Journal Name: Information, Communication & Society: Volume 7, Number 1, 2004
Online ISSN: 1468-4462, Print ISSN: 1369-118X
Connecting Parliament to the Public via the Internet (pp1-22)
By Stephen Coleman (Oxford Internet Institute University of Oxford Oxford UK)
A number of scholars have argued that the Internet could strengthen representative democracy. This article presents two case studies of online consultations run on behalf of the UK Parliament and tests a series of hypotheses about online public deliberation. One consultation involved women survivors of domestic violence; the other was linked to the examination by a Parliamentary Committee of the draft Communications Bill. The article concludes by suggesting that the success of online parliamentary consultations is dependent upon two groups of actors, parliamentarians and citizens, each of which must acquire new types of communication skills and develop new practices of operating.
Keywords: representation, deliberation, consultation, Internet, inclusion, networks
The Queer Sisters and its Electronic Bulletin Board (pp23-49)
By Joyce Y. M. Nip (Hong Kong Baptist University Hong Kong)
This paper explores the impact of the Internet on offline social movement mobilization from the perspective of identity building. It is based on a case study of a women's group in Hong Kong, the Queer Sisters, and the bulletin board it created on the World Wide Web. Content analysis, an online survey, interviews and observation conducted between September 1999 and December 2000 found that the bulletin board helped to foster a sense of belonging to the Queer Sisters among participants. Bulletin board participants also shared a culture of opposition to the dominant order. But a collective consciousness was absent, so the bulletin board fell short of building a collective identity among its participants. This paper, however, argues that the absence of a collective identity on the bulletin board is the result of the way the board was administered, constrained by the resources and the aims of the Queer Sisters. It suggests that the potential for the Internet to build collective identities for social movements differs for different types of social movements.
Keywords: social movements; mobilization, Internet, queer, identity building
Explaining the Commercialization of the Internet (pp50-68)
By Seamus Simpson (Department of Information and Communications Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester UK)
This paper argues that a neo-Gramscian perspective can provide useful explanatory insights into the recent commercialization of the Internet. Governments, notably in the USA and Europe, have taken action to shape and smooth this transition in response to the desire of business to exploit a new commercial opportunity. A series of measures has been enacted in relatively new international fora whose general aim is to promote the development of international production and trade. There is evidence of concerted efforts aimed at designing an interconnected regulatory framework within which global electronic commerce might evolve. Governmental interests have attempted to promote the ethos of a new liberalized, self-regulatory system that prioritizes commercial and trademark interests of business.
Keywords: Internet, Gramsci, regulation, electronic, commerce, globalization
The Past, Present, and Future of Information Policy (pp69-87)
By Alistair S. Duff (School of Communication Art Napier University Craighouse Road Edinburgh UK)
The profile of information policy in academic and policy-making circles has been rising in recent decades, a function, presumably, of the expansion of an 'information society'. Nevertheless, there is widespread confusion over its meaning and purpose. This paper seeks to produce a clearer picture, building on useful groundwork in information science and other disciplines. The history of information policy is traced, featuring exposition of the pioneering contribution of Marc Porat in the 1970s. The present state of information policy is then described, with particular reference to some salient themes of current literature: issue inventories (i.e. the scope of information policy); academic identity (including a critique of attempts to appropriate information policy for one discipline); and the ideal - or, it is argued, illusion - of a 'national information policy'. In the final section of the paper, some suggestions are made for the future direction of information policy. First, information policy should engage much more thoroughly with the tradition of political philosophy. Second, information policy may benefit from more forays into the field of futures studies. Finally, it is proposed that information policy could be positioned as a subset of the interdisciplinary specialism of information society studies, in which case its definition might be resolved in terms of the 'normative theory of the information society'
Keywords: information, policy, society, media, interdisciplinarity, futures
Situating Privacy Online (pp92-114)
By Ana Viseu (Human Development and Applied Psychology University of Toronto), Andrew Clement (Information Policy Research Program, Faculty of Information Studies University of Toronto), Jane Aspinall (Information Policy Research Program, Faculty of Information Studies University of Toronto)
Media and research reports point to the issue of privacy as the key to understanding online behaviour and experience. Yet it is well recognized within privacy-advocacy circles that 'privacy' is a loose concept encompassing a variety of meanings. In this article we view privacy as mediating between individuals and their online activities, not standing above them, and as being constantly redefined in actual practice. It is necessary to examine, therefore, what individuals are reacting to when asked about online privacy and how it affects their online experience. This article is based on data generated in the Everyday Internet study, a neighbourhood- based, ethnographic project being conducted in Toronto, Canada, that investigates how people integrate online services in their daily lives. We propose that there are three organizing 'moments' of online privacy: the moment of sitting in front of the computer, the moment of interaction with it, and the moment after the data has been released.
Keywords: privacy, ethnographic study, Internet, practices, perceptions
Shulamith Firestone (pp115-135)
By Debora Halbert (Department of History/Political Science One Otterbein College)
Shulamith Firestone was a foundational second-wave feminist thinker. Firestone's radical feminism argued for a future where technology was used to eliminate sexism by freeing women from childbirth and liberating both men and women from the patriarchal nuclear family. In many important ways, Firestone's work is the precursor for contemporary cyberfeminist writing, especially the work of Donna Haraway. This paper examines Shulamith Firestone and her contribution to the information age.
Keywords: Shulamith Firestone, radical feminism, cyberfeminism, technology, liberation
(This journal is available online: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/1369118x.html)
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