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  • Clive 1:55 pm on January 15, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , public space,   

    ‘Trust’ in offline/online media 

    Trustworthiness in the Fourth and Fifth Estates by Richard Collins

    International Journal of Communication 2 (2009), 61-86

    • Discusses ‘trust’ in sociological literature and links to discussions of social capital
    • Examines trust and the mainstream media/How trustworthy is the media?
    • Looks at the ways a dialogic, web 2.o media landscape can meet criteria of trustworthyness
    • Gives examples of such media in the UK

    Useful article, good links and bibliography. But doesn’t have the insiders bite of Nick Davies.

  • Clive 4:46 pm on January 12, 2009 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , public space   

    Prometheus Wired – Darin Barney 

    ‘a meditation upon the economic, ontological,
    and political conditions necessary for democratic self-government, the failure of the modern
    technological world to meet those conditions, and the likelihood that networks, as a technology,
    will perpetuate rather than alleviate that failure (268).’

    Barney’s explicit goal is to debunk those who have been preaching about the innately prodemocratic, nonhierarchical, chaotic infrastructure of the Internet. He contends that the new computer networks are producing greater alienation among workers and greater mastery over citizens.

    The result of this new information and communication technology has not been to free and  empower ordinary people but to tighten the screws and make their global economic and political rulers richer and less visible than ever before.

    Insofar as they bolster the already formidable control of capital over the means of power, computer networks are an essentially conservative, not revolutionary, technology—conservative, that is, of the prevailing liberal and capitalist order (p. 188).

    If citizens struggle to gain power in the capitalist or quasi-capitalist societies they are presently living in how are they likely to gain more with a network technology that further alienates and disaggregates them?

    The control mechanism at the hear of network technology is for Barney anathema to democracy.

    It’s a powerful treatise especially in its use of Heidegger and Marx to marshall arguments from other technological periods and political philosophy. The same holds true today according to Barney but simply to perfect capitalism in a friction-free way.

    The question to be asked of his thesis though is whether, in the light of this perfection of capitalism, democracy can renew itself and propose new forms that can harness the potential for a more positive view of communication technologies to enhance democratic processes. Despite all the activism/hacktivism and online experimentation however, the jury is still out.

  • Clive 5:04 pm on December 9, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: , , media, public space   

    The Media in Castro’s Cuba 

    Chapter 8: The Media in Cuba Juan Orlando Perez

    Good potted, selective history of Cuban journalism outlining the signficant events that lead to the status quo of journalism in Cuba today.

    • Autumn 1959 the coletillas in Diario de la Marina
    • ‘Operation Truth’ that invited 380 journalists to witness the trials of those responsible for crimes under Batista’s military rule
    • The definition of journalism by Castro on 27th June 1959
    • The flight of media owners to Miami
    • The nationalisation and monolopistic control of the media by the government
    • The establishment of the rules of engagement in Castro’s speech in 1961 during a debate between ICAIC and Revolucion (‘Inside Revolution, everything; against the Revolution, nothing’)
    • The disbandonmnet of Revolucion and the establishment of UNEAC in1961 reduced the spaces for dissent and restricted freedom of expression
    • The rise and fall of various publication over three decades at the politial whim of the government
    • The emergence of ‘threatened niches of relative plurality’ (121) such as ICAIC which provide a control valve, a second tier of public communication that can co-opt the threat of dissidence but which clearly remain in the control of the government
    • The modeling of the media system in a Soviet, authoritarian, hierarchical style where the media is seen as an instrument of ideology. The state press, in Granma and Juventud Rebelde, micro-managed by the Ideological Department of the Central Committee) and local papers, are normative – presenting a selection of the news most advantagous to the defence of the ‘Revolution’ i.e., of government policy and ideology.

    ‘The episode that most clearly shows the reluctance (or chronic poilitcal incapability) of the Cuban media to transcend the myths of the official propaganda and accept dissent, took place in May 2002, when former US president James Carter visited Havana. [He], during a speech at the University of Havana broadcast live on television, mentioned the Varela project, an11,000-signature petition to the National Assembly calling for free elections. The ex-president asked the Cuban authorities to publish the Varela Project and allow the public to discuss it. The next day, Granma and Juventud Rebelde, neither of which had previously mentioned the Varela Project, managed to report Carter’s speech omitting the request. The silence of the Cuban press became itself an international story and after two days Granma surrendered and published the entire speech.’ (128)

    • The Varela Project was never mentioned again. The National Assembly rejected the petition a few days after Carter left and proclaimed socialism irrevocable.
    • Crisis in the 1990s – Cuban print media reduced 58% of its total print copies
    • Exodus of journalists
    • 2003 ‘Black Spring’
    • ‘La Batalla de ideas’
    • la Mesa Redonda
    • Slow recovery of print media
    • The rising use of satellites and the internet

  • Clive 2:48 pm on December 5, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: , , , public space,   

    Radical Democracy and the Internet Ch 1 

    ‘ … a systematic and mutual interrogation of radical democracy and internet practice.’

    Chapter 1: Tracing Radical Democracy and the Internet Lincoln Dharlberg and Eugenia Siapera

    Pessimistic accounts of the role of the mass media see it as having been captured by powerful conservative interests, increasingly under the influence of neo-liberalism, and increasingly able to marginalise and neutralise oppositional voices. Optimistic accounts of the potential of the internet to give voice and garner alternative political communities have floundered in the colonisation of the online by a liberal-consumer-driven model of politics. The offline hegemony has been transferred online.

    E-politics is dominated by a model promoting increased access to ever expanding amounts of information allowing individuals to make strategic choices on political options and express those options on different online platforms. Consumer content = political content.

    Old media corporate news sites extend the offerings of individualised information services, attempting to capture the attention of users for their patrons, the advertisers. (5)

    See Yahoo, AOL, MSN

    The internet is used by governments to replicate their offline services and this is true of local and national government services. So the liberal-consumer model of politics is hegemonic and the internet has done little to change that or offer an online alternative.

    But, ‘radical democrats’ still think their is a possiblity that it might do so.

    Radical democracy

    the type of democracy that signals and ongoing concern with conceptualising and realising equality and liberty’ (7).

    Three conceptions dominate debates on radical democracy:

    1. deliberative perspective (Habermas) – political problems can be resolved through the force of the better argument. Political community is based on communicative reason
    2. agonistic perspectives (Chantal Mouffe) – communities are naturally antagonistic – dissent and division are their lifeblood. Power is the exercise of hegemony – ‘the temporary fixing of meaning of social relations’ (9)

      the political project of agonistic democracy is, in these terms, to create a hegemony, an alliance between different struggles that are constructed as equivalent, which can then extend the meaning of equality and liberty to a wider range of social relations (9).

    3. autonomist perspective ((Hardt and Negri) – community is conceive of a pure power (potenza). Potere is the dominating or repressive potenza. Community = multitude. Liberty comes from giving to the multitude its autonomy: equality from the mutually inclusive nature of the multitude.

    Four themes are used to integrate the chapters in the book:

    1. Ways in which the internet encourages the development of radical democratic theory
    2. How the internet operates as a) a conduit of communication b) creator of alternative political communities/radical democratic cultures which can challenge dominant political assumptions
    3. How the internet strengthens the voices of marginalised, alternative, oppressed groups
    4. The role of social, cultural and economic factors in effecting and affecting the constitution and manifestation of radical democracy on the internet.
  • Clive 10:40 pm on April 28, 2008 Permalink
    Tags: , , , public space   

    John Michael Roberts (2008): Public spaces of dissent 

    Blackwell Synergy – Sociology Compass, Volume 2 Issue 2 Page 654-674, March 2008 (Full Text)

    This article looks at some recent developments in the relationship between public space and dissent. The article does this by firstly distinguishing between dissent and resistance. Dissent is based broadly around disagreements between individuals in particular groups and contexts against a perceived grievance of some sort. As a result dissent can arise in a variety of contexts, especially within everyday life, popular culture, and with small acts of defiance against frustrations one experiences. These acts can also assume more overtly political modes in the form of resistance as when people demonstrate in the streets. The distinction is therefore useful because it helps us understand how the state and other governance mechanisms adopt policies and strategies to pre-empt dissent and thereby prevent dissent from spilling over into resistance located in particular places. The article will examine how the state and governance have changed the way in which they pre-empt the formation of spaces of dissent in order to effectively regulate them in the pre- and post-9/11 climate. Taking
    examples from the USA and the UK, the paper explores these points through global social movements, law and dissent, planning and designing dissent, and the surveillance of dissent.

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