The Art of Criticism in the Age of Interactive Technology: Critics, Participatory Culture, and the Avant-Garde

Ryan Gillespie


Scholars claim that the mass-media story is being replaced by the interactive-media story. Much discussion has focused on the changing roles of artists, gatekeepers, producers, and consumers, but what role does the critic play in this story? After providing an historical analysis of the concept of the critic in critical-cultural studies, I argue for a way out of the subjugation-emancipation paradox of normative judgment using an end-relational theory of critique. Without such an approach, criticism is easily conflated with consumerism, forcing two consequences: the relegation of judgment to mere personal preference, and the potential loss of an avant-garde. Thus, I argue that we need critics more, not less, in the interactive technology, Web 2.0 world.

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