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August 27, 2004

the Internet & civil society

Way back in 2001 ("Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive"), I wrote an article about the Internet and civil society. That piece has been reprinted in five versions, each updated and edited for a new occasion. The latest edition appeared just today: "The Internet and Civil Society," in Verna V. Gehring, ed., The Internet in Public Life (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004), pp. 79-98.

I argue that the Internet is potentially good for civil society, but we need to worry about five problems:

  • inequality (I've updated statistics on the digital divide)

  • thin social bonds

  • threats to public deliberation (mostly concerns about "cyber-balkanization")

  • rampant consumer choice, and

  • privacy violations
  • The rest of the book is a useful contribution to debates about the political and social impact of the Internet. It's ideal for college courses, since it's small and priced at $16. It is a product, by the way, of my main institutional home, the Institute for Philosophy & Public Policy, which among other activities is generating a series of inexpensive paperback anthologies on public issues.

    August 27, 2004 1:40 PM | category: Internet and public issues | Comments


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