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Empowerment and/or disempowerment: the politics of digital media

Mansell, Robin ORCID: 0000-0003-3950-3468 (2014) Empowerment and/or disempowerment: the politics of digital media. Popular Communication, 12 (4). pp. 223-236. ISSN 1540-5702

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Identification Number: 10.1080/15405702.2014.960571


This article examines prevailing institutional norms that are visible in international policy discourse concerning the goals of investing in digital technologies. An analysis of policy discourse associated with the World Summit on the Information Society shows how, despite the use of terms such as “open” and “participatory,” the practice of information and communication technology project implementation displays evidence of failures to empower local people. The discussion is framed by the lessons about asymmetrical institutionalized power from theories concerned with the dynamics of techno-economic change contrasted with the prevailing market-led technology diffusion perspective. The context for the article is the experience of contributing to a high-level policy report for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s 2013 review of progress toward knowledge societies. Examples drawn from digital technology applications are used to illustrate the asymmetrical power relations embedded in these developments.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2014 15:19
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:50

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