Imagining the Internet: Communication, Innovation, and Governance
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This book is an impressive survey of our collective and cumulative understanding of the evolution of digital communication systems and the Internet. While the information societies of the twenty-first century will develop ever more sophisticated technologies, the Internet is now a familiar and pervasive part of the world in which we live, work, and communicate. As such it is important to take stock of some fundamental questions--whether, for example, it contributes to progress, social cohesion, democracy, and growth--and at the same time to review the rich and varied theories and perspectives developed by thinkers in a range of disciplines over the last fifty years or more.
In this remarkably comprehensive but concise and useful book, Robin Mansell summarizes key debates, and reviews the contributions of major thinkers in communication systems, economics, politics, sociology, psychology, and systems theory--from Norbert Wiener to Brian Arthur and Manuel Castells, and from Gregory Bateson to William Davidow and Sherry Turkle. This is an interdisciplinary and critical analysis of the way we experience the Internet in front of the screen, and of the developments behind the screen, all of which have implications for privacy ,security, intellectual property rights, and the overall governance of the Internet.
The author presents fairly the ideas of the celebrants and the sceptics, and reminds us of the continuing need for careful, critical, and informed analysis of the paradoxes and challenges of the Internet, offering her own views on how we might move to greater empowerment, and suggesting policy measures and governance approaches that go beyond those commonly debated.
This concise book will be essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the challenges the Internet presents in the twenty-first century, and the debates and research that can inform that understanding.
Robin Mansell 2012 The moral rights of the author have been asserted First published 2012 Impression: 1 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by licence or under terms agreed with the appropriate reprographics rights organization. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the
modern computer and early conceptions of the relationship between mind and representations of the external world. Figure 3.1 is suggestive of how the features of later information processing devices are preﬁgured by the features of earlier devices.33 Figure 3.2 highlights the association between ‘intelligence’ and information processing and the early idea that media representations of SOCIAL IMAGINARIES OF THE INFORMATION SOCIETY 39 Figure 3.1. Otlet’s ‘Web’ reality might be automatically
systems and the issues of control, stability, and instability in systems, but most thought it beyond their remit to make judgements on what might be done about the social or human consequences of these systems. Stafford Beer writes that ‘the advance of automation within a country is at once a determinant of economic progress and a threat to the stability of society’,16 but does not call for any action. Norbert Weiner could foresee no theoretical insight from cybernetics for the social challenges
social imaginary of ‘free’ information, and the interests of online community participants in the cultural and social value of information. This conﬂict is at the heart of the paradox of information scarcity because the aims of music publishers and other creative industry companies are consistent with the imaginary of the Internet as a marketplace, underpinned by the private ownership of intellectual property. CONSTRUCTING INFORMATION OWNERSHIP RIGHTS In the framework of intellectual property
information commons. 124 IMAGINING THE INTERNET In most cases, supporters of a remix culture advocate a more expansive view of ‘fair use’ or ‘fair dealing’ provisions under the existing law, and argue for the possibility of reconciliation around the principles of ex post compensation. An example would be remixes becoming subject to a royalty if and when they generate revenue. The problem with this solution is that it directly contests the derivative use features of existing copyright law, and