Politics, society and identity - Politics and society - New technology and the 'information society

4 important questions on Politics, society and identity - Politics and society - New technology and the 'information society

What feature is commonly associated with postindustrialism?

Increased importance that is placed on knowledge and information (intellectual capital - ideas).

Consequence of the third modern information revolution --> arrival of digital media. Has concerned the technologies of connectivity.

Information age has replaced the industrial age.
Society --> information society.
Economy --> knowledge economy.

How has the emergence of digital media helped the process of globalization?

(Industrial age created new mechanisms for communicating at a national, rather than a local, level - newspapers, radio etc).

Technologies of the information age are transnational: operate regardless of their borders. This has also facilitated the growth of transborder groups, bodies and institutions.

States struggle to constrain these groups because of their transborder structures. Also because these groups have reduced the capacity to control what their citizens see, hear and know.

How has the nature of connection between people changed?

Manuel Castell's 'network society:
The dominant mode of social organization in industrial societies had been hierarchies, but more complex and pluralized information societies operate either on the basis of markets, or on the basis of looser and more diffuse networks.

According to Castells, businesses increasingly function as 'network corporations'.
Similarly in social and political life. Hierarchical bodies such as trade unions and pressure groups have increasingly lost influence through the emergence of network-based social movements (anti-globalization and environmental movement).
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What are the implications of giving independent citizens access to specialized knowledge (allowing them to escape from dependence on technocratic elites)?

- Source of citizen empowerment and (potentially) a constraint on government power.

- Critique:
> internet does not discriminate between good and bad ideas (also political extremism, pornography etc).
> Danger of growth of 'cult of information' whereby surfing the internet impairs people's ability to think and learn, impairing the ability of people to distinguish between information, on the one hand, and knowledge, experience and wisdom on the other. + ruining the ability to concentrate.

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