Virtuality Check: Power Relations and Alternative Strategies in the Information Society (Hardback)Francois Fortier
Hardback Published: 21/06/2001
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"Technologies are neither the naive product of disinterested science nor the deterministic bearers of social processes. They are shaped by existing social relations ...relations of exploitation and oppression, but also of resistance and solidarity. Much sweeping away of fantasies, mystification and scarecrows is needed if we are to uncover the foudations, trends, stakes, battles and consequences of the so-called electronic frontier and its new economy." - from the introduction Information and communications technologies (ICTs) and the new economy they herald are generally either glorified as unprecedented opportunities for post-industrial enfranchisement, or vilified as a mirage conjured up for their own ends by those who run the world. This book sets out to review the relationship between information technologies and society. It examines the development of ICTs, and explores the ways in which they are used to subjugate workers, manipulate consumers, and extend media monopolies and commercial control. Fortier argues that, in their predominant forms, ICTs do little more than polarise economic and political power in an anti-democratic fashion. Yet alternative uses of ICTs already exist and have been promoted by progressive social sectors for nearly two decades. Concluding with a study of these initiatives, Fortier shows how they are aimed at facilitating rather than obstructing democracy.
Publisher: Verso Books