GLOCOM Platform
debates Media Reviews Tech Reviews Special Topics Books and Journals
Summary Page
Search with Google
Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #123: December 24, 2003

Information, Communication & Society

Journal Name: Information, Communication & Society: Volume 6, Number 3, 2003

Online ISSN: 1468-4462, Print ISSN: 1369-118X


The Moral "Technologies' of Knowledge Management(pp291 - 306)
By Andrew Chan (City University of Hong Kong), John Garrick (University of Technology, Sydney)
This paper uses the framework of Michel Foucault to examine the mainstream discourse of "knowledge management' (KM) in organizations. In particular, we draw on the notions of reflexivity, subjectivity, power, freedom and resistance to show how Foucault's ideas challenge contemporary uses of KM including its alignment with organizational learning and strategic change. A dominant theme of KM discourse relates to what computer technology can do for storing, sorting and distributing organizational knowledge. Indeed, a central assumption of the ideology of KM is that its systems are universally desirable. KM is often presented as a common-sense way of thinking about one's organization, and having everyone "pitch-in' through sharing knowledge is meant to ensure the company's commercial future. KM is thus represented as in the fundamental interests of workers and companies alike. In this article, we jettison the idea that KM is an unquestioned good. More specifically, we are concerned with the highly instrumental ways that knowledge is being constructed and how this influences workplace subjectivities. Foucauldian theory certainly helps with an examination of KM discourse, but we do not claim it is the only theory appropriate to this subject.
Keywords: knowledge management, tacit knowledge, organizational learning, strategic change, information technology

Imagined Memories
Webcasting as a "live' technology and the case of Little Big Gig (pp307 - 325)
By Mark Duffett (UCC, Warrington, UK)
Most discussions of popular music on the Internet focus on the utopian potential of new file-sharing technologies, yet applications that reproduce existing inequalities also deserve attention. Webcasting is the streaming (transmission) of digital video to multiple recipients in cyberspace. Paul McCartney's Webcast from the Cavern was a landmark case. It was a digital package staged for reproduction, and yet it felt live; in this article I explore why and offer a two-part explanation. The first part is that "live'-ness is based on an increasingly false opposition to recording, but, because that opposition still remains, Little Big Gig could seem live by adopting some trappings associated with it. The second part is that Internet use is mediated by daily life and computer users brought their own desire to the Webcast, in particular desires to see a Beatle play in the Cavern. Webcasting is an unanticipated use of the Internet that is being used to support corporate interests. With its widespread publicity, Little Big Gig helped naturalize that process.
Keywords: webcasting, aura, liveness, simulation, nostalgia, popular music, popular music

The Prospects for Digital Radio
Policy and technology for a new broadcasting system (pp326 - 349)
By Stephen Lax (University of Leeds, UK)
Digital audio broadcasting is a major innovation in radio, one that is at its most advanced in Europe. It has the potential to deliver high-quality audio reception and to increase significantly the capacity of the radio spectrum, with the possibility of an expansion of both the range and diversity of radio programming. Nevertheless, in the UK and elsewhere it remains relatively unknown and under-adopted in comparison with other consumer technologies like digital television. This article examines the origins of digital radio, and considers how this technology is expected to become a mass communications technology, eventually supplanting analogue radio. However, in its present form, there is little that is novel currently being offered on digital radio, and the economic and political contexts in which it is being developed may encourage further concentration of ownership and reduce diversity of choice in listening. Unlike previous innovations then, such as FM broadcasting, there appear to be few compelling advantages of digital radio that will persuade listeners to adopt this new technology. If this new technological system is to succeed, alternative uses must be found for it, and one area for which it might be suited is mobile data communications. The article concludes by suggesting that this might mean that radio becomes of secondary importance to this potentially lucrative application of digital audio broadcasting technology.
Keywords: broadcasting, digital, radio, policy, technology

ICT for all? Access and use of Public ICT Sites in the UK (pp350 - 375)
By Neil Selwyn (Cardiff University, UK)
As part of their "information age' policy agenda, the UK government sees "universal' access to information and communications technology (ICT) being achieved via new and existing public sites, where shared access to new technologies can be made available at little or no cost. State-sponsored augmentation of public ICT access in the UK has involved a variety of initiatives, most notably the recent establishment of a network of over 7,000 "UK Online Centres' located in a variety of distributed sites such as libraries, museums and colleges. Whilst there have been a number of localized case studies of users of public ICT sites, there has been little large-scale "mapping' of how these facilities are being used (and not used) by the general public. Based on a randomized household survey with 1,001 individuals in twelve research areas in the West of England and South Wales - augmented with a "booster' sample of 100 interviews with individuals carried out in public ICT sites in these areas - the present paper seeks to explore: (i) who has access to what forms of public ICT sites; and (ii) who is (and who is not) making use of different forms of public ICT sites. The survey data suggest that, in terms of people's effective access to ICT, public access sites have a relatively slight profile when compared with household and wider family access - perceived to offer ready access to ICT by only a minority of respondents. Moreover, when the use of these public ICT sites is examined, there is little evidence of public ICT sites attracting those social groups who may otherwise be excluded or marginalized from the information age. Given these findings, the paper considers the influences underlying the currently modest impact of public ICT sites on the general population and suggests changes to current public ICT provision that may prompt wider usage of these sites.
Keywords: ICT centres, community, public access, digital divide, equality of opportunity

The Shifting "Balance' Between Criminal Investigation and Privacy
A case study of communications interception law in the Netherlands (pp380 - 403)
By Bert-Jaap Koops (Tilburg University)
In the past decade, numerous ICT-related investigation powers have been introduced or extended. Have these shifted the balance between criminal investigation and privacy? Do governments allow more privacy infringements for the sake of law enforcement than they used to do? As a first step towards answering these questions, this paper presents the results of a case study of communications interception law in the Netherlands. The study offers a historical analysis of the introduction and changes in Dutch law regarding powers to investigate post, telegraphy, telephony, telecommunications, oral communications and traffic data in the period 1838- 2002. The case study shows that the balance between criminal investigation and privacy in Dutch law has shifted somewhat towards law enforcement, particularly in 2000, but privacy is not altogether discarded. Still, privacy does not appear to operate on a par with law enforcement: it seems a secondary rather than a primary factor in legislative practice. Governments and parliaments should pay more attention to substantiating the need for extending investigation powers, if they want to retain a semblance of truth when they speak of the "balance' between criminal investigation and privacy.
Keywords: criminal investigation, privacy, communications, interception, Netherlands

State-Sponsored Communications Interception
Facilitating Illegality (pp404 - 429)
By Joseph Fitsanakis (Winston-Salem, NC, USA)
This article suggests that, in the context of the UK and the USA, the uses of state- sponsored communications interception (i.e. wiretapping) practices directed against political, rather than criminal, policing have historically functioned outside prevailing legal frameworks and guidelines. Furthermore, it suggests that the abuse of communications interception by UK and US governmental agencies has been primarily facilitated by the intimate institutional interface between intelligence and law enforcement agencies on the one side, and communication service providers on the other. Thus, any debate around strengthening the legislative protections of privacy in the UK or the USA remains to a large extent uninformed, unless it considers the informal arrangements that have historically facilitated the abuse of citizens' privacy on both sides of the Atlantic.
Keywords: wiretapping, civil liberties, privacy, telephony, policing, intelligence

Computerized Capitalism: The Media Theory of Jean-François Lyotard (pp430 - 450)
By Nicholas Gane (University of York)
There is currently a tendency in cultural studies literature to analyse new media technologies in isolation from the underlying dynamics of capitalist culture. In response, this paper draws on the work of Jean-François Lyotard to reassert a series of basic connections between technological development and the further extension of capitalist principles into cultural production and exchange. This analysis will treat Lyotard as a key, but neglected, figure in media theory. The following arguments will be developed from three of his key texts: that the computerization of society is accompanied by a new stage in the commodification of knowledge (The Postmodern Condition); that we are witnessing the speed-up and extension of capitalist culture through the reduction of knowledge to information and information to bits (The Inhuman); and that new media technologies promote the streaming of culture (even oppositional culture) into homogeneous forms of capital that can be exchanged, received and consumed almost ahead of time (Postmodern Fables). Lyotard's strategies of resistance to these three processes, and to the invasion of capitalist logics into culture more generally, are placed into question in the final section of this paper.
Keywords: capitalism, culture, inhuman, Lyotard, new media, technology

(This journal is available online:
Posted with permission from the publisher.

Copyright © Japanese Institute of Global Communications