Cyberspace Divide: Equality, Agency and Policy in the by Brian D Loader

By Brian D Loader

The dramatic advances in machine and telecommunications applied sciences corresponding to the web, digital fact, shrewdpermanent playing cards or multimedia purposes are more and more considered as ushering in a brand new type of society: the knowledge society. Politicians, coverage makers and enterprise specialists are all encouraging us to hitch the data superhighway on the nearest junction or possibility being excluded from the social and fiscal advantages of the data revolution. our on-line world Divide seriously considers the advanced courting among technological swap, its influence upon social divisions, its effects for social motion and the rising techniques for social inclusion within the details Age. our on-line world Divide could be beneficial examining for these learning social coverage, sociology, computing and conversation experiences.

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Not entirely free-market) capitalist structures were associated with the highest need-satisfaction levels. 34 TREVOR HAYWOOD Chapter 3 Who are the world’s information-poor? Mike Holderness INTRODUCTION ‘It’s strange,’ said the civil servant from Britain’s Department of Trade and Industry in March 1997, ‘but last year everyone was talking about the Internet as “community”. ’ ‘That’s easy,’ responded your cynical author. ‘In London, if you organise a seminar called “Building virtual communities” you’re lucky to get £50 a person.

It owes its existence to the desire of info-rich actors to talk and share information and knowledge with other info-rich actors, and whatever their altruistic motives may or may not be, neither will have the power (though some may have the desire) to extend membership of the club. Contrary to current Internet folklore, the users do not own the ‘means’. They have great freedom to communicate but they do not have the freedom to decide who else may communicate with them. That decision will remain with the ‘investors’, be they individual or corporate, and will thus exhibit all the disparities of access that characterise existing technologies.

We cannot, even with access to the most sophisticated virtual worlds, see or feel moved in the same way. Remote means remote, and while occasional remoteness may corrupt, absolute remoteness will corrupt absolutely. Our current construction of society has created healthy and safe environments and it has extended the hand of opportunity to millions who, if left in the economic circumstances of their birth, would themselves have been able to contribute little. Networking also offers the scope for participation in serious political debates about our condition; indeed one could envisage a future in which citizens of the world could join together across the wires to influence and achieve valuable common goals, and as part of a process of building solidarity it may yet prove a powerful and potent instrument.

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