Download e-book The Fragility of Modern Societies: Knowledge and Risk in the Information Age

Free download. Book file PDF easily for everyone and every device. You can download and read online The Fragility of Modern Societies: Knowledge and Risk in the Information Age file PDF Book only if you are registered here. And also you can download or read online all Book PDF file that related with The Fragility of Modern Societies: Knowledge and Risk in the Information Age book. Happy reading The Fragility of Modern Societies: Knowledge and Risk in the Information Age Bookeveryone. Download file Free Book PDF The Fragility of Modern Societies: Knowledge and Risk in the Information Age at Complete PDF Library. This Book have some digital formats such us :paperbook, ebook, kindle, epub, fb2 and another formats. Here is The CompletePDF Book Library. It's free to register here to get Book file PDF The Fragility of Modern Societies: Knowledge and Risk in the Information Age Pocket Guide.

Antidepressants, antiepileptics and topical analgesics have been effectively used as treatment [4]. Peripheral neuropathic pain in the lower extremities can be reduced by the application of a Liboderm patch [4]. There is minimal literature published on physical therapy treatment for FXTAS and best practices have yet to be fully researched and defined [7].

Usually, physical therapy is used to treat individualized symptoms and addresses the functional limitations while sustaining, or even improving, fitness levels [7]. Of significant importance is maintaining strength and preventing falls, due to increasing ataxia and parkinsonism traits [7]. FXTAS manifests itself differently in each person affected, meaning therapeutic intervention is mainly at the individual case level; however, there is evidence to support body-weight-supported treadmill training and exercise in general for reducing depression, anxiety and other behavioural issues [7].

Long term improvements from physical therapy, and more specifically, use of body-weight-supported treadmill training, have been observed in walking speed, cadence and stride length, as well as falls reduction [4]. The content on or accessible through Physiopedia is for informational purposes only. Physiopedia is not a substitute for professional advice or expert medical services from a qualified healthcare provider. Read more. Search Search. Toggle navigation p Physiopedia. Contents Editors Categories Share Cite.

Contents loading Jump to: navigation , search. Category : Neurological - Conditions. Our Partners. MRI: lesions of cerebral white matter 2b. MRI: general brain atrophy moderate to severe. Discussions invoking the term in the end frequently resort to the language of the theory of postindustrial society see Lyon, They probe more deeply, widely, and softly than traditional methods, transcending barriers — whether walls, distance, darkness, skin, or time — that historically protected personal information.

The boundaries that have defined and given integrity to social systems, groups, and the self are increasingly permeable. The power of governmental and private organizations to compel disclosure, whether based on law or circumstance, and to aggregate, analyse and distribute personal information is growing rapidly. In this context, the observations by Lazear and Rosen are relevant as well. In this context, Castells 17 emphasizes, for example, why he sees no persuasive reason to disagree with the reductionist definition of knowledge advanced by Daniel Bell Nothing justifies the granting of such a privilege to a particular technology, whatever its economic importance.

Recent critiques of a robust technological determinism paradigm may be found in Heilbroner, [] and Grint and Woolgar, The findings and interpretations of Inglehart's studies of a change in individual, intergenerational value priorities in response to economic developments in post-war societies have not gone uncontested. A discussion of the argument that some of the survey findings that support a pronounced shift from materialist to postmaterialist values in advanced industrial societies are a measurement artifact may be found in Clarke et al.

Inglehart and Abramson disagree with the conclusions of their critics. In addition to the enormous increase in the level of personal wealth in recent decades, any analysis of the decline of the relative importance of employment for the individual, and therefore of the emergence of a society much more affected by consumption, also has to consider the dramatic changes in life expectancy that have occurred during the same period and continue to occur today. The disposable lifetime hours worked were reduced from 50 to 20 percent.

On the material foundation of postmodernity and its neglect in discussions and theories of conditions of postmodernity, see Stehr, In an attempt to explain the ubiquitous but misleading sense of determinism common to technological narratives, Nye refers to features of such accounts taken-for-granted since the enlightenment.

See the critique of the superficiality of the thesis of the unity of civilization by Arnold Toynbee 36— One classical sociological theorist who examined the relation between ethical conduct and knowing and concluded that there definitely is a positive association is Max Weber. This is not imply that individuals do not possess knowledge. It is to suggest that knowledge cannot be reduced to individual acts see Gilbert, — The demystification of science by science has led to the call for a philosophy of research since research is all that science cannot be.

Research produces controversies and is permitted to do so; science is supposed to end disputes. Science distances itself from society; research becomes involved see Latour, In that sense, and therefore not in the sense in which power is usually deployed in discussions about power in social relations, namely as power exercised to accomplish something or as power over someone, the basic definition of power as ability resonates with the notion of knowledge as capacity cf.

Dyrberg, 88— This exclusivity, however, is required by jurisprudence as the definition of property or of the institution of ownership. Formal law, as is well known, recognizes owners and proprietors; in particular, it recognizes individuals who ought to possess, but do not possess. In the eyes of the legal system, property is indivisible. Likewise, the sociological significance of knowledge lies primarily in the actual ability to dispose of knowledge as capacity for action.

Based on the fundamental idea that knowledge constitutes a capacity for action, one can, of course, develop distinctive categories or forms of knowledge depending on the enabling function knowledge may be seen to fulfill. Luhmann's [] 67 observations about the conditions for the possibility of decision-making perhaps allow for an even broader use of knowledge. Assuming or depending on whether one assumes that the future is most uncertain, the deployment of knowledge in decisions to be made may extend to many more social contexts, even those that are otherwise characterized by nothing but routine attributes and habitual conduct.

However, this cannot mean that any and every aspect of the social reality of an organization is continuously available or accessible to every member for negotiation. Finally, Howitt appears to conflate, at least at the conceptual level, knowledge with action. Knowledge so defined is a condition for social action. Giddens appeals principally to this universalistic aspect and not to the questions taken up in this study: how and why knowledge increases; how knowledge is distributed in modern societies; how the knowledge-based professions mediate knowledge; how knowledge gives rise to authority, solidarity or economic growth; or what influence knowledge has on the social power structures.

Giddens' interest centers on the community of knowledge among actors against the backdrop of the unintended consequences of their action Giddens, 28 ; my interest focuses on the knowledge that, even if only temporarily, is not to hand and must again and again be obtained by the actor. Giddens presents an ontological thesis; I am basically concerned with the fact that an actor does not content himself with knowing, but rather wants to know more than his fellow-actor, and thus with the problem that knowledge in social contexts is a stratifying phenomenon of social action.

My assertion, in contrast, is that it is meaningful to distinguish between the stock of knowledge at hand and marginal additions to knowledge. The process of the fabrication, implementation and return of each is not identical. It is worthwhile here to cite Swidler's definition of culture in full:. Third, it sees culture's causal significance not in defining ends of action, but in providing cultural components that are used to construct strategies of action.

For Crozier, the societal debasement of knowledge from the humanities produces a general sense of alienation among its carriers, namely intellectuals, and a general drift toward protest and even revolutionary posture. Contrary to some claims made on behalf of the modern university in the s as the most important institution in modern society, the university rarely functions as a catalyst in the transformation of knowledge as a capacity to act into knowledge as a lever of power see Snyder, Peter Drucker observes, however, that initial economic advantages gained by the application of new knowledge become permanent and irreversible.

What this implies, according to Drucker, is that imperfect competition becomes a constitutive element of the economy. Knowledge can be disseminated or sold without leaving the context from which it is disseminated or sold. The edge that remains is perhaps best described as an advantage based on cumulative learning.

Fragile X Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome

It is of course possible, and by no means unusual, to formulate general assertions about the changing reputation and power of experts see also my excursus about Max Weber's notion of legitimate domination based on knowledge in this study — to the extent to which the public extends a taken-for-granted measure of trust and therefore is willing to suspend doubt in the judgments of experts. However, the evolving response of the public and of different segments of the public is quite a complex matter.

Response patterns to expert knowledge do not only depend on the issue at hand, but are also conditional on a host of psychological, political and ideological considerations, including volumes of knowledge at hand among those who are forced to define their roles as that of laypersons. The often-expressed optimism or, for that matter, fear regarding the efficacy of experts as political advisors is countered and affected by phases of distinct skepticism and disillusionment regarding their role in politics and government in modern society cf.

Jasanoff, 9— Also, the power exercised by experts, in light of the growing phenomenon of counter-experts as well as the fundamental contestability of scientific knowledge claims, is by no [Page ] means merely extensive and influential, as important theories of modern society assert, but in actual fact quite fragile and limited. Recent studies of innovation processes have shown how important the close coupling of social networks is for the transfer of knowledge, as well as for the ultimate success of innovations in economic contexts; the studies indicate that the traffic of people within and among firms, for example, is crucial to the transfer process of knowledge e.

I doubt that such highly ambivalent notions move us much beyond treating information and knowledge as black boxes, or the dilemma of conflating information and knowledge. A perhaps somewhat underdeveloped critique of Bell's definition of the term information may be found in a recent publication by Schiller — In any event, Schiller emphasizes the positivistic usage of the concept of information by Bell. The positivistic usage implies, first and foremost, that Bell decided to eliminate any reference to social or cultural contexts within which information is generated or deployed. Needless to say, such a conception of knowledge makes it a most complex phenomenon.

In a study of the diffusion of business computer technology, Attewell 6 emphasizes that. Individual learning involves the distillation of an individual's experiences regarding a technology into understandings that may be viewed as personal skills and knowledge. Organizational learning is built out of this individual learning of members of an organization, but it is distinctive.

The organization learns only insofar as individual insights and skills become embodied in organizational routines, practices, and beliefs that outlast the presence of the originating individual. The acquisition, the nature of the embeddedness in specific contexts e. For the time being, these types of information that emerge in different historical periods continue to co-exist in modern society. However, Borgmann 2 is skeptical that the co-existence will last:. Today the three kinds of information are layered over one another in one place, grind against each other in a second place, and are heaved and folded up in a third.

But clearly technological information is the most prominent layer of the contemporary cultural landscape, and increasingly it is more of a flood than a layer, a deluge that threatens to erode, suspend, and dissolve its predecessors. Many classic social scientists and their writings serve as powerful illustrations of this. Among the developments that he anticipates is that. A necessary concomitant is the waning authority of the associated system of morals, now having an alleged supernatural sanction; and before there is accepted in its place a scientifically-based ethics, there may result a disastrous relaxation of restraints.

In other words, although the rationalization of irrational belief systems will undoubtedly lead to social upheavals, progress is inevitable. My reference to the special conditions of the production of scientific findings, it should be noted, does not contradict the thesis put forward by scientific research that science — in contrast to the still widespread conviction shared by both science and the public — is not a special form of social practice, but rather is in many ways indistinguishable from other forms of social action.

There are cultural and structural differences between social systems; the question is, to what extent do these differences affect and determine the usability of scientific findings. However, Elias is convinced that this state of affairs can be corrected in principle as adequate knowledge is diffused more widely throughout society. An early critique of treating persons as human capital, based not on moral or ethical considerations but on the logic of economic discourse, may be found in Shaffer In an investigation of the unequal scholastic achievement of children from different ethnic groups in the USA, Farkas uses both human capital theory and cultural capital theory as keys to explain the widely disparate rates of success of various ethnic groups in schools.

Farkas 10—12 suggests that a synthesis of both views can be created that is better suited to account for the differential acquisition of skills in schools and offers a more adequate perspective of the complex sum of all factors involved both within and outside of the school system. A discussion of the role of what Bourdieu 58 calls capital of physical force — resonating with different theories of state as elaborated in the context of distinct theoretical paradigms Marx, Weber, Elias in which the monopoly of force or violence by the state is privileged as a crucial attribute of the state — is not required in this context.

Simmel [] notes that. The same is true for other freedoms accorded by liberal doctrines which, though they certainly do not hamper the individual from gaining goods of any kind, do however disregard the fact that only those already privileged in some way or another have the possibility of acquiring them.

For just as the substance of education — in spite of, or because of its general availability — can ultimately be acquired only through individual activity, so it gives rise to the most intangible and thus the most unassailable aristocracy, to a distinction between high and low which can be abolished neither as can socio-economic differences by a decree or a revolution, nor by the good will of those concerned…. There is no advantage that appears to those in inferior positions to be so despised, and therefore of which they feel so deprived and helpless, as the advantage of education.

In Bourdieu's defense, one has to recognize that the actual acquisition, however much the quantity of capital acquired may depend, for example, on the stock of capital already accumulated in the family of an individual, is — as Simmel [] already observed — ultimately an individual activity. Sympathetic critics of Bourdieu's capital theory have pointed to other attributes of his approach as problematic; for example, reference is made to the holistic presupposition as a general theoretical assumption.

Bourdieu tends to postulate cultural capital as a generalized medium of accumulation and distinction ill suited for the analysis of a society with multiple cleavages and divisions see Lamont and Lareau, ; Hall, Ragone discusses the conflicting perspectives on the dissemination of fashion as either an elite-driven or mass phenomenon. As a matter of fact, an extensive enumeration of various troubling consequences of innovation has accompanied social and intellectual change early and repeatedly. Plato and Socrates were rather concerned about the ill effects of the invention of written communication.

Among the objectionable effects of writing is, in other words, the loss of a bundle of competencies either as the result of inabilities effectively to cope, to criticize and to control along with the growth in the volume of information in society or, in the face of rapid societal change, due to a decline in competencies that disappear with the loss of contexts within which such abilities can be effectively practiced.

These and similar criticisms of the growth of cognitive practices continue to be voiced with great conviction to this day. In modern society, it is argued, relevant contexts that allow for the exercise of acquired skills are more and more rapidly abolished as the speed with which new contexts that then become dominant are generated. The obsolescence of software skills would be a prime case in point see Hubig, What is left to itself is only what is left over, what is no longer needed. Donald Levine — has tried to advance forcefully a number of persuasive reasons why Weber's pessimistic utterances about the restricting effects of rationalization of modern life just cited need to be tempered by other considerations which may indicate that his pessimism is not quite as dark as it may seem.

Whether a more differentiated, ambiguous interpretation is justified or not is not directly at issue here. The persuasiveness of Weber's inflexible views as far as subsequent generations of observers of modern society are concerned is more relevant in this context. Compare, however, Giddens' critique of Foucault, which in this instance might be applied to his own reasoning. The determination of problems follows from what has already been discovered and from the logic of the experiment that the control of outcomes already is part of experimental knowledge.

The decision to apply a discovery is unnecessary; it is taken on behalf of the scientist by the object he studies. The process of knowing is an inherently technical process. The relation between science, technical application and industrial exploitation constitutes an automated and ethically indifferent superstructure. A radical departure can only be imagined if it commences at the extremes of the process, that is, at the starting point the desire to know or at the completion of the process the desire to consume. In each case, asceticism, if it is present at all, would signal a new epoch.

Compare the debate set off by Winner — as to whether technical artifacts contain political preferences Joerges, ; Woolgar and Cooper, Attewell has studied the role of computer technology in surveillance activities in the office of a large medical insurance company; he did not find that computers per se create sweatshop conditions in the workplace. Not only did management have tools of surveillance in the past that allowed them to tell who was, in their opinion, a good worker, but the volume of information needed for many management purposes actually is limited.

Aside from the resistance massive surveillance creates, the nature of the treatment of clerical workers is much more dependent on the organizational context and environment of the firm, including the balance of the demand and supply of workers. Global warming is but one, although an important, recent example of the discovery of problems by science for politics. Global warming was never, prior to its discovery by science, an issue in everyday life. Whether there is a contradiction in Weber's work in his interests in terms of knowledge — on the one hand they are directed toward an analysis of the realization of individual freedoms and the institutionalization of pluralistic domination in advanced Western societies, and on the other they emphasize and under certain circumstances evaluate positively the process of increasing rationalization or even technologization of contexts for action, and thus the passivity of the individual in modern societies — is not under discussion here but see Alexander, Weber surely had difficulties imagining social organizations that are created and dominated not top to bottom, but from the bottom up, as is perhaps the case for the Internet.

However, we will have to wait and see whether regulation, and therefore the alleged inevitability of bureaucratic organizational architecture, also invades and permeates the Internet at some future point. Attempts to regulate access to contents will surely be made in different social and national contexts.

Whether they can be effective is another matter altogether. These developments naturally also pose difficulties along with their apparent benefits. One of the dilemmas created by such a state of affairs for the political system and its incumbents is that performance, or the ability to get things done, still counts prominently in the judgments of the voters. The inability to deliver basic reforms, for example, therefore contributes to an erosion of trust in the political system e.

Inglehart, a: — , and, perhaps, feelings of the futility of politics escalate. It is evident that accounts of the anticipated social and economic effects of modern information and communication technologies, just a few years later, for example by Castells , more often tend to stress the dislodging power of modern information and communication technologies.

My analysis at this point therefore follows a more functional, rather than normative, conception of democratic government. The normative perspective emphasizes rights and participation to ensure democratic rights. Competition does not take place for the sake of competition, but is seen as a mechanism that optimizes the allocation of scarce political competence and the legitimacy of political decisions see Eder, Although I emphasize outcomes or the lack thereof, I do not mean to advocate a purely instrumentalistic approach.

Outcomes, after all, are also a matter of interpretation, symbols and process. In addition, it is perhaps sufficient merely to enumerate some of the conditions that are seen to or still characterize modern governance that are also from time to time blamed for a discernible lack of success and for the ways in which government conducts its affairs: 1 the inefficient mode of producing governance, 2 the high debt load of many modern states, 3 the decrease in revenues.

In my view, one empirical manifestation of this process is the manifest and robust growth in the share of the votes gained by non-traditional political parties that did not even exist twenty years ago, at least in European elections. Whether the proportion of the national product is itself a valid indicator of the state's role in intervention and redistribution remains in considerable doubt.


  • Test bank for fundamentals of English grammar.
  • C2 Re-envisioned: The Future of the Enterprise.
  • An introduction to genetic algorithms.

This effort to set up a System of Social Accounts would move us toward measurement of the utilization of human resources in our society in four areas: 1 the measurement of social costs and net returns of innovations; 2 the measurement of social ills e. Instead of being the source of reliable trustworthy knowledge, science becomes a source of uncertainty.

After all, who would be capable of doing this under conditions of uncertainty? John Keane 6—11 examines the apparent contradiction in neo-conservative discourse regarding the role of the state. On the one hand, such discourse favors a systematic reduction in the functions of the state and its policies.

But, on the other hand, it is concerned about the loss of its political authority see also the excerpts of remarks made by Ralf Dahrendorf on the Governability Study reprinted in Crozier, Huntington and Watanuki, — A contemporaneous nonconforming account of the reasons underlying the state's reduced ability to execute its mandate effectively — and that does not refer, as most observers do, to the magnitude of societal demands and the impatience of its clients — is by Gianfranco Poggi , who notes the persistence of bureaucratic organizational patterns.

I will leave aside the question whether it is possible and sensible to attribute the decline of governability primarily to domestic issues. It is difficult, in this particular instance as well as in many other details of the thesis of the decline in governability, to disentangle — even with the benefit of hindsight — political, economic and cultural features that are historically highly context-specific from those that may be of a more lasting importance. The significant enlargement of the role of governments' programs and policies in democratic societies has also been accompanied by concerns of some classic liberals who fear that the expanded scope of governments' expenditures and activities could have a detrimental effect on human rights and individual civil liberties.

A substantial part of government spending in these countries goes to education, health and income maintenance. In any case, it is most difficult to extract the exact causal linkages between expenditures, good government and the protection of democratic practices. Few social scientists implicate the social sciences in these developments, especially in the genesis of the exaggerated expectation that the state is in principle capable of solving many of the problems social scientists have identified as in need of solutions.

One [Page ] observer who has indicted the social sciences is Friedrich Tenbruck , who points to the central role of the social sciences in conceptualizing problems as social problems and in offering solutions based on social science constructs. According to Tenbruck, the social sciences ought therefore to be credited with a long list of practical failures.

Tenbruck holds the social sciences at least indirectly responsible for a growing gap between performance and expectations. Crozier 25, 33—37 , in addition, blames the breakdown of traditional social control mechanisms and the moral authority of churches, schools and cultural organizations, and the mass media in reinforcing the disintegration and drift in Western societies also Crozier, The change in the foundations of the legitimacy granted to the modern state includes, as some critics have stressed with particular force, an uncoupling from transcendental conceptions see Hennis, 18— A so-called legitimation crisis , may result from a lack of consensus among citizens due to a loss of confidence in the state.

Crozier 16 differentiates between the rules and the actors affecting decision-making and implementation games. As we have emphasized in our discussion of knowledge as a capacity for action, it is indeed important to realize that political decisions are not identical with their actual realization and that the difficulties encountered in each context may differ significantly. The ability of the state to govern surely cannot be judged merely on its ability to reach decisions, but must also take into account the capacity to implement and realize these decisions.

After all, how useful are decisions, except perhaps for their symbolic value, if they remain unimplemented? More generally, the developments we have sketched have frequently been described as a rise in the complexity of the conditions of political action e. Skolnikoff, In the United States at least, there appears to be no link between declining political trust and declining voter turnout; however, declining trust affects voter choice.

The beneficiary differs depending on the context of the contest. One would need to conduct extensive empirical investigations, develop performance criteria and link these to expectations, etc. There can be little doubt, as the day-to-day conduct of political affairs indicates, that profound conflicts, cleavages and contradictions continue to exist in modern society. Such depoliticization might be especially pronounced in response to failed expectations that the state ought to be the primary agent for dealing with a growing range of recalcitrant problems.

A repositioning of the platform or the spectrum of political parties also takes place, depending on the legal basis that either enables or discourages the formation of new political organizations. More specifically, Inglehart enumerates issues that reflect some of the recent political discussions about environmental risks, disarmament and alternative energy sources as exemplary postmaterialist political issues. Another critical response to the Inglehart thesis has come from researchers who maintain that the rise of postmaterialistic values is driven by unemployment; more specifically, that high levels of unemployment encourage the emergence of such values.

Inglehart and Abramson have responded that the empirical data clearly indicate that unemployment is correlated with an increase in materialism. Another critique of the Inglehart thesis proposes that the observed value differences among younger and older age cohorts are simply life-cycle effects: for example, it might be argued that individuals become more materialistic as they age. Inglehart and Abramson respond that, although cohort data cannot definitely rule out the validity of this particular claim, generational replacement rather than life cycle are much more likely to account for the rise in postmaterialistic values.

Abramson and Inglehart 86 propose a more differentiated enumeration of characteristics and experiences that are linked to the level of formal education:. The relative importance of each of these factors and experiences varies, depending on the specific dependent variable. At the same time, the list actually underplays the role of the education system in helping to bring about a secular transformation in the general level of cognitive skills, growth of knowledge and overall increase in the level of education. Houtman, However, some of the same objections raised to Inglehart's somewhat one-dimensional approach can be mobilized in this instance as well.

A position that satisfactorily combines the mediating linkages between culture and economic conditions is required. In my brief discussion of social inequality and knowledge, I have enumerated some of the specific capacities of action gained by individuals and small groups as the result of their improved access to the social stock of knowledge.

At the level of culture and politics, a shift can be observed in some countries toward a more pronounced celebration of the local values and a reassertion of traditional values. This shift, perhaps, resonates with the more general societal developments we have described. However, such a diagnosis simultaneously perpetuates the myth of the efficacy of the power of the state in the past, and underestimates the importance of fundamental transformations in the structure of society as a precursor for important cultural shifts. One is reminded in this context of the cautionary observation by Anthony Smith 2 that it is difficult not to be fascinated and intimidated by the allegedly unobstructed social consequences of technological developments:.

The trouble is that technological and social history cannot be related in this way, since the extrapolated trends tend to shoot off the graph every time….

The human world is not more fragile now: it always has been | Aeon Essays

We would be greatly helped in the present epoch of speculation if we had available some improved metaphors for social change, … something that suggested less emphasis on technology and placed more pressure on social need as the starting point of technology. If a generation-specific change in values can be demonstrated, one might of course be prompted to argue that younger, rather than older, workers have an easier time adjusting to new value orientations.

Drucker first developed the supply-side account of the growth of knowledge-based labor in Two years earlier, he still advocated the more conventional account of the relation between education and the labor market in an essay about technology and society in the twentieth century. For illustrative purposes, one needs to be reminded that in the years between and , when the population of the United States increased twelvefold, college enrollments rose times see also Table 6.

The two samples on which their information is based are longitudinal studies of high school seniors. The samples include both women and men and are based on individuals who completed their formal education and who engaged in paid work for six years after graduation. In their last year of high school, the participants in the two samples took a mathematics test. The test assessed students' skill in following directions, working with fractions and decimals, and interpreting line graphs.

In other words, the test measured elementary mathematical concepts and not advanced mathematical knowledge. The average math scores for the high graduates are lower than for the cohort. As the authors of the study emphasize, the nature of the tested mathematics skills of high school seniors age 17—18 pertains to curriculum matters that are taught in American high schools no later than the eighth grade, or at about age For an analysis of the college-wage premium, see Katz and Murphy, ; Murphy and Welch, Daniel Bell 44 remarks that any new system generates hostility among those who feel left out or threatened by it.

Sprague and Ruud have examined the nature and the extent of organizational dissent in high-technology industry. See Richard Kilminster's exposition of some of the early intellectual forerunners of social-scientific thinking with a global reach dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth century, including Turgot, Condorcet, Herder, Hegel and Marx also Richter, — In the lectures offered in at Columbia University — and published in modified form in under the title Eclipse of Reason — obviously very much under the impression of the horrors imposed and the deadly powers exercised by Hitler, the war and Stalin, Horkheimer inquires into the logic of rationality, the resulting dehumanization in an age of industrial culture and the mutation from enlightenment to positivism.

Lazarsfeld and Merton [] , in taking up the themes of the mass society perspective, in the end offer a somewhat differentiated image of the power of the mass media. For a contemporary contrasting view, see Riesman [] — , who stresses the liberating and competence-enhancing role of the movies of the day, for example. Among social scientists in the postwar era the concepts of mass society and mass culture were indeed considered to constitute key terms in any analysis of modern society and culture.

Mass culture. These patterns have common meaning and value for all or most of the members of the society and serve as points of mutual identification and recognition for these members. The mass culture thus can be seen as a kind of common denominator, or as the over-all configuration, or as a kind of film hiding the diversity beneath. Such patterns may be of many different kinds and may involve different areas of experience — patriotism, advertising, the movies, economic exchange, and others. Bennett and Tumin, In the s, the Modern Language Association of America established a section for the study of mass culture.

The techniques employed by these specialists are historically rooted in commercial promotion, but beginning in the s, rationalized techniques of persuasion born of advertising, market research, and public relations were systematically applied to political communication…. The experts of the New Public have brought us brought us the often impugned methods of civic persuasion that now dominate public communication. The New Public is often as helpless and subject to manipulation as was the preceding generation of voters, consumers or listeners of the postwar era.

Neuman 5—7 has assembled a long list of the social effects of the new media found in the literature. Many of the apprehended effects are adverse consequences, in that they minimize the intellectual autonomy of the individual and his or her capacity to act independently.

Conservative intellectuals, for example, abhorred the very same Paris Commune that Marx hailed as a progressive development for all of humankind. The social science disciplines, in other words, at present often identify with David, not with Goliath. A widely used statistical measure, perhaps even a classical indicator of economic globalization, is the volume and growth of trade among nations. But other measures, such [Page ] as the amount of direct investments, the number and pattern of strategic alliances among large corporations, and especially the quantity and growth of the transnational financial transactions, are important attributes of economic integration across national boundaries as well.

However, as Table A. The universalistic aspirations of the political movements of socialism and liberalism during much of the twentieth century, and their affinity to the rationalization or modernization process, have their functional equivalent in the universalistic ambitions of such social movements as environmentalism and feminism.

I refer here to the pessimistic diagnosis of the prospect of culture as mass culture in Horkheimer and Adorno's Dialectic of Enlightenment [] Their diagnosis resonates with many current analyses of the media:. Under monopoly all mass culture is identical, and the lines of its artificial framework begin to show through. The people at the top are no longer so interested in concealing monopoly; as its violence becomes more open, so its power grows.

Movies and radio need no longer pretend to be art. The truth [that] they are just business is made into an ideology in order to justify the rubbish they deliberately produce. They call themselves industries; and when their director's incomes are published, any doubt about the social utility of the finished product is removed.

Moreover, dominance has its collollary, resistance. In knowledge societies, the latter is in principle as vital a process as is the former. Whether economic globalization or the nature of the relations of humans to their environment is the greater source of instability is a contentious matter; Dunn advances a clear vision in this regard when he observes. One of the exceptions to the otherwise virtually uncontested economic globalization thesis is Hirst and Thompson's , analysis of a steady development of internationalization. Hirst and Thompson counter the globalization arguments by pointing to the persistent strong national linkages of multinational corporations and the concentration of various economic exchange processes in but a few regions of the world.

Moreover, on the basis of a comparison of the relative trends in trade, migration and capital flows, the present globalized world is less integrated than was the case in the early decades of the twentieth century see Hirst and Thompson, 26—27; also Stehr, — Such skepticism, however, competes with alarming assertions on the left about the world war of capitalist globalization cf. Robinson, The sovereignty of even small nations in the case of citizenship, migration and immigration policies continues to be relatively strong Koopmans and Statham, The claim that knowledge can be forgotten or that it remains dormant, only to be rediscovered at a later time, is not unusual; but this fact apparently needs to be rediscovered periodically see Sorokin, ; Gouldner, ; Douglas, Even the extensive, and at times rather fragile, global networks of financial markets are not necessarily a recent historical phenomenon:.

Many of today's global markets are not a creation of our contemporaries but have existed in similar, if not identical forms long ago. The book in the s in the syndicated lending market strongly resembles he nineteenth-century cycles of lending, overlending, default, rescheduling, and fresh lending. Cable, According to an article in The Economist February 6—12, , p. In Japanese companies, foreign directors are as rare as British sumo wrestlers.

In the term was used times in book titles. It had multiplied 54 times since and almost tripled compared to Richard Worthington's data. In short, as we begin to live in One World, this new social reality supplies us with good reasons for overhauling our theoretical assumptions and frameworks. Archer, ; emphasis added. Purely economic processes are not always identified as the only or even the primary motor of the current global convergence or fragmentation of cultural practices. Greater monotony and homogeneity, in particular, is attributed to other processes as well; for example, cultural monism is expected to be the outcome of the revolution in mass communication, computer technology, global travel, and so on e.

Sartori, Another significant example of the priority of such concern, and of the consensus often found with respect to this issue in social science discourse, is the debate on relativism see Meja and Stehr, See also the well-argued critique of technological determinism as an essentialist perspective in Grint and Woolgar , as well as the collection of essays from a philosophy of technology perspective, Feenberg and Hanney Global society more and more becomes a unitary system and, at the same time, a system that produces and has to cope with enormous discrepancies.

Friedman primarily refers to the populations affected by the conquest of the Greeks and integrated into the Hellenistic Empire. Turner has captured the reflexive relationships of resisting and adapting, in this instance, both to the anthropologist as participant observer and the challenges represented by the encroachment of national Brazilian society on the contemporary reality of the social institutions and culture of the Kayapos communities in Brazil.

Turner — describes, for example, the use by one of the Kayapos communities of Brazilian technology in the form of videos to defend and preserve their culture.

Navigation menu

The readiness with which politicians, business people and journalists embrace the globalization thesis has more mundane reasons as well: globalization exculpates and explains the failure of many national political programs and justifies a redrawing of the social contract in the face of the need to compete globally. However, it is inaccurate to conclude that markets relatively free of government regulation, for example in the United States in the field of health care, are necessarily more competitive internationally see Block, — The notion of context-insensitive social processes also raise the issues of the importance of the groundedness of places in ecology and topography — in an age of ecological consciousness.

See Stewart Clegg's analysis of the embeddedness of enlarged economic action in the case of the production of French bread, Italian fashion and Asian business. The report deals the governance of both research and knowledge policies. The tension between the extent of knowledge production in advanced societies and the limited capability of the individual person to assimilate the huge amount of knowledge available was already described by Georg Simmel almost a hundred years ago in a theory of the current age in the final chapter of his Philosophy of Money [] The tragedy of culture manifests itself in the cleavage between objective culture made independent and the obstinacy of subjective culture.

The problem of the policing of knowledge is not related to the production of knowledge in total — even if it is related to overproduction, however that may be defined — but rather to the range of incremental knowledge, which is conceived as being capable of changing reality.

Dorothy Nelkin — has published an informative typological summary of the public controversies in which US science has found itself embroiled historically. Fuller advances a similar assertion, as far as I can see. It is better understood and presumed that the implementation of a specific knowledge claim can alter the social fabric of society and the anticipated transformation is no longer seen as mainly beneficial. The regulation or the stratification of access to knowledge is nonetheless a constitutive component of everyday life. The world of adults, for example, is differentiated from that of children.

These stratified worlds go hand in hand with the ability to impede or even to obstruct children's access to certain forms of knowledge. The quotidian forms of regulating access to knowledge are not under discussion here. This deficit in comprehension, however, should not be underestimated in the sciences themselves either, given the growing division of labor among the disciplines.

On the contrary, issues of ethics, accountability and conflict, as they relate to the genesis and execution of inquiry, will of course remain highly significant. At the same time, discussions about the conduct of inquiry will be affected by anticipated outcomes of research.

This concept takes its distance from the economic literature on regulating the practices of capital accumulation e. Jessop, because that approach tends to rely on an overdetermined image of the ultimate efficacy of regulation practices. The enlargement of the scientific community into an international or even global community is becoming a focus of reflection and research in science studies e. Schott, , The trust in science and technology as a problem-solver, a trust that had hitherto been a core element of modernity, has, however, been in general decline in the last two to three decades among the public of developed societies, a process that has been documented by Inglehart What reassures scientists the most when they face the power of the voice of science and their powerlessness to use the voice in the public arena is the idea of their autonomy.

Scientists are not, in the end, politicians, and they suffer political defeats better than the loss of face among their peers. As long as they can conduct research with which they can advance science [both science itself and their positions in it], they can feel potent. But the cost is that scientists cultivate an expertise that empowers someone else. Compare Table A. The quality and the practical relevance of science and technology indicators, however, is, as Bhalla and Fluitman discuss, limited. A more extensive description and analysis of both Schelksy's and Marcuse's critiques of the excessive power of modern science and technology in society may be found in Stehr, — The decisive outcome of these developments is that the workers are incapable of acquiring a critical view of the repressive social order.

Theodor W. Adorno's [] image of the extension of the rule of nature to a rule over man by man is similar. The genealogy of Schelsky's and Marcuse's fears about the impact of modern science and technology is of course much longer. I will refer to Max Weber but could list many more observers who have expressed concerns about the fateful consequences of science and technology in the age of modernity.

Marcuse's and Schelsky's diagnoses resonate closely with Max Weber's analysis of the modern age as a demystification of the world resulting from the growing rationalization of social relations through science and technology. Weber emphasizes the painful tension between rational, empirical knowledge and meaning systems found in the life-world.


  1. The Fragile Generation.
  2. Internet & Society!
  3. The Early H.G.Wells: A Study of the Scientific Romances!
  4. Account Options.
  5. Technology of reduced-additive foods?
  6. Schelsky and Marcuse therefore also make use, although for the most part implicitly, of a long-established radical as well as conservative romantic intellectual tradition that launched a highly critical and skeptical analysis of the impact of technology and science on culture and social relations. Miller and Krosnick's study of the impact of the news media on political judgments indicates that these images of the altogether easily manipulated modern [Page ] consumer of the media are in need of some correction. The work at hand understands itself not just as a social theory but also as a critical theory of Internet and society.

    The challenge of ideologies and accepted knowledge has always been one important aspect of the tradition of critical theory, although not the only one. One of the lines of thought that inform this book is the tradition of critical theory, as advanced by people like Herbert Marcuse, Theodor W. In summary, the main moments of critical theory that are also important for a critical theory of Internet and society are cf.

    Horkheimer ; Marcuse a :. It identifies moments and movements in society that negate dominant structures and open up possibilities for a Hegelian negation of the negation of existing structures. Critical theory is a deconstruction of ideologies. It starts from the judgment that human life is livable or can and should be made livable and that in a given society there are specific possibilities for improving human life and specific ways and means for realizing these possibilities.

    In summary, this means that the approach worked out in this book is critical in the sense that it focuses on social problems in the context of Internet and society, it identifies opportunities and risks, sees them related to the larger social structure of contemporary society, and understands them as antagonistic forces. Scott Lash has argued that critical theory in the information society must be immanent critique because there would be no outside space for transcendental critical reflection due to the immediacy of information the speed and ephemerality of information would leave almost no time for reflection , the spatiotemporal extension caused by informatization and globalization processes, the vanishing of boundaries between human and nonhuman and culture as well as between exchange value and use value.

    Information critique would have to be an immanent critique without transcendentals. Critique of information would be in information itself, and it would be modest and also affirmative. The arguments in the book at hand are different: I argue that the information society has potentials for cooperation that provide a foundation for the full realization of the immanent Essence of society—cooperation.


    • Gardening with Hardy Heathers.
    • ISBN 13: 9780761953494.
    • A New Significance: Re-Envisioning the History of the American West!
    • Product description!

    Cooperation is seen as the very Essence of society an argument that can be found in the writings of young Marx, Marcuse, and Macpherson , it is an immanent feature of society and the human being as such, but this potential is estranged in modern society. This immanence is in contemporary society transcendental because the existence of society is different from its Essence.

    The information society promises a new transcendental space—a cooperative society or participatory democracy — that is immanent in society as such but not existent in alienated societies and potentially advanced by information and information technology. Hence, for establishing an outside of and alternative to global informational capitalism, transcendental self-organizing political projects are needed that have alternative goals, practices, and structures of organization that, however, make use of existing structures such as communication technologies in order to transcend these very structures and create a new global space—a participatory democracy.

    The idea of this book is that information produces potentials that undermine competition but at the same time also produces new forms of domination and competition. The philosophical argument is based on the logic of Essence and on the dialectic of immanence and transcendence. The line of argument assumes a formal identity of immanence and transcendence with society as the system of reference cf. Fuchs and Zimmermann Transcendence is not something that is externally given to being but as immanent Essence and thus wirklichkeit of that being.

    A dialectical framework of critique is needed for understanding the interconnected opportunities and risks of global informational capitalism. Facing Paul A. One of my main points is that due to informatization the dialectics of thinkers like Hegel, Marx, and Marcuse gain a new topicality in transposed forms.

    Another framework of the work at hand is self-organization theory. The concept of self-organization grasps the dynamic, complex, evolving nature of systems in nature and society. The main motivation for taking up this notion is that contemporary society seems to be inherently complex, networked, and dynamic and that an explanation of its phenomena with this concept is manifest. In the social sciences, the main representative of self-organization theory is Niklas Luhmann. I am impressed with the fact that Luhmann was one of those scientists who have shown that social theory is important today, but overall I am very critical of his theory because of its conceptual elimination of human actors from society.

    The understanding of self-organization advanced here is one that is oriented on human practice and puts humans and human interests into the very center of theory and society. Hence, a critique of Luhmann and the elaboration of a human-centered notion of social self-organization in the context of Internet and society runs throughout the book.

    The approach advanced is rather Habermasian than it is Luhmannian. This means that Habermas understands his theory as a critique of the suppression of societal potentials and of ideologies that legitimize such developments. However, other than Habermas, I think that it makes sense to employ a general notion of systems that are produced by human practice. For Habermas, systems are social relationships coordinated by the media money and power.

    SearchWorks Catalog

    He sees the systems concept related to instrumental reason and opposes it with the critical idea of a lifeworld of communicative discourse that has been colonized by systems in capitalist society. In systems thinking, there are some approaches that have been influenced by Habermas and critical theory. They have provided an alternative to the instrumental framework advanced by Luhmann. These are approaches such as critical systems thinking, critical systems heuristics, social systems design, and soft systems methodology. They have tried to integrate critical thinking and systems thinking.

    They can be considered as an incorporation of Habermasian ideas into systems theory. The understanding of systems advanced in the book at hand is close to the overall framework of critical systems theories that have tried to give the systems concept a humane twist. The question how opportunities and risks emerge from the interrelation of Internet and society is reframed as an antagonism between cooperation and competition.

    The analysis of this antagonism in contemporary society runs as a thread throughout the book. Specific research questions that are treated are:. In chapter 2, the notion of self-organization is introduced and related to dialectical thinking. These ideas are used throughout the book as theoretical framework that has ethical implications.

    In chapter 3, a general model of society is introduced, and the role of cooperation and competition in modern society is clarified. This model serves as the background for analyzing the Internet and society in the subsequent chapters. In chapter 4, the notion of the Internet is discussed. It is described as a techno-social system.

    After the two main categories Internet, society have been clarified in chapters 1—4, the relationship of Internet and society is discussed in chapters 5—9. The arguments advance from the abstract to the concrete. In chapter 5, the question is discussed in which society we live and which key concept should be employed for analysis. The notions of transnational informational capitalism and transnational network capitalism are introduced. In chapters 6—9, it is subsequently shown how the antagonism between cooperation and competition shapes the relation of Internet and society in the ecological system information ecology, chap.

    Phenomena relating to virtualization, dematerialization, resource and energy intensity of ICTs, information monopolies, open source, Internet gift economy, digital divides, digital democracy, information warfare, electronic surveillance, cyberprotest, and virtual community are subsequently discussed.

    In chapter 10, the main arguments of the book are brought together and an outlook is given. There are certain phenomena of Internet and society such as eLearning, eHealth, digital art, Web art, online journalism, or cyberscience that can, due to limitations of space, not be analyzed in detail here but need to be addressed in separate publications in the future. They produced a YouTube video, in which they asked questions about the book to me. I responded with a video.

    The questions were: 1 Which institutional reforms are needed for getting marginalized voices more heard on web 2. Thank you for this book, which I have read with great interest and found a refreshing alternative to most of the studies on Internet that one finds nowadays! The title of that book is really interesting especially for me who work as social scientist and computer scientist.

    Hopefully that book also make open my mind and would give a lot of ideas what to do in my country.. This is a milestone in research in the field of ICT for development. Where we have development theories on one side vs ICT on the other side. Fuchs believes in all the good that comes from technology but at the same time, he is worried about what the future holds for this generation and the up coming. Technology will be the main influence and it may or may not be better than what we have now but it is something we are not able to control. As technology enhances, so will our methods of gathering and distributing information.

    Name required. Mail will not be published required. Christian Fuchs pimped by preuro. Christian Fuchs. Paperback version published in ISBN