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The Political Implications of Information Technology Challenge To Power?

  • William H. Dutton

Abstract

Have new communication and information technologies affected who controls the content and flow of information? If so, does their development and use challenge existing structures of power? Most responses to these questions are anchored in a technical rationality, which argues that particular features of emerging information technologies will shape their political consequences. A central theme of this paper is that the political landscape of an information society is more malleable than such technologically deterministic speculations suggest. Empirical research on the use of communications and information technology in four political arenas indicates that the political implications of computing and telecommunications are diverse and often conflicting. Most generally, however, information technology has been developed, adopted and used in ways that reinforce rather than challenge existing structures of power. Nevertheless, because there are limits on the ability of any single group to govern technological change, new technology can pose challenges to the status quo within any political system. And because the technology is malleable, it is as capable of facilitating change as reinforcing the status quo.

Keywords

Information Technology Technological Change Public Communication Political Implication Cable System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

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  • William H. Dutton

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