Military Mashups: Remixing Literacy Practices

Mashing Military and High-Tech Workplace Practices

Mashing Military and High-Tech Workplace Practices. In this video, I examine the ways that the military is deeply mashed into the high-tech sector. Sherry Ortner (1973) wrote that each society has key symbols. It is important to note that these symbols are not conceptualized as static or bounded, but instead as fluid, fuzzy, and part of an ongoing negotiation. One key symbol circulating within complex cultural ecologies (Hawisher, Selfe, Guo, & Liu, 2006) in Israeli society is the small, agile commando unit. More recently this symbol is being replaced by the new heroes of high-tech as the society shifts from the socialist ideals of the kibbutz to a capitalist industry based on global high-tech enterprises. In this new narrative the ingenuity, creativity, and daringness (from an emic perspective) typically associated with the Israeli commando are now the same traits helping to put Israeli high-tech startups (and the country itself) on the map. Evidence of the shift is found on the website serving as an object of analysis. This is evidenced in one of the Hebrew terms on the site called "gibush." The term itself is widely used in military contexts to refer to the process of group bonding or “crystallization” of a team. Deployed on the high-tech company website, the analogy is implicitly made between a military unit and a start-up team: well-organized, able to quickly adapt—by formulating strategies and tactics—to the pressures of a crowded and rapidly changing marketplace. Through such examples we might understand the ways that national narratives and myths connected to the Israeli military are part of national brand being exported in a global high-tech marketplace.



by Steven Fraiberg