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Aram, E. (2002). Male Female Email - The Struggle for Relatedness in a Paranoid Society, by Michael Civin, Other Press, 2000. ISBN 1-892746, $25.95. Organ. Soc. Dyn., 2(2):293-296.
   

(2002). Organizational and Social Dynamics, 2(2):293-296

Book Review

Male Female Email - The Struggle for Relatedness in a Paranoid Society, by Michael Civin, Other Press, 2000. ISBN 1-892746, $25.95

Review by:
Eliat Aram

I think that there is no doubt that networking technologies, such as email and the Internet, which are at the forefront of developments in information technology, can greatly increase and enrich context. The use of the virtual space enriches the conversational life of organisations and adds a fresh and exciting flavour to ordinary, familiar human interaction. These networking technologies are influencing our lives in many obvious ways, such as enhancing communication, speeding up the rate of change and making information much more available and accessible. However, they also have more subtle implications for the processes of development and change in organisations, as well as for individuals at a deeper level of interaction where the dynamics of anxiety, panic, shame, resistance, envy, authority, power, projective processes, splitting and others take place in an emergent, sometimes surprisingly escalating way. Many of the dynamics that occur in virtual communication are similar to those that have been identified in face-to-face interactions, only faster, less contained and more difficult to work with. These are the kinds of processes Michael Civin attends to in this book.

I guess what I liked most about this book is that the author, Michael Civin, invites his readers to consider this aspect of our lives that we have either grown accustomed to or take for granted as part of the 20th-century's technological advancements, but in any case rarely stop to reflect upon. Since I have been busy with musing on how computers or networking technologies have become part of my life - personally as well as organisationally - for some years now I enjoyed Civin's exploration of similar questions.

Civin's central exploration in his book is of the meaning of the notion of relationships in the context of computers and the lives we have constructed around them.

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