Critical Digital Studies: A Reader is about technology and society, from the potential of digital devices to shape the ways in which we understand the world and communicate with one another to the yet-unexplored implications of technological innovations — mobile media, cloud computing, social networking, 3D printing, drone technology — for both illuminating and, perhaps, sometimes constraining the human condition. Representing many of the world’s leading digital theorists, Critical Digital Studies: A Reader links the digital future to the question of digital knowledge. Here, digital knowledge — knowledge of surveillance culture, Big Data, cyber-warfare, new media theory, biophilosophy, the bodily politics of gender and sexuality and knowledge of street politics in the age of networked society — is placed in the service of a digital culture that is as triumphant as it is contested.
Human bones can serve as a historical record of their owners’ lifestyles, and now ancient human skeletons from Central Europe may reveal how humans shifted from rugged nomads to plow-pushers, researchers say. Leg bones of people living in the Danube River valley became weaker after 5,300 B.C., around the time when agriculture emerged in Europe, a new study suggests. The decline was most noticeable in men’s bones, but both sexes lost bone strength.
A qui appartiennent les cables sous marins et les fibres optiques qui constituent la matérialité du réseau internet ? Quels sont les enjeux économiques, techniques et juridiques qui y sont liés ? Internet est devenu indispensable et vital au même titre que l’eau et l’électricité. Son accès est nécessaire pour l’exercice d’activités et de droits fondamentaux. Ses modalités : des enjeux sociétaux majeurs. En triompher suppose une gestion impartiale et équitable des ressources critiques que sont les serveurs racines, les infrastructures, le système de noms de domaines et les protocoles Internet : autant de questions sensibles de la « gouvernance d’Internet ». Le mot est lâché : l’expression désigne « l’élaboration et l’application par les États, le secteur privé et la société civile, dans le cadre de leurs rôles respectifs, de principes, normes, règles, procédures de prise de décisions et programmes communs propres à modeler l’évolution et l’utilisation d’Internet ». L’importance économique et sociale du réseau des réseaux nous oblige à appréhender cette notion et ses enjeux.
New technology has yet to make the commute to work superfluous, but it has allowed jobs to encroach on our leisure time. Despite the blessings, information and communications technology (ICT) has led to expectations that we stay available for tasks after working hours. The barrier between working hours and leisure time has been severely ruptured. Not that we don’t work from home – we work more now during off-hours, without any pay. Swedish researchers have glimpsed part of the reason. In a study they have found that the shackles that tie us to the office are strong social norms. “The main reason lies in the formidable social norms which stress the importance of being on the premises,” says Kristina Trygg, a researcher in cultural geography at Stockholm University.
The issue of privacy and the surveillance of digital communications have been a key topic of concern across Europe, particularly in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s disclosures on the surveillance activities conducted by the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA). In an interview with EUROPP’s editor Stuart Brown, Ulrich Beck discusses his view of digital risk, and the dangers posed by the development of a global digital ‘empire’ in which it becomes possible to monitor the lives of individuals beyond traditional social and territorial units.
Proponents of online learning claim that it can transform education by promoting student-centered communication, collaboration, and inquiry. Yet these claims must be weighed against the actual implementation of online learning, which is influenced by a broad range of sociocultural factors. This study investigates sociocultural factors that helped shape a computer-based English as a Second Language (ESL) writing course in a conservative Christian college, factors that included a complex relationship between teacher, researcher, and students. The study suggests that results are unlikely without the teacher and students having some degree of critical awareness of the sociocultural influences on the classroom. Rather, it seems probable that online technologies will frequently be implemented in a restrictive, teacher-centered fashion, and that ethnic and language minority students may be the least likely to use computer networking in ways that enhance critical thinking and collaborative problem solving.
The Internet and associated technologies have been around for almost twenty years. Networked access and computer ownership are now the norm. There is a plethora of technologies that can be used to support learning, offering different ways in which learners can communicate with each other and their tutors, and providing them with access to interactive, multimedia content. However, these generic skills don’t necessarily translate seamlessly to an academic learning context. Appropriation of these technologies for academic purposes requires specific skills, which means that the way in which we design and support learning opportunities need to provide appropriate support to harness the potential of technologies. More than ever before learners need supportive ‘learning pathways’ to enable them to blend formal educational offerings, with free resources and services. This requires a rethinking of the design process, to enable teachers to take account of a blended learning context.
Today’s networks forglobal problem solving have four characteristics: they must be diverse, attack a global problem, use digital communications tools and be free of state control. These networks will include participants from at least two of the four pillars of society – government or international institutions; corporations and business interests; civic society; and individual citizens – who can now play an important role in solving global problems by forming coalitions. The challenge is to integrate resources and overcome the traditional ethnic, linguistic, geographical, political, and business-government-civic society division in a collaborative manner. The network should also be global, or at least multi-national, and include participants from more than one country. So far there are few networks that are global and operate on multiple levels, other than the internet itself. But there are a growing number of problems that are truly global.
Participatory Approaches to Science and Technology – Representing Diversity in Participatory Approaches
This policy brief critically examines recent thinking and practice on the issues of representation and public participation, especially in the area of science and technology. We use the term ‘deliberative panels’ to refer to a range of approaches and initiatives that involve ordinary citizens in deliberating complex and far-reaching policy issues. These participatory approaches – as summarised in the Glossary – also often involve scientific experts, academics and decision-makers. We also refer to them as ‘deliberative institutions’ signalling the way that these processes have become more formalised. Approaches such as consensus conferences and planning cells were initially specifically developed for participatory technology assessment although they now have wider application. Others, such as citizens’ juries began with more general applications, but have hadparticular use in the sphere of technology assessment. Modern scientific and technological developments provide society with great challenges: they offer important opportunities to address problems, but at the same time can introduce their own potential risks and uncertainties. The consequences of such developments may be invisible and require good science for their identification. At the same time science is fallible and developing and we may be ignorant about the long-term consequences of new developments. In addition choices about new technologies raise normative issues concerning the futures we envisage, what kinds of risks people are willing to take and what sorts of social world people want to live in. Hence, relying on expert knowledge and regulation alone to develop policy may be insufficient and inappropriate.