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CachedDecoding the Internet in Global Popular Culture$
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Stephanie Ricker Schulte

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814708668

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814708668.001.0001

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From Computers to Cyberspace

From Computers to Cyberspace

Virtual Reality, the Virtual Nation, and the CorpoNation

(p.83) 3 From Computers to Cyberspace

Stephanie Ricker Schulte

NYU Press

This chapter examines the emergence of the “World Wide Web”—the Internet's best-known hypertext system—when the global nature of the Internet became an animating idea in news media and popular culture as well as for policymakers and academics. It explores how, despite being understood as global, the Internet is nonetheless identified as a distinctly American space, or an “American virtual nation.” This Americanness was visible in the organization of the Internet, including the ways the U.S. government retained control over Internet addresses and domains. The American virtual nation was also visible, however, in news media and policy language describing the Internet as a “new democratic frontier” and an “information superhighway.” These terms were enabled by hopeful U.S. policymakers, who aimed to colonize the Internet before competitors arrived. Major Internet corporations also capitalized on this presumptive Americanness of the Internet in their efforts to become “American corpoNations.”

Keywords:   World Wide Web, Internet, hypertext system, American virtual nation, Americanness, U.S. government, Internet address, Internet domain, information superhighway, Internet corporations

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