes part of the bank. Being in the home now means, at times, to be in a bank line. This bank line is privatized and individualized and one has less contact in the course of routine activities with one's neighbors. As odd as it may seem to defend waiting in line to deposit a check, some exposure to others of the kind described as important by Jane Jacobs and Richard Sennett, is lost.

If it is only just possible to imagine a digital Jimmy Stewart appealing via screen phone to the citizens of an electronic Bedford Falls, it is less possible to imagine how these citizens might get a sense of themselves as a collective and a sense of the priorities of the community, or how they might develop the trust and collective action sometimes required to address common problems. Banking becomes a personal, private concern, outside of the provenance of the public. --

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