Journal Name: Information, Communication & Society: Volume 8, Number 1, March 2005
Online ISSN: 1468-4462, Print ISSN: 1369-118X
The Internet in nine Asian nations (pp30-46)
By Randolph Kluver (Singapore Internet Research Centre, School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 637718) and Indrajit Banerjee (Asian Media Information Centre, Nanyang Technological University, 31 Nanyang Link, Singapore, 637718)
In recent years, a number of analysts have argued that the Internet demonstrates an inexorable pull towards democratization of public life. The overwhelming majority of analysis conducted to understand the democratic potential of the Internet has taken place in Western Europe and North America, where democratic traditions are firmly established, and there is widespread acceptance of the liberal democratic norms arising from three hundred years of a set of religious and philosophical traditions. To date, research on the democratizing impact of the Internet outside these traditions has been sparse and incidental, rather than comprehensive and sustained. In Asia, however, recent events have threatened the vision of the democratizing power of the Internet, as politically oriented websites have suffered from dwindling economies and governmental pressure, as well as hackers.
This paper will survey the state of the Internet and democracy in Asia, drawing from data compiled as part of two recent research projects, the most systematic and sustained efforts yet to take place to examine these questions. The paper will present data from nine nations across Asia, including China, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, and others, and identify the critical variables that are most directly affecting the ability of new political participants to effectively deploy the Internet for mobilization. This analysis will demonstrate the ways in which the reality of politics in Asia significantly modifies the findings of researchers examining the political impact of the Internet within the established democratic nations of North America and Western Europe.
Keywords: democracy, Internet, Asia, regulation, political culture, digital divide
Implosion, virtuality, and interaction in an internet discussion group (pp47-63)
By Hangwoo Lee (Department of Sociology, Chungbuk National University, Gae-Shin Dong, Heung-Duk Gu, Chungbuk Province, 361-763, South Korea)
The broad conceptual scope of 'virtuality' reflects a notable implosive nature of contemporary culture that has been increasingly dependent on simulation and the blurring of the boundary between culture and technology. This research examines several issues that implosive structural properties of interaction on the Internet (e.g. the blurring of geographic, written/spoken, public/private and the real/the virtual boundaries) pose in relation to the unfolding of social interactions in an online forum, by focusing on the domains of 'hostility', 'self-presentation' and 'support'. An examination of the way these structural variables lead to the emergence of certain types of behavioral features in cyberspace will shed light on the differences between virtual interaction and offline, face-to-face interaction. Virtuality on the Internet becomes interactive since it is engendered not just by Internet users' passive consumption of media images but also mostly by their very involvement in the interaction itself. Both 'virtual interactivity' and 'interactive virtuality' are involved in placing the discussion of 'virtuality' in a broader contemporary cultural context as well as in uncovering the nature of 'virtuality' specific to Internet culture.
Keywords: virtual interactivity, interactive virtuality, implosion, hostility, self-presentation, support
A study from a 'rational actor' perspective (pp64-80)
By Dominic Madell (Department of Applied Psychology, University of Durham, Stockton Campus, University Boulevard, Thornaby, Stockton on Tees, UK) and Steven Muncer (Applied Psychology, University of Durham, Psychology Department
Authors have noted that young people like to use the Internet and mobile phones for communication purposes. This paper reports results concerning use of the Internet and mobile phones for communication from a survey of 1340 English secondary schoolchildren conducted in 2002 and examines whether the use of either of these forms of communication technologies occurs at the expense of the other amongst this group. In agreement with background literature, it was found that communication via the Internet and mobile phones was popular amongst young people and small but significant positive correlations amongst the sample for measures of the use of the Internet and mobile phones for communication purposes were also discovered. This latter finding implies that these communication media are complementary rather than substitutable amongst young people. This article discusses a number of possible reasons for the popularity of the Internet and mobile phones for communication amongst young people and states that the positive correlations imply that children are 'rational actors' where communication via modern technology is concerned. That is, young people use the Internet and mobile phones strategically to meet different communication needs. It is concluded that as both of these forms of communication technology can be employed to achieve different purposes, the result is that neither negates the use of the other amongst this group.
Keywords: chat room, children, communication, email, Internet, mobile phone
Surveillance and the human–machine interface (pp81-83)
By David Mason (Dean, School of Social Sciences, Nottingham Trent University, Burton Street, Nottingham, NG1 4BU, UK
) and Charles D. Raab (School of Social and Political Studies, The University of Edinburgh)
This article does not have an abstract.
The role of technology in shaping CCTV surveillance practices (pp84-100)
By Lynsey Dubbeld (Centre for Studies of Science, Technology and Society, University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500, AE, Enschede, The Netherlands)
In the literature on the operation and effects of closed-circuit television (CCTV), attention has focused on the roles of human actors in surveillance practices. This article argues that, in addition, the role of technical artefacts in shaping surveillance should be taken into account. Through an empirical case study of centralized CCTV, the construction and operation of surveillance from the perspective of the technical, material design of the socio-technical network of video surveillance are explored. The analysis suggests that the application of complex technologies for camera surveillance does not simply augment but also limits the realization of targeted observations. This insight contributes to studies of CCTV and theories of surveillance concerned with analysing the surveillance capacities of contemporary surveillance practices.
Keywords: surveillance, closed-circuit television, socio-technical networks, camera-enabled observations, technical mediation
(This journal is available online: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/1369118x.html)
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