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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:22 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #63: September 25, 2002

Information, Communication & Society

Journal Name: Information, Communication & Society,
Volume 5, Number 2, 2002


The Social Impacts of Electronic Mail in Organizations: A case study of electronic power games using communication genres
Nicolas B. Ducheneaut
This paper investigates the effects of the introduction of electronic mail on organizational structure and power. It provides empirical support to the view that technology, organizational context, and individual actors interact to shape the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and their effect on organizations. Through an analysis of power games reflected in the progressive constitution of electronic mail genres, it illustrates in particular how the specific organizational configurations in which technology is deployed deeply influence its ultimate use. Far from transforming an organization, it appears that the introduction of electronic communication tools may in certain circumstances help reinforce an organization's preexisting structure.

Children's Influence on Internet Access at Home: Adoption and use in the family context
Veerle Van Rompaey , Keith Roe , Karin Struys
In this study, an integrated quantitative and qualitative research design was employed. From over 900 telephone interviews a typology of family types based on possession of media appliances was constructed, then divided into 'traditional' (low media density), 'intermediate' (average media density) and 'multimedia' (high media density) families. This typology was then used as a basis for selecting thirty-eight families for in-depth interviews. Of these, thirty-one contained children and it is these that form the basis for this article. The results of the family interviews indicate that children are a very important factor in the acquisition and use of the Internet. It was apparent from our interviews that Internet access and use become major issues in family discussions and conflicts - both between parents and children and between siblings.

Bridging Temporal and Spatial "Gaps": The role of information and communication technologies in defining communities
Paul M.A. Baker , Andrew C. Ward
The diffusion and use of digitally based information and communication technologies (ICTs) offers the opportunity to redefine and reconceptualize 'community' both in terms of delineating the boundaries of community, as well as the modes of communication used between members. The creation of an electronic infrastructure, the Internet, permits the possibility of widespread public communication that is inexpensive and relatively easy to access. A second consequence builds on the first; the emergence of (virtual) communities based on geographically distributed sources of information production and exchange rather than the geographic proximity of community members to one another. An assessment of three cases of ICT-linked communities suggests that one component of sustainability of these virtual communities of interest may be a geographic linkage. While interests not based on geography are, at least at present, more transitory and less important than those created by the use of the Internet and similar kinds of ICTs. While we may join a virtual community because of an interest we have, unless that interest affects us in our daily lives, in our lives as physically-instantiated and geographically-centred individuals and citizens, there is no good reason to believe that we will long continue an active membership in the virtual community. Indeed, this is precisely what the three case studies presented in this paper suggest.

The Glass Screen
Michael Arnold
This paper seeks to contribute to an ongoing discussion of those social relations that are mediated entirely through computer networks. It begins by pointing to the problems associated with the slippery binary of embodiment and disembodiment, and reminds the reader of the non-material relational and semiotic significance of the body. This non-material relational and semiotic mode of being is also available to us through electronic information and communications media, however, it is asserted that these electronic mediations are of a different kind to those which are face to face, and it is argued that they orient us to the lifeworld in particular ways. The metaphors 'glass', 'screen' and 'monitor' are used to explore the orientation offered by electronic mediation.

Everyday Surveillance: Personal data and social classifications
David Lyon
Surveillance is no longer merely a matter of deliberate, individual scrutiny and consequent fears for personal privacy. It is an everyday experience, run by myriad agencies for multiple purposes and exempting no one. Surveillance is also an ambiguous process, the two faces of which must yet be seen in relation to each other. Numerous data - now including biometric, genetic and video data - are abstracted from embodied persons and manipulated to create profiles and risk categories in a networked, rhizomic system. The resulting classifications are intended to influence and to manage populations and persons. The choices and the chances of data-subjects are thus both directly and indirectly affected, but socio-technical surveillance systems are also affected by people complying with, negotiating or resisting surveillance.

The Contagiousness of Conflict: E.E. Schattschneider as a theorist of the information society
Robin Brown
Elmer Eric Schattschneider (1892-1971) was one of the most distinguished US political scientists of his day but beyond an isolated footnote, his work rarely receives much attention today. This paper suggests that there is much in Schattschneider's work that deserves renewed attention. In 1960, Schattschneider published The Semisovereign People, a study of the transformation of US politics from a set of regional hegemonies to a genuinely national political system. While this may seem arcane to students of the information society, The Semisovereign People actually offers a conceptual toolkit for understanding the way in which new information and communications technologies are changing the global political landscape. In an era of satellite television, the Internet and the mobile phone, Schattschneider's key concepts of scope, visibility and the socialization of conflict provide powerful insights into the politics of a globalizing world. E.E. Schattschneider thought he was writing a book about the nationalization of US politics in the middle of the twentieth century in fact what he actually wrote was a theory of political globalization.

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