Thursday, March 04, 2004

Ben here with three weekly questions...

1: Seems like a good idea to analyze what specifically about the Internet is conducive to political action. There are scattered references in the readings to the breakdown of the traditional elite “gatekeeping” function (in the last essay resulting in the partial undermining of the Willmington Housing Authority), leading to a breakdown in the disparity of who knows what; and there is the reduction of barriers of communication between people; but is that the whole story? What else is there?

2: In the Big Sky Telegraph essay I was fascinated by the observation that, while we might assume these school networking developments are all for the good, it could actually be the case that “Big Sky Telegraph represent[s] the first step of local becoming techno-peasants hoeing the digital fields of the transnational corporations” – Until that point I would have guessed the author was eager to conclude that networked computers will remedy some status quo disparities, but then (like a good storyteller) he comes back with that. Well, what do we think? Will disparities be remedied? Will they actually get worse? Will nothing change?

3: How many stories could Slater point to that exemplify the successes of low-income grassroots organizations empowered by new technologies? Could we be led into complacency by isolated successes like Jervay, or is this phenomenon multiplying as the technologies get cheaper and spread?

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