Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Technology and In/equality: Questioning the Information society

Edited by Sally Wyatt, Flis Henwood, Nod Miller and Peter Senker

This collection of articles seeks to explore the diverse implications of information communication technologies through studies in three main areas: media, education and training, and work. Within these areas they seek to explore questions of access and control over resources such as information, knowledge, skills, and income.

The editors noted in the introduction their desire to open up the literature on technology and inequality by providing studies that disprove notions of ‘technological determinism’ and suggest incorporating the impact many social and cultural aspects that create, shape and determine how technologies are adopted and used in society.

The first part: ‘Promises and Threats: access and control in media technologies contains four chapters that question assumptions of access, control and ownership, claims made about optimistic predictions about newer technologies such as the Internet and its effect on participatory democracy and a means to distribute information and ideas, and the histories of previous technologies introduced to the public with similar rhetoric.

The second part: Exclusion: inclusion and segregation: new technology and skill in education includes two chapters of case studies preformed by the authors: one focusing on gender and technology, and one that examines the nature and effects of distance learning. The third part: Technology, inequality, and economic development contains three chapters that focus on economic and employment issues.

Published in 2000, this book is slightly outdated in some of its policy references, but overall it provides a solid basis of interdisciplinary and mulitfaceted case studies and approaches to technology and inequality.

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