Filed under book | Tags: · critique of technology, digital divide, information economy, neoliberalism, participation, technology
The idea that technology will pave the road to prosperity has been promoted through both boom and bust. Today we are told that universal broadband access, high-tech jobs, and cutting-edge science will pull us out of our current economic downturn and move us toward social and economic equality. In Digital Dead End, Virginia Eubanks argues that to believe this is to engage in a kind of magical thinking: a technological utopia will come about simply because we want it to. This vision of the miraculous power of high-tech development is driven by flawed assumptions about race, class, and gender. The realities of the information age are more complicated, particularly for poor and working-class women and families.
Describing her attempts to create technology training programs with a community of resourceful women living at her local YWCA, Eubanks shows that information technology can be both a tool of liberation and a means of oppression. High-tech jobs for women in the YWCA community are data entry positions that pay $7 an hour. At work, their supervisors monitor every keystroke. The state offers limited social service benefits in exchange for high-tech monitoring and surveillance of their lives, families, and communities.
Despite the inequities of the high-tech global economy, optimism and innovation flourished when Eubanks and the women in the YWCA community collaborated to make technology serve social justice. Eubanks describes a new approach to creating a broadly inclusive and empowering “technology for people,” popular technology, which entails shifting the focus from teaching technical skill to nurturing critical technological citizenship, building resources for learning, and fostering social movement.
Publisher MIT Press, 2011
ISBN 026201498X, 9780262014984
a lecture by the author (video)
PDF (updated on 2012-9-23)Comments (2)
Mark Bauerlein (ed.): The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking (2011)
Filed under book | Tags: · blogging, digital divide, facebook, internet, twitter, web 2.0
This definitive work on the perils and promise of the social- media revolution collects writings by today’s best thinkers and cultural commentators, with an all-new introduction by Bauerlein.
Twitter, Facebook, e-publishing, blogs, distance-learning and other social media raise some of the most divisive cultural questions of our time. Some see the technological breakthroughs we live with as hopeful and democratic new steps in education, information gathering, and human progress. But others are deeply concerned by the eroding of civility online, declining reading habits, withering attention spans, and the treacherous effects of 24/7 peer pressure on our young.
With The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein emerged as the foremost voice against the development of an overwhelming digital social culture. But The Digital Divide doesn’t take sides. Framing the discussion so that leading voices from across the spectrum, supporters and detractors alike, have the opportunity to weigh in on the profound issues raised by the new media-from questions of reading skills and attention span, to cyber-bullying and the digital playground- Bauerlein’s new book takes the debate to a higher ground.
The book includes essays by Steven Johnson, Nicholas Carr, Don Tapscott, Douglas Rushkoff, Maggie Jackson, Clay Shirky, Todd Gitlin, and many more. Though these pieces have been previously published, the organization of The Digital Divide gives them freshness and new relevancy, making them part of a single document readers can use to truly get a handle on online privacy, the perils of a plugged-in childhood, and other technology-related hot topics.
Rather than dividing the book into “pro” and “con” sections, the essays are arranged by subject-“The Brain, the Senses,” “Learning in and out of the Classroom,” “Social and Personal Life,” “The Millennials,” “The Fate of Culture,” and “The Human (and Political) Impact.” Bauerlein incorporates a short headnote and a capsule bio about each contributor, as well as relevant contextual information about the source of the selection.
Bauerlein also provides a new introduction that traces the development of the debate, from the initial Digital Age zeal, to a wave of skepticism, and to a third stage of reflection that wavers between criticism and endorsement.
Enthusiasms for the Digital Age has cooled with the passage of time and the piling up of real-life examples that prove the risks of an online-focused culture. However, there is still much debate, comprising thousands of commentaries and hundreds of books, about how these technologies are rewriting our futures. Now, with this timely and definitive volume, readers can finally cut through the clamor, read the the very best writings from each side of The Digital Divide, and make more informed decisions about the presence and place of technology in their lives.
Introduction by Mark Bauerlein
Publisher Penguin Group US, 2011
ISBN 1101547529, 9781101547526
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Filed under journal | Tags: · activism, civil society, community, community informatics, digital divide, e-government, gender, ict, information technology, internet, learning, technology, wireless networks
“Community Informatics (CI) is the study and the practice of enabling communities with Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs). CI seeks to work with communities towards the effective use of ICTs to improve their processes, achieve their objectives, overcome the “digital divides” that exist both within and between communities, and empower communities and citizens in the range of areas of ICT application including for health, cultural production, civic management, e-governance among others. CI is concerned with how ICT can be useful to the range of traditionally excluded populations and communities, and how it can support local economic development, social justice and political empowerment using the Internet. CI is a point of convergence concerning the use of ICTs for diverse stakeholders, including community activists, nonprofit groups, policymakers, users/citizens, and the range of academics working across (and integrating) disciplines as diverse as Information Studies, Management, Computer Science, Social Work, Planning and Development Studies. Emerging issues within the CI field include: community access to the internet, community information, online civic participation and community service delivery, community and local economic development, training networks, telework, social cohesion, learning, e-health and e-governance. The Journal of Community Informatics aims to bring together a global range of academics, CI practitioners and national and multi-lateral policy makers policy makers. Each issue of the Journal of Community Informatics contains a number of double blind peer-reviewed research articles as well as commentaries by leading CI practitioners and policy makers providing feedback on how the significance and application of research for practice and policy development.”
Editor in Chief: Michael Gurstein
Associate editors: Shaun Pather, Alvin Wee Yeo