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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 15:04 02/06/2008
Journal Abstracts #296: February 6, 2008

Information, Communication & Society

Journal Name: Information, Communication & Society:
Volume 10, Number 4, August 2007

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


The Disconnection In Online Politics: the youth political web sphere and US election sites, 2002-2004 (p443 - 464)
Michael Xenos (The Center for Communication Research, Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Madison, WI, USA), W. Lance Bennett (Centre for Communication & Civic Engagement, Department of Communication, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA)
In recent years, candidates and other political actors have dramatically increased their presence and activities online. Although the notion of these activities reaching beyond a limited set of early-adopters is relatively new, younger citizens have long been at the forefront of new developments on the web and continue to make up a substantial proportion of those seeking political information online. Given longstanding concern over levels of civic and political engagement among young people, questions concerning what young people seeking information and opportunities for political involvement online might find there are particularly relevant. In particular, we explore political websites that are directly targeted at younger voters (e.g. Rock the Vote and similar sites), websites produced by candidates and political parties, and possible linkages between these two web spheres. Based on content and hyperlink analyses spanning the 2002 and 2004 US election cycles, we find a complex evolution of the online political information environment offered to youth. Although the youth engagement web sphere experienced dramatic growth during this time period, our data also identify a reluctance of many mainstream political actors to speak directly to young people through the web, and a surprising underdevelopment of linkages between youth politics websites and the wider web of political information online. We conclude by considering the implications of these patterns for future research on the role of new media in processes of political communication and engagement.

Keywords: Youth civic engagement; online politics; campaign websites; political portals; hyperlink analysis

Only joking? Online humour in the 2005 UK general election (p465 - 487)
Limor Shifman (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK), Stephen Coleman (Institute of Communication Studies, University of Leeds, Leeds), Stephen Ward (Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, zOX1 3JS, UK)
Humour has long been a part of election campaigns but rarely has election humour been subject to scholarly analysis. The increasing popularity of new forms of Internet-based humour has, however, raised questions about the significance of humour in campaigning and whether online humour can be used as means of stimulating political engagement. This article assesses online humour in the context of the 2005 UK election, exploring both the motivations of the different actors who distributed web-based political humour and the nature of the texts themselves. We find that whilst the official party campaigns use humour very cautiously, there has been an upsurge in humour based campaigns from net activists as well as more traditional broadcasters. Yet, overall, the way that humour is used is paradoxical, since it often attempts to encourage participation but portrays politics as a cynical game, leaving the rationale for political participation unclear.

Keywords: Internet; humour; political participation; election campaigns; game-playing

Individual differences and electronic monitoring at work (p488 - 505)
Jengchung V. Chen (Institute of Telecommunications Management, National Cheng Kung University, ROC, Taiwan), William H. Ross (Department of Management, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, La Crosse, WI, USA)
Individual differences such as personality and demographic factors have effects on how people react to Electronic Performance Monitoring (EPM), yet the literature on this aspect of electronic monitoring has been scattered. The present paper summarizes this body of empirical research and presents a framework for organizing current research findings based on two dimensions: the probability of successful work under the monitoring and the probability of accepting that the monitoring is of value. The framework also allows researchers to make predictions regarding additional individual difference variables. Managers may use this information to select employees who are likely to respond well to monitoring conditions and to structure monitoring procedures so that they are likely to be accepted by their employees with particular individual difference characteristics.

Keywords: Electronic Performance Monitoring; individual differences; personality; surveillance; electronic monitoring

Mobile Selves: Gender, ethnicity and mobile phones in the everyday lives of young Pakistani-British women and men (p506 - 526)
Eileen Green (Professor of Sociology and Director of the Centre for Social and Policy Research at the University of Teesside, UK), Carrie Singleton (Centre for Social and Policy Research, School of Social Sciences and Law, University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, Tees Valley, UK)
This paper focuses on mobile phone use by a young minority ethnic group as a medium through which to explore diversity and technology use in everyday life. Recent research with young people has shown that mobile phones are instrumentally, socially and emotionally important but few have problematized the homogeneous concept of 'youth'. This paper argues for increased recognition of the intersections of social categories such as youth, gender and ethnicity with technologies, specifically mobile phones, in order to understand complexity of use. Drawing on new empirical, qualitative data from an urban area in the North East of England we explore the focus group narratives of young Pakistani-British Muslim women and men focusing on the notion of 'shifting' gendered and cultural identities and social practices, developed and reworked in relation to the use of mobile phones. We look at the gendered dynamics of mobile use, including gender talk and text, and ask whether the young women and men experience mobiles differently in everyday life. We also explore the ways in which mobiles are used to create 'space of one's own' and the gendered dynamics of remaining connected, especially to key peer groups. The paper concludes with the assertion that in order to fully explore the mutability of youth cultures across space and time, we need to develop a more dynamic concept of 'mobile selves' by exploring the place and meaning of technologies such as mobile phones in the rich tapestries of young people's lives.

Keywords: Mobile phones; gender; ethnicity; culture; identity; technology

Global Nomads' Network and Mobile Sociality: Exploring New Media Uses on the Move (p527 - 546)
Giovanna Mascheroni (Osservatorio sulla Comunicazione, UniversitÓ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano, Italy)
This paper explores the convergence of communication and travel and the emergence of a mobile and network sociality, through investigating new communication practices based on the internet and mobile phone enacted by backpackers while on the move. These global nomads produce and maintain mobile spaces of sociality, founded on a complex intersection of face-to-face interaction and mediated communication, co-presence and virtual proximity, corporeal travel and virtual mobilities. Personal communities become a mobile phenomenon, relocalized in a plurality of online and offline social spaces. It is thus argued that network relationships are reshaped and mobilized through reconfigurations of co-presence, proximity and distance in relation to the use of new media. Exploring new media uses on the move can thus provide a useful insight into the emerging social model of the network and mobile society.

Keywords: Internet; social networks; virtual mobilities; mobile sociality; travel

Local Experts in the Domestication of Information and Communication Technologies (p547 - 569)
James Stewart (Research Centre for Social Sciences, Institute for the Study of Science Technology and Innovation (ISSTI), UK)
Research into the adoption and use of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) pays increasing attention to social context; however, the social fabric of contexts of use is often poorly theorized. This paper presents an investigation into the formation and operation of informal local networks of collaboration and knowledge exchange. It highlights the role of local experts in sustaining these informal networks and helping individuals and groups adopt and cope with new ICTs. The paper draws on a range of analytic traditions, including domestication and consumer research, to assess how local experts transfer knowledge, ideas of use and even new technologies across social networks and across the boundaries between home, work and education and other domains of life. The methodology deployed attempts to overcome the limitations of many studies of the adoption and diffusion of innovations in sample selection, especially the inclusion of non-adopters. It addresses the social dynamics of engagement with new technologies and proposes a move beyond a simple individualistic adopter/non-adopter model, with consequent implications for understanding digital inclusion and exclusion.

Keywords: Adoption; experts; intermediaries; Internet; social; networks; non-use

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