Annotated Bibliography

Dahlberg, Lincoln. “Democracy via cyberspace.” new media & society 3.2 (2001): 157-177. Web. 29 Oct 2009.

This journal article was published almost eight years ago but I think it is important in studying the future of the internet, to really understand what the internet was proposed or thought to be at the beginning stages. Dahlberg outlines two positions on the internet, that of the individual user and a more “communitarian” view. In outlining these two points of view, he argues for a third position, deliberative democracy, and the ways in which this could be incorporated into the web. This article is interesting to my paper to compare the ways people envision deliberative democracy over the web, and how those visions have or have failed to turn into realties.

Frechette, Julie. “Cyber-Democracy or Cyber-Hegemony? Exploring the Political and Economic Structures of the Internet as an Alternative Source of Information.” Library Trends: “The Commercialized Web: Challenges for Libraries and Democracy” 53.4 (2005): 555-575. Web. 30 Oct 2009.

In this journal article, Frechette argues that many people are quick to criticize government regulation of the internet but largely overlook the ways in which corporations are beginning to regulate the internet through advertising. These practices, she argues, leads to a power play between businesses and users of the internet where users are “tricked” into giving their consent to seeing ads. This article is important to my argument because in exploring trends of internet usage in developing countries, it is also important to analyze the introduction of ads into those communities and the effects that this advertising has on deterring users from taking advantage of the technology as a tool for democracy.

Lessig, Lawrence. Code Version 2.0. 2nd ed. New York: Basic Books, 2006. Print.

This book will be particularly helpful in my discussion of cyber-democracy and the ways in which the internet is regulated now, as well as discussions on the future of internet regulation. Lessig challenges the belief that many assume thinking that the internet cannot be regulated. Many of my sources and examples of youth that have utilized social networks to get around strict governments seem to show the ability of the internet to be autonomous from government rule. Lessig shows that the structure of the internet is based on code. Therefore, the ways in which internet can be a place of freedom depend on who is controlling the code. He argues that with the surge of consumerism on the web, the internet is becoming more tightly controlled. However, this isn’t necessarily inevitable – who controls “code” is not set in stone.

Passy, Florence, and Marco Giugni. “Social Networks and Individual Perceptions: Explaining Differential Participation in Social Movements.” Sociological Forum 16.1 (2001): 123-153. Web. 28 Oct 2009.

This journal article offers an important sociological perspective that seeks to understand the how and why behind participation and action within social networks advocating for change. The authors argue that participation in social networks rely on intensity of participation as well as how embedded the network is. The article shows the progression of participants from when they join a network, are socialized in the ideas of the network, and finally their decision to be actively involved. This article talks about social networks in general, separate from the internet. I am interested in using this sociological framework and applying it to the ways that social networks, via the internet, function. I will apply these theories to see if they match up with internet participation.

Shapiro, Samantha M. “Revolution, Facebook-style.” New York Times 25 Jan. 2009: Web. 7 Oct 2009.

This newspaper article talks about how the youth in Egypt is protesting and sharing their anger of Israel’s occupation of the Gaze strip – via Facebook. In Egypt, the government has rules since 1981 that the state is under a “permanent state-of-emergency” law. Therefore, many political organizations are banned as well as gathering in groups with more than five people. Shapiro shows that Facebook has been an important tool in giving the youth and dissenters of the government a voice that they were previously denied. She also gives a history to the April 6 protests and the ways that internet technologies influenced the participation. The article concludes with an important statement central to my thesis. Many protesters are able to meet online but can rarely move this participation to the streets – What does it mean if online “democracy” cannot translate outside of internet blogs and chatrooms?

“The road to e-democracy.” Economist 16 Feb. 2008: Web. 30 Oct 2009.

This article in The Economist talks about the general arguments and positions surrounding “e-democracy.” The article cites Web 2.0, with the introduction of almost free file sharing, as a hope to promote more democracy on the web. The article argues that technology has shown to intensify the democratic process, but not fundamentally change it. It also argues that e-democracy is more incorporated in places where the middle class was previously disengaged with politics. This also alludes to another facet of e-democracy, which is that it leaves out disenfranchised communities who are not connected to the web or have very limited access. This article is helpful to my paper in laying out general arguments but is only a starting point for me to dig deeper into these issues.

Tsagarousianou, Roza, Damian Tambini, and Cathy Bryan. Cyberdemocracy: Technology, cities and civic networks. New York: Routledge, 1998. Print.

This book will also aid in my discussion of cyber-democracy as well as the ways in which electronic technologies interact with forms of democracy. The book is a compilation of essays that explore case studies of technology and democracy in the United States and Europe, as well as debates around public participation in cyber technologies and the ways in which the public service uses or will use these technologies. I will use discussions of theory in this book to help me analyze my case studies of technology use in the developing world.

“Twitter revolution beats old-style media.” The Business Telegraph: Independent News and Media (Northern Ireland) 25 Jan. 2009: Web. 7 Oct 2009.

This news article from Ireland talks about how the newer social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, allow for cyber-democracy that was never present on the internet before; this is because it is hard for governments to censor the micro blogs of these social networking sites without affecting the country’s economy. Even though governments, such as Iran in this case, can shut down websites, they cannot control what people post in other countries, which allows them to serve as proxy-servers for protesters in Iran. We are such an interconnected world via the internet, that no country can isolate themselves anymore.

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