From the same journal

From the same journal

E-Topia as Cosmopolis or Citadel. On the Democratizing and De-democratizing Logics of the Internet, or, Towards a Critique of the New Technological Fetishism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

  • M. Hand
  • B. Sandywell

Department/unit(s)

Publication details

JournalTheory, Culture and Society
DatePublished - 2002
Issue number1-2
Volume19
Number of pages28
Pages (from-to)197-225
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We present a critical appraisal of the impact of the Internet (and related information technologies) upon processes of democratization and de-democratization in contemporary society. We review accounts of `the information revolution' as these have become polarized into mutually exclusive rhetorics of future cosmopolitan or citadellian e-topias. We question the Manichean assumptions common to both rhetorics: particularly the fetishism of information technology as an intrinsically democratizing or de-democratizing force on societies. In opposition to this new technological fetishism we focus upon (1) Internet historicity; (2) the human/machine nexus; (3) Internet policing and appropriation presenting a different story of the Net, emphasizing contingent, indeterminate and negotiable characteristics of sociotechnical systems, preparing for a more radical critique of existing theories of `global technological citizenship'. Refiguring `culture' as technopoiesis, we argue that an alternative approach to global civil society minimally presupposes a cultural sociology of the Internet: approaching information technologies as the product of specific sociocultural practices and as historical sites of ethico-political transformation and reflexive self-figuration.

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