Journal Name: Information, Communication & Society,
Volume 1, Number 3, Autumn 1998
CAPITAL, KNOWLEDGE AND OWNERSHIP
The Information society and intellectual property
By Christopher May (University of the West of England, Bristol, UK)
The argument that the information society represents "something new" is predicated on the claim that its use of a new resource "knowledge/information" fundamentally differentiates it from previous systems of capitalism. However, the actual organization of the posited information society constructs a wide-spread recognition of the legitimacy of intellectual property. The article examines the two central claims for transformation made in the information society discourse: that information is a new resource, and that increasingly it is theoretical or symbolic knowledge that is valued. However, neither shift has produced a change in the relations of production, and much that is claimed as new in information society is actually the fragmentation of the social division of labour. Though there have been changes in the forms of production, the relations of production remain organized on the basis of property, though often now intellectual property. This reveals the discourse of information society as a justification for the intensification of capitalism, not an account of its transformation.
Plugging into the wired world: perspectives from Singapore
By Margaret Tan
Singapore's vision of a smart city or the 'intelligent island' is becoming a reality at the turn of the millennium. With the recent launch of Singapore ONE (One Network for Everyone), a nationwide broadband high-speed network, it will deliver interactive, multimedia applications and services to every home, school and office in Singapore. Today, the provision of the one-stop non-stop business and government services; on-line shopping, cyberbanking and stock trading; and the virtual college and library are some implementations of the island's IT initiatives. Singapore's readiness to brave the cyberworld is the result of its concerted efforts to embrace information technology and communications as important milestones to boost its economic structure since the early 1980s. Like any developments of physical infrastructures that have tremendous impact on the nation's ability to succeed, the nationwide information infrastructure was strategically planned and implemented to support the emerging electronic commerce and cybersociety.This paper provides an analysis of how Singapore builds its national information infrastructure, promotes the adoption of information technology, and establishes electronic commerce to create the digital economy to ride into the twenty-first century. Its success in building its high-value added information technology hub is due to considerable efforts of the policy-makers. However, Singapore's experiences may not be directly transferable to other countries. It is nevertheless interesting to understand the basic ingredients used to diffuse and infuse the island's sophisticated national IT strategies.
Sociotechnical reinvention: implementation dynamics and collaboration tools
By Tora K. Bikson & J.D. Eveland
Sociotechnical systems theory suggests several themes about implementation, including continuous mutual adaptation of tool and context, task emphasis, the priority of process, and changes in evaluative criteria over time. The effectiveness of these ideas is illustrated in the experience of the World Bank in its implementation of a group decision support system, GroupSystems.
On-line leisure: gender, and ICTs in the home
By Eileen Green & Alison Adam
Research into office automation originally acted as a catalyst for research into gender perspectives on information technology. Whilst a fuller picture of women's use of ICTs is emerging, there has been little research on women's leisure use of ICTs, particularly within a domestic setting. Added to the way in which the leisure studies discipline has discovered gender as a variable, this is somewhat surprising. In this paper we argue that current debates on 'virtual culture' would be enriched by analysing the gender dimensions of the use of ICTs for leisure. In addressing personal agency we see women as active agents rather than passive victims of existing structures. The paper addresses negotiations around leisure and the use of technology in the home and how this illuminates the construction of gender identities. The ways in which work and leisure seep into one another are examined through a consideration of electronic mail and the World Wide Web. Although we conclude that women's leisure access is played out within familiar constraints of time and space there are glimpses of a more promising future to be found.
Virtual sounding boards: how deliberative is on-line political discussion
By Anthony G. Wilhelm
Emerging forums in cyberspace, accessible using advanced teletechnologies, augur new public and political spaces. A content analysis was conducted of a random sample of postings to Usenet newsgroups, self-identified as political, to ascertain the extent to which they are being used for democratic deliberation. The results show that these gathering places are, in general, home to an array of overlapping, short-lived conversations, usually among like-minded individuals. Sustained deliberation is rare in these forums which means that, as currently designed and used, they may not be effective sounding boards for signalling and expounding issues and problems to be processed by government.
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