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April 1997 Issue
The Geographical Review
April 1997, Vol. 87 (2), pp. 193-218
The Sacred, The Regional, and the Digital
Paul F. Starrs
As an information economy and a cultural hallmark, cyberspace belies traditional boundaries yet involves a distinctive territory, citizenry, literature, technology, capital and finance, ritual, weapons and belligerencies, a recognizable past, and variegated if unspecified futures. Not easily quantified is the geography of so elusive and placeless an entity, and its technology has been variously portrayed as utopian, liberating, elitist, or enslaving; in it are brought to life strains of technological determinism. Maps of cyberspace can be forged only with utmost difficulty, and it is best beloved and imagined in dense cyberpunk fiction. Part sacred space, part ethereal region, part digital fact, cyberspace involves a regional geography perhaps best captured in a koan: What is the place where everyone is but nobody lives?
Dr. STARRS is a professor of geography at the University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89557-0048.