Week 8: Digital activism questions By Seunghyun Lee
1. In the article “Cyber subversion in the Information Economy,” Jackie Smith emphasizes on the importance of the new information technologies (ITs) to the protest activists for the social movement challenge. She argues that ITs can be the powerful toolkits for political action and organization and that “ITs have created new avenues through which global activists can pursue two strategies of disruption and transparency”(p.48). However, Jackie points out that elites seek and expand to control the commercial potential of these technologies.
1) To what extent are information technologies (ITs) effective as a tool of political subversion? Or to what extent is the use of ITs effective or powerful to mobilize large demonstration? How are ITs expected to affect on the next American President election?
2) Do ITs increase or reinforce the democratic participation and involvement for the general public? Or do ITs increase bureaucratic power? Do ITs improve transparency and democratic decision making?
3) How do you think about that the Internet produces a culture of “lasses-faire organizing” as Naomi Klein sees in this article? 4) How do you think about the electronic guerrilla warfare or the creation of fake Web sites by protest activist to disrupt?
5) How can we reduce the digital divide between the global North and South as the use of electronic communications grows?
6) Does cyber subversion lead to equalize to the world’s poorest and third world activism?
7) Can ITs play an important role as a tool to form an international civil society?
8) Internet-based activism marginalizes the poorest of the world. vs. It privileges activists with greater access.
2. In the article “Cyberspace vs. Face to face: Community Organizing in the New Millennium,” the author, Stoecker argues about rebuilding face to face communities as the civic participation perspective and rebuilding civic community as community organizing perspective. However, don’t you think digital divide still exists in face to face communities by the limitations of speed, time, location, and scale? His concern is with community power. Does civic community really contribute to the distribution of power?
3. Stoecker argues that people can have direct discussions about policy questions and participate in public policy construction through the Internet as e-democracy. However, even though the Internet provides users with more opportunities to participate in public policy construction, who mostly participates in it? What about those who are not interested in it? Can the Internet really lead to actualize e-democracy? Can the Internet reduce digital divide as a tool of e-democracy?
4. What kind of role does cyberspace play for relationship between families, friends, or strangers?
Strong ties, weak ties, or no ties?
5. In the “Bridging Urban Digital Divides?” Graham argues two dominant trends – process of urbanization and rapid, but uneven application of digital information and communications technologies (ICTs). However, the dominant trends in the reality are to support process and practices of intensifying urban polarization. In addition, Graham highlights that ICTs tend to be culturally and economically biased. He points out that US culture in particular is dominated through the growth of electronic connections.
Do you think that dominant applications of ICTs are heavily biased in a cultural sense as Graham points out? It might be because of the language—English and high rate of American Internet users, but what are other evidence for bias? Do you think that the Internet media are biased as the same as TV media are biased?