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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #175: November 19, 2004

Information, Communication & Society

Journal Name: Information, Communication & Society: Volume 7, Number 2, June 2004

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


Politics and Identity in Cyberspace: A case study of Australian Women in Agriculture online (pp167 - 184)
By Barbara Pini (School of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane Queensland 4000 Australia ), Kerry Brown (School of Management, Faculty of Business Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane Queensland 4000 Australia) and Josephine Previte (UQ Business School, University of Queensland, Ipswich Queensland 4305 Australia)
This paper reports on an exploratory study of the use of new technologies by the rural women's group Australian Women in Agriculture (AWiA). Data from interviews with twenty members of AWiA and an analysis of organizational documents, including a number of messages posted on the group's discussion list, are used to examine the extent to which cyberspace offers a new space for political engagement for women's activism. The experiences of AWiA members offer some cause for optimism. Geographically dispersed and excluded from male-dominated public agricultural arenas, the women of AWiA have constructed a technosocial landscape that facilitates the active dissemination of information, which has been used to advance a political agenda for farming women. However, there is evidence that less powerful actors within the network whose preference was for more social discussion on the list have been marginalized in the process. For these women, space for political engagement online has been limited on the AWiA discussion list. In conclusion, the paper draws attention to the new research questions that have emerged from this study.

Keywords: Women, Agriculture, Rural, Technology

Structure and Forms of Use: A contribution to understanding the 'effects' of the Internet on deliberative democracy (pp185 - 206)
By Lee Salter (School of Law, Governance and Industrial Relations, London Metropolitan University, London, UK)
A good deal of discourse relating to the 'democratic potential' of the Internet has tended to simplify the question of technology. Whilst it is true that the structure of the Internet may well facilitate certain 'democratic' forms of use, this is not a necessary fact. This paper argues that the Internet is not passive, but is shaped by the ways in which it is used. Such an account emphasizes the fact that certain forms of use may well conflict, leading to a struggle to define the technology, people's relation to it, and thus the ways in which it is used. The discussion concludes with the suggestion that, unless users strive to develop the Internet as a democratic tool, or one that enhanced non-commercial civil society, the potential often referred to will be lost.

Keywords: Internet, Www, Democracy, Discourse, Public Sphere, Technology, Colonization, Governance

Mediated Relationships: Authenticity and the possibility of romance (pp207 - 222)
By Michael Hardey (Department of Geography, Politics and Sociology, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
This paper is about the Internet as a new mode of meeting people and forming relationships. It is argued that the rapidly growing number of Internet 'dating resources' constitute a domain where people are entering into particular forms of interactions that are characterized by interactional 'rules' that facilitate the building of 'trust' between users. Authenticity and 'emotional communication' is, as Giddens (The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Societies, Polity Press, Cambridge, 1992) has suggested, central to the 'pure relationships' of our late modern era. It is therefore appropriate that information and communication technologies are supplementing or replacing traditional routes to potentially romantic encounters that have in the past been mediated by the marriage broker, shadkhan or others taking similar roles.

Keywords: Internet Dating, Authenticity, Identity, Romance

Virtual Time: The processuality of the cyberweek (pp223 - 247)
By Michel S. Laguerre (The University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, USA)
Like space, time takes on different characteristics in the digitized city. The Internet has contributed to a new way of problematizing time as embodied in human agency and social institutions, a time that is produced on a global scale, irrespective of time zones. This essay examines the contours, content and deployment of virtual time and of the cyberweek that it makes possible. It contrasts real time with virtual time to show the malleability of the latter, examines the ways in which the collapse of temporal boundaries and the compression of time-distance have manifested themselves in the cybertiming and flexitiming of the civil week, explores the global and local aspects of the cyberweek, and analyses the practical ramifications of virtual time in the daily life of the digital city.

Keywords: Internet Time, Cyberweek, Temporality, Cybertime

Privacy, Surveillance, Trust and Regulation: CCTV: identities, accounts and legal rulings (pp249 - 251)
By Charles D. Raab (School of Social and Political Studies, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH8 9LL, UK) and David Mason (University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK)
(This article does not have an abstract.)

Keywords: Internet Time, Cyberweek, Temporality, Cybertime

Closed Circuits of Interaction?: The mobilization of images and accountability through high-street CCTV (pp252 - 271)
By Daniel Neyland (EVINCE Research Associate, Science and Technology, Said Business School, Oxford, UK)
Are CCTV images of such evidential strength that they speak for themselves? If not, then for whom do they speak? CCTV cameras form a growing presence in Britain's high streets. There are estimated to be 2.5 million cameras in operation in Britain, there is an increase in legislation relating to cameras and there is increasing concern amongst civil liberties groups about cameras' effects. Claims are frequently made such as 'if you are doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about' and 'CCTV evidence is clear to see.' These claims depend upon acceptance of the proposal that CCTV images are simply left to speak for themselves and that CCTV staff do little interpretative work. However, to investigate these claims, we need to ask: How do CCTV systems actually operate in practice. How are identities for CCTV images made 'clear', accounted for and mobilized? What work is done to promote the notion that we have nothing to worry about with CCTV? How do issues such as 'surveillance', 'privacy' and 'public' become implicated within these identity production processes? This article seeks to tackle these questions through the interrogation of a single story involving a high-street CCTV system, local police, local residents, a national television company and civil liberties group. This analysis of interactivity (based on a broadly ethno-methodological remit) augments current sociological accounts of CCTV. Instead of accepting panoptic metaphors as a means of understanding CCTV, the article will open up the closed circuit of CCTV through an analysis of the pantopticon in practice.

Keywords: Cctv, Images, Public, Accountability

Doreen Massey: Space, relations, communications (pp273 - 291)
By Jayne Rodgers (608-890 Academy Close, Victoria, BC, V8V 2Y1, Canada)
The growth of transnational communications, most notably the Internet and email, has had a profound impact on social and political interactions across borders. Doreen Massey, a social and political geographer, has written widely about space, with an emphasis on examining relations between actors, rather than the roles that they play. Her research suggests that space can be conceived of as constructed of these relations and, as a consequence, power can be seen to operate at multiple and complex levels. This article examines Massey's work, identifying areas of particular relevance to communications scholars. Massey's thinking is applied to the contemporary communications arena, where her ideas on space and 'power-geometries' offer new insights into how the complexities of transnational relations can be understood.

Keywords: Massey, Space, Spatial, Power, Communications, Internet, Relations, Relational, Globalization, Politics, Social Relations, Power-geometries

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