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|Introduction to Democracy and New Media (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003), edited by Henry Jenkins and David Thorburn|
Henry Jenkins and David Thorburn
Snapshot: American Democracy, circa 2000
Many political commentators predicted that networked computing might be the decisive factor in the election of 2000. By November 2000, 64 percent of all voters were Internet users and 90 percent of Americans on the Internet were registered voters.1 The Web would offer, these commentators claimed, the least costly and most effective means of reaching likely voters. How did such predictions turn out?
Yet despite such signs
of change, some commentators expressed disappointment, convinced that
the public was not yet ready to participate in the cyberdemocracy they
had envisioned. Jonah Seiger, cofounder of Mindshare Internet Campaigns,
spoke of his disillusionment: "The evolution of the Internet and
politics is going to happen a lot more slowly than people expect."3
A Pew Research Center study found that only 18 percent of Americans had
used the Internet to learn about the candidates.4
On the other hand, in an election that was decided by a few thousand votes,
such numbers could have had an impact on the outcome. Of those whom Pew
identified as seeking candidate information online, 43 percent said the
Web had influenced their final decision. Fifty percent of Internet users
under the age of thirty said the Net had affected their vote, a finding
that suggests a generational shift in political culture.
But maybe these disappointed
observers were looking in the wrong places, searching for some decisive
moment that would embody the new power of digital media-the contemporary
equivalent of Roosevelt's "fireside" chats on radio or the Kennedy-Nixon
debates on television. Such events, of course, were emblematic of the
old "consensus" media of broadcasting, systems defined by a
few monopoly networks and limited access to the channels of communication.5
These events were important, in part, because they enabled candidates
to address directly a significant portion of the electorate. The current
diversification of communication channels, on the other hand, is politically
important because it expands the range of voices that can be heard in
a national debate, ensuring that no one voice can speak with unquestioned
authority. Networked computing operates according to principles fundamentally
different from those of broadcast media: access, participation, reciprocity,
and many-to-many rather than one-to-many communication.
We will not discover
a single decisive moment when the Internet emerges as a force in our national
politics. Instead, digital democracy will be decentralized, unevenly dispersed,
even profoundly contradictory. Moreover, the effects some have ascribed
to networked computing's democratic impulses are likely to appear first
not in electoral politics, but in cultural forms: in a changed sense of
community, for example, or in a citizenry less dependent on official voices
of expertise and authority.
We must recognize
that "democracy" itself is a disputed term. Is democracy a particular
structure of governance or a culture of citizenship or some complex hybrid
of the two? How much power must shift to the voters to justify the argument
that society is becoming more democratic? How much of our current understanding
of democracy is bound up with the concept of the "informed citizen"?6
In an era of networked computing, we are starting to see changes not only
in how politics is conducted, but in what counts as politics. Consequently,
it may take some time to discern the full influence of the Internet on
American civic life.
Still, certain political
events of the recent past offer some contradictory clues about what online
democracy may look like. If we wish to locate a moment when the nation's
attention turned to cyberspace, we might choose the 1998 release of the
Starr Report.7 The creation of
Thomas, the Library of Congress Web server, in 1995, had been one of the
great idealistic achievements of the early history of cyberspace: All
government documents, speeches, committee hearings, reports, and even,
in some cases, drafts of reports would be made available to the public
free on the Internet. Coupled with C-SPAN, which provided live or recorded
television broadcasts of congressional debates and committee sessions,
Thomas would permit the public to follow the tangled paths through which
legislative proposals became law.8
Yet these noble expectations were mainly disappointed. Thomas's resources
were largely unused until the presidential sex scandal and the impeachment
hearings seized the nation's attention. Following a story first publicized
by the online journalist Matt Drudge, more than twenty-five million citizens
downloaded the Starr Report and another two million downloaded President
Clinton's grand jury testimony in the first two weeks of their availability
on the Web. Americans wanted access to governmental information, but perhaps
not the kind the idealists had imagined.
Again, if we search
for an instance in which online campaigning changed the outcome of an
election, we might consider fall 1999, when Jesse Ventura, former World
Wrestling Federation wrestler and Reform Party candidate, was elected
governor of Minnesota.9 Prior
to his surprising victory, Ventura received far less broadcast and print
coverage than his Republican and Democratic opponents. Commentators explained
his election mainly as a negative vote against the established political
parties. Yet there is good reason to believe that his campaign succeeded
in part because it made effective use of the World Wide Web to reach a
new constituency. The major party candidates, for the most part, conceived
their Web sites as glossy brochures, full of smiling pictures and vague
slogans. Ventura's site, on the other hand, offered detailed position
papers, and more importantly, constructed an online community that connected
his supporters to the campaign and to each other. In a series of polls,
Wired found that "netizens"-registered voters with e-mail access-were
fiscally conservative and socially libertarian. Yet neither party was
likely to nominate a candidate with this mix of views.10
Ventura actively appealed to these netizens, bringing record numbers of
younger voters to the polls and dramatizing the changed fortunes of third
parties in the digital age.
Here is another salient
example of the Web's power to influence the electoral process: the Ralph
Nader "vote-swapping" campaign of 2000.11
Recognizing that Nader could not win the presidential election, his campaign
developed a strategy calculated to enhance his percentage of the national
vote, thus improving the Green Party's chances of receiving federal matching
funds in the next presidential election. Gore voters in heavily Democratic
states like Massachusetts were encouraged to trade their votes on the
Web with Nader supporters in more closely contested states, such as Florida,
California, or Oregon. Ultimately, 15,000 vote swaps were logged, with
some 1,400 Nader supporters in Florida agreeing to vote for Gore. These
"Nader traders" incited sharp controversy; some commentators
deplored what they saw as the "Napsterization" of American politics,
whereas others suggested that such vote swapping valuably enlarged the
role of third parties in national elections.
To illustrate how
the Web may grant visibility and influence to alternative political perspectives,
we might document the rise of independent media centers during the 2000
protests in Seattle against the World Trade Organization.12
Indymedia.org acted as a clearinghouse for publicizing the goals of the
protesters, posting first-person reports, photographs, sound recordings;
and digital video footage. These digitally savvy activists linked their
own documentaries via satellite to a network of public-access stations
around the country, developed their own Internet radio station, and published
their own newspaper, available on their Web site to readers around the
world. What began as a tactical response to a specific protest has become
a self-sustaining, volunteer-run news organization with outposts in Belgium,
Canada, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Italy, and Mexico. These independent
media centers have become a central force in a worldwide campaign against
what the activists perceive as the evils of globalization.
who have argued that more information in circulation does not necessarily
result in a more informed citizenry could cite the debate in fall 2000
in the New York senatorial campaign between Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton.
Responding to a reporter's question, both candidates strongly opposed
pending legislation that would tax e-mail to provide financial support
for the federal postal service.13
The following day, they discovered that the so-called bill was an Internet
hoax, though the reporter-and the candidates-on the nationally televised
debate had mistakenly believed it to be genuine.
As these examples suggest, the World Wide Web is already a powerful influence on many aspects of American political life: on the public's access to government documents on candidates' communication with their constituencies, on voters' behavior in elections, on political activists' efforts to circulate their message, and on the topics that enter into national debates among candidates. Not everyone would agree, however, as to whether that influence is positive or negative, even in the specific instances described above, or as to whether technological change adequately explains such social and political developments.
the Myth of Inevitability
In his famous 1974
monograph Television: Technology and Cultural Form, Raymond Williams
challenges widespread popular and scholarly notions of technological determinism
(the belief that new technologies have an intrinsic, autonomous power
to shape and transform society). Instead, Williams argues, we must understand
the emergence of new technologies, and in particular new communications
systems, as a result of complex interactions among technological, social,
cultural, political, legal, and economic forces.14
Different cultures and different political regimes will exploit nascent
technologies in radically different ways, as a comparison of the early
history of television in Britain, the United States, and Nazi Germany
dramatically illustrates. Moreover, not only are notions of technological
determinism historically mistaken, they are politically and morally dangerous,
because they assume we are powerless to shape new media in socially beneficial
ways and powerless to resist their pernicious effects: Paul Starr strongly
agrees: "A priori, little can be said about the net effects of new
media. When a new medium strikes an 'old regime,' the political effects
depend on both the technology and the regime and on the decisions, both
technical and political, that shape the new medium and the institutions
that grow up around it."15
Williams's research suggests that the introduction of a new medium will
engender debate about political culture but cannot by itself significantly
alter the society in which it appears. Instead, the new medium generates
an extended negotiation or contestation among competing forces-some emergent,
some well-established; some encouraging change, others resisting it; some
publicly visible, others operating covertly. The impact of new media,
in Williams's model, is evolutionary, not revolutionary.
argument confutes what one might call the rhetoric of inevitability: the
assumption that the introduction of networked computing will inevitably
lead to a more democratic society. In "The Laws of Cyberspace,"
Lawrence Lessig, a sharp critic of technological determinism, offers a
summary of such utopian faith: "Cyberspace is unavoidable, and yet
cyberspace is unregulatable. No nation can live without it, yet no nation
can control behavior within it. Cyberspace is that space where individuals
are, inherently, free from control by real space sovereigns."16
Such rhetoric sees
freedom and democracy as inevitable consequences of digital technology,
sometimes going so far as to imagine the withering away of the nation-state
in favor of direct democracy.17
For example, in his notorious "Declaration of Independence for Cyberspace,"
John Perry Barlow proclaims that national governments have no authority
over online communities: "Governments of the Industrial World, you
weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home
. You have no sovereignty where we gather
does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it,
as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an
act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions."18
In a manifesto that claims a global perspective yet draws only on American
political traditions, Barlow describes computers as liberating us from
the dictates of national governments. For Barlow, the battle has already
been won and the outcome has been determined; it is absurd for government
even to attempt to regulate this new "tribe" of the "Mind."
One might contrast
Barlow's blithe assumption that the "revolution" has already
been won with Pierre Levy's more nuanced account of the emergence of a
culture of "collective intelligence."19
For Levy, this new information culture, defined by its high degree of
participation and reciprocity, exists alongside such established structures
of power as the multinational corporation and the nation-state. Levy sees
these political and cultural structures as sometimes complementing, sometimes
opposing each other. For Levy, the world of "collective intelligence"
is an "attainable utopia," but not a condition already achieved.
Lessig reaches a similar,
if more pessimistic conclusion: "The world we are entering
not a world where freedom is ensured."20
Forms of control and regulation, Lessig writes, are already embedded in
the operational codes that govern our interactions in cyberspace; we already
accept without thought a series of invisible constraints on digital associations
and transactions that have never been publicly debated. Unless we understand
this antidemocratic potential of cyberspace, Lessig says, we are likely
to "sleep through the transition from freedom into control."
Lessig is one of a
number of recent writers calling on technologically literate citizens
to ensure a broader public debate about the political impact of new media.
Langdon Winner, for example, urges computer professionals to take civic
responsibility for their work and insists that the general public should
have a part in the creation and deployment of new technologies. "Right
now it's anyone's guess what sorts of personalities, styles of discourse,
and social norms will ultimately flourish" in our digital future,
Winner says. "Industrial leaders present as faits accomplis what
otherwise might have been choices open for diverse public imaginings,
investigations and debates
. If we're asking people to change their
lives to adapt to new information systems, it seems responsible to solicit
broad participation in deliberation, planning; decision making, prototyping,
testing, [and] evaluation."21
of Freedom (1983), Ithiel de Sola Pool established a framework for
this debate about communication technologies and democracy: "Freedom
is fostered when the means of communication are dispersed, decentralized,
and easily available, as are printing presses or microcomputers. Central
control is more likely when the means of communication are concentrated,
monopolized, and scarce, as are great networks."22
At a time when the mainframe computer was seen as an emblem of bureaucratic
control, Pool envisioned a decentralized and participatory media environment.
The emergence of home computers, he predicted, might strengthen democratic
culture, enabling citizens and grassroots organizations to circulate their
ideas more widely than ever before. But he also recognized that such an
outcome was not inevitable: "The characteristics of media shape what
is done with them, so one might anticipate that these technologies of
freedom will overwhelm all attempts to control them
shapes the structure of the battle, but not every outcome. While the printing
press was without doubt the foundation of modern democracy, the response
to the flood of publishing that it brought forth has been censorship as
often as press freedom. In some times and aces the even more capacious
new media will open wider the floodgates for discourse, but in other times
and places, in fear of that flood, attempts will be made to shut the gates."23
Moreover, Pool said, new media are often perceived as versions or extensions
of their ancestor technologies and are subjected to regulatory schemes
that limit or undermine their progressive potential. The conservative
force of these regulatory schemes will often blunt the radical transformations
predicted at the time of the technologies' first introduction.
The most useful accounts
of the political impact of new media balance excitement about these emerging
communications technologies with an awareness of the social, economic,
political, and cultural forces that shape their deployment. In the early
1990s, many writers believed networked computing would revitalize the
public sphere. Throughout the twentieth century, theorists had warned
that urbanization and increased mobility would weaken the fragile social
ties upon which American democracy depended.24
Now, writers were insisting that the American public hungered for community
and predicting that cyberspace would give birth to a new civic culture.
ideal of the public sphere set the terms for this argument: "Access
to the public sphere is open in principle to all citizens. A portion of
the public sphere is constituted in every conversation in which private
persons come together to form a public. They are then acting neither as
business or professional people conducting their private affairs nor as
legal consociates subject to the legal regulations of a state bureaucracy
and obligated to obedience."25
The public sphere, Habermas argued, is the site where deliberations about
important civic concerns occur and the public consensus takes shape. Habermas
blamed the rise of modern mass media for privatizing civic life and turning
citizens into consumers. Critics have suggested that Habermas underestimated
the barriers to participation in this historic public sphere.26
Economic factors, for example, determined which citizens would have access
to a printing press; social factors determined which citizens could exert
influence at town meetings. The democratic ideals of the earlier public
sphere were compromised by the disenfranchisement of women, minorities,
and the poor. Similarly, the promise of a new public sphere depends on
whether technical, economic, and cultural barriers to full participation-the
so-called digital divide-can be overcome.27
Network computing offers potential resources for community building, yet
how those resources are used depends on whether society embraces the civic
ideals essential to a viable public sphere.28
Some writers cite
evidence that online communities are embracing those civic virtues. Julian
Dibbel, for example, has described the passionate debates that occurred
as multi-user domains (MUDs) and other online communities struggled to
develop strategies for dealing with dissent and antisocial conduct.29
Online communities offer participants a chance to experience civic affiliation
or personal empowerment and thus nourish ideals of citizenship.30
But others have argued that immersion in these virtual worlds may simply
displace what would be more productively deployed in real-world political
action. These skeptics express alarm over the vulgarity; triviality, and
aggressiveness of online interactions and see virtual communities through
a glass darkly, as enclaves isolating participants from opposing perspectives.31
Howard Rheingold, the journalist who coined and popularized the term "virtual community," is far from a technological utopian. Rheingold argued that online citizens needed to educate themselves in order to "leverage" the emerging forms of political and economic power enabled by new media: "The technology will not in itself fulfill that potential; this latent technical power must be used intelligently and deliberately by an informed population . The odds are always good that big power and big money will find a way to control access to virtual communities; big power and big money always found ways to control new communications media when they emerged in the past."32 In the early 1990s Rheingold saw a need to defend virtual communities against political and economic forces that would coopt or corrupt them. A decade later, the economic colonization of cyberspace is still recognized as a serious threat to this participatory culture; activists are calling for the establishment of a "public commons" to ensure the survival of the grassroots social and political experiments Rheingold and Dibble documented.33
The utopian rhetoric
predicting an imminent digital revolution is simplistic and often oblivious
to complex historical processes. But its tenacious, diverse history is
instructive and significant. For one thing, such pervasive talk about
revolutionary change implies some fundamental dissatisfaction with the
established order Even if we believe that the concept of a digital revolution
is empty rhetoric, we still must explain why a revolution, even a virtual
one, has such appeal. A surprising range of thinkers on the right and
the left have used the notion of "the computer revolution" to
imagine forms of political change. Examining the rhetoric of digital revolution,
we may identify a discourse about politics and culture that appears not
only in academic writing or in explicitly ideological exchanges, but also
in popular journalism and science fiction. This rhetoric has clear political
effects, helping to shape attitudes toward emerging technologies. And
even if such discourse is not an accurate measure of the impact of new
media, it may nonetheless nourish serious discussion about core values
and central institutions, allowing us to envision the possibility of change.
Utopian visions help us to imagine a just society and to map strategies
for achieving it.
For some writers on
the left, the rhetoric of "digital revolution" registers their
disillusionment with earlier fantasies of revolutionary change following
the fall of communism. In a return to Frankfurt School categories, some
left intellectuals have cast capitalism as an irresistible force and media
consumption as its most powerful tool for manufacturing consent. In contrast,
some younger left intellectuals have found the "digital revolution"
to be a revitalizing fantasy, the promise of an alternative media culture.34
At the same time, the rhetoric of revolution has been appropriated by
the right, with Newt Gingrich and George Gilder, among others, advocating
a "Republican revolution" that would "get the government
off our backs" and return decision making to the local level.35
Still others have seen computers as paving the way for a new economy,
an entrepreneurial "revolution" that would allow smaller, leaner
new companies to rise to the top of corporate America. The introduction
of networked computers, it has been said, will transform all aspects of
our society, changing industry, government and social life, altering the
ways in which artists circulate their work and money flows through the
economy. All institutions will have to be "reinvented" in response
to these new technologies. The rhetoric of the digital revolution thus
has allowed disillusioned left intellectuals, a newly emboldened right,
ambitious entrepreneurs, and many other interest groups to see themselves
as on the cusp of vast historical change.
Such a climate has
enabled political alliances that would have been inconceivable a decade
earlier.36 Both the left and
the right distrust monopoly broadcasting and embrace the promise of a
more dispersed and participatory media, although they would surely disagree,
in the end, about the society they hope will emerge from the "digital
revolution." Some communitarians see the Web as an instrument for
social cohesion, for cybercommunities, whereas conservatives and libertarians
use distributed computing as an emblem of decentralized antifederalism.
Yet such alliances are fragile and problematic. One can divide these digital
revolutionaries by posing basic questions. Which is the greater threat
to free speech: government censorship or corporate ownership of intellectual
property? Which is the greater danger to privacy: government surveillance
or massive corporate databases of consumer information? In other words,
if this is a digital revolution, what are we rebelling against?
There is powerful
irony in the fact that both the left and the right initially understood
computer networks in opposition to bureaucratic control because so much
of the initial research had been funded by the military and had occurred
at the Rand Corporation. The original governing fantasies, closely linked
to the nuclear fears of the Cold War, were dystopian, not utopian. The
government wanted to ensure "minimum essential communication"
and thus preserve "second-strike" capability. A distributed
system was essential so that it could operate even if central nodes were
destroyed. What was envisioned was not a broad-based participatory medium,
but a system restricted to government officials and the military high
command in their bunkers; access was extended only reluctantly to the
research scientists who were helping to transform this Cold War vision
into a practical reality. One legacy of this bureaucratic understanding
of the Internet is embedded in the metaphor of the "information superhighway,"
allegedly coined by Albert Gore as a tribute to his senator father, who
had helped to promote the interstate highway system following World War
II. Describing this new information space as a "superhighway"
implies that it is a federal project, a stark contrast to the libertarian
fantasy of an "electronic frontier" that should remain forever
free of government intervention.
Current notions of
cyberdemocracy took shape amid the heated debates of the Vietnam War era.
Frederick Turner has shown how publications such as Wired and Mondo 2000,
digital communities like the Well, and organizations like the Electronic
Frontier Foundation took root in the political culture of San Francisco,
a center for many 1960s countercultural movements and subsequently a seedbed
for the new digital economy.37
Many writers, including Stewart Brand, Timothy Leary, Howard Rhinegold,
Alvin Toffler, and John Perry Barlow, shifted easily from the agrarian
countercultural style associated with the Whole Earth Catalog to the cyberutopian
and consumerist values promoted in Wired, helping to define the popular
representations of digital technologies. Ironically, whereas the early
counterculture had been emphatically anticorporate, the rhetoric of the
cyberculture was coopted by digital entrepreneurs who transformed utopian
longings for participatory culture into pitches for high-tech commodities.
One of the most influential commercials of the personal computing era,
Apple's "1984" campaign, represented the home computer as a
tool of liberation directed against an impersonal Orwellian bureaucracy.38
At the same time, this easy linkage of political and corporate fantasies
deepened the skepticism of other leftists who understood the computer
through the filter of Frankfurt School theories of mass culture as yet
another manifestation of corporate control over American civic life.39
In an influential
essay, "Constituents for a Theory of the Media," Hans Magnus
Enzensberger described the student movement's embrace of a participatory
model of communications in opposition to the corporate monopoly systems
of the movies and television. Enzensberger's critique centered on the
absence of reciprocity in mass media, their reliance on one-to-many modes
of communication. Television, he warned, "does not serve communications
but prevents it."40 Enzensberger
documented the emergence of the underground newspaper, grassroots video
production, people's radio stations, and other forms of independent media
production and distribution, seeing them as the birthplace of a new political
culture: But these "do-it-yourself" media never offered a serious
alternative to commercial systems. The regulatory and policy decisions
governing UHF and cable television, for example, marginalized local access
content and granted priority to commercial broadcasters.41
Similarly, although the reduced cost of photocopying enabled the production
of grassroots zines, there was no viable system for distributing such
materials to a significant reading public.42
For some, the failure
of these earlier participatory media intensified skepticism about networked
computing. But for others, cyberspace appeared as the second coming of
participatory media; the Web, these hopefuls proclaimed, would be a world
with no center, no gatekeepers, no margins. The new cyberculture would
be a bulwark against the concentration of commercial media, ensuring access
to alternative perspectives. Such countercultural impulses shaped, for
example, the online community's early resistance to unsolicited advertising
messages and their insistence on free expression and strong encryption
to protect privacy. The legacy of this construction of computing can be
seen in the cyberpunk movement in science fiction, which often depicts
hackers as activists at war with powerful media corporations,43
or in the culture jammer movement, which aims to block the signals of
commercial media in order to open channels for alternative messages,44
or in the open-source movement, which pits the grassroots collaborators
of Linux against the concentrated power of Microsoft.
Two slogans of the
1960s may help us to understand this distinction between old and new media.
The first is Gil Scott Heron's song "Will the Revolution Be Televised?"
The answer, in 1968, was clearly "No." A narrow pipeline controlled
by corporate media was unlikely to transmit dissenting ideas or images.
The counterculture communicated primarily through alternative media: underground
newspapers, folk songs, posters, people's radio, comics.
But in 2003, if we
ask whether the revolution will be digitized, the answer is "Yes."
The Web's low barriers to entry ensure greater access than ever before
to innovative, even revolutionary ideas. Those silenced by corporate media
have been among the first, as Pool predicted, to transform their computers
into printing presses. This access to the World Wide Web has empowered
revolutionaries, reactionaries, and racists alike. It has also engendered
fear in the gatekeeper intermediaries and their allies. One person's diversity,
no doubt, is another person's anarchy.
Now, consider the
second slogan, which students in the streets of Chicago chanted at the
network news trucks: "The whole world is watching." Whatever
the difficulties, the students knew that if their protests were broadcast
via ABC, CBS, and NBC, they would reach tens of millions of viewers. Is
there any place on the Web where the whole world is watching? The Web
is a billion people on a billion soapboxes all speaking at once. But who
is listening? The old intermediaries are still in place, not likely to
wither away any time soon, so long as they command national and international
audiences and thus retain their power to deliver commercial messages to
Online activists were quick to recognize the value of that first slogan but slow to realize the importance of the second. At its most excessive, the rhetoric of the digital revolution envisioned a total displacement of centralized broadcast media by a trackless web of participatory channels. Netizens spoke of the major networks, for example, as dinosaurs slinking off to the tar pits as they confronted the realities of the new economy. The decline of the dot-coms makes clear, however, that such predictions were premature. The power of movies and television to speak to a vast public is immensely greater than the diffused reach of the new media, through which many messages can be circulated but few can ensure a hearing. This dramatic reversal of economic fortunes suggests that similar arguments for the decline of powerful governmental institutions in the face of cyberdemocracy may be equally premature and simple-minded.
2. Markle Foundation, "Web, White & Blue 2000" (2000), available online at http://www.webwhiteblue.org.
3. Aaron Pressman, "Analysis: Internet Lessons for Campaign 2004," Industry Standard (November 15, 2000), available online at http://www.cnn.com/2000/TECH/computing/11/15/campaign.2004.idg/index.html.
On the concept of consensus narrative, see David Thorburn, "Television
Melodrama," in TV:
6. On the role of the flow of information in defining our sense of belonging to nation-states, see Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nation States (London: Verso, 1991). For a history of how the concept of the "informed citizen" shapes debates about American democracy, see Michael Schudson, The Good Citizen: A History of American Civic Life (New York: Free Press, 1998).
8. Stephen Frantzich, The C-SPAN Revolution (Oklahoma City: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996). On Newt Gingrich's vision for Thomas, see John Heileman, "The Making of the President, 2000," Wired 3, no. 12 (December 1995), available online at http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/3.12/gorenewt.html.
9. For an insider perspective on the Ventura Web campaign, see Phil Madsen, "Notes Regarding Jesse Ventura's Internet Use in His 1998 Campaign for Minnesota Governor" (1998), available online at http://www.jesseventura.org/internet/netnotes.htm. Ventura's success was built on the foundation of many years of work in Minnesota promoting cyberdemocracy. For background on this earlier work, see G. S. Aikens, "American Democracy and Computer-Mediated Communication: A Case Study in Minnesota" (1998 online posting).
10. Jonathan Katz, "The Digital Citizen," Wired 5, no. 12 (December 1997), available online at http://hotwired.lycos.com/special/citizen.
11. Scott Harris, "Nader Traders May Have Affected Outcome in Florida," Industry Standard (November 17, 2000), available online at http://www.cnn.com/2000/TECH/computing/11/17/nader.traders.help.gore.idg/index.html. For a fuller overview of the movement, see the materials assembled at http://www.voteswap.com.
12. http://www.indymedia.org. On the use of the Web for grassroots activism, see Robert Rhoads, Freedom's Web: Student Activism in An Age of Cultural Diversity (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).
16. Lawrence Lessig, "The Laws of Cyberspace" (1998), available online at http://www.lessig.org.
18. John Perry Barlow, "Declaration of Independence for Cyberspace" (1996), available online at http://members.aye.net/~hippie/barlow/barlowci.htm.
19. Pierre Levy, Collective Intelligence: Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace (New York: Perseus, 2000). For an overview of Levy, see Henry Jenkins, "Interactive Audiences?" in The New Media Book, ed. Dan Harries (London: British Film Institute, 2002).
20. Lessig, "The Laws of Cyberspace." Lessig explores these ideas in more depth in his books The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in the Digital World (New York: Random House, 2001) and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (New York: Basic Books, 2000).
25. Jurgen Habermas, "The Public Sphere," in Media Studies: A Reader, ed. Paul Marris and Sue Thornham (New York: New York University Press, 2000), 92-98, at 92. For a useful application of Habermas, see Mark Poster, "Cyberdemocracy; The Internet and the Public Sphere," in Reading Digital Culture, ed. David Trend (London: Blackwell, 2001), 259-271.
26. For a useful account of the debates surrounding Habermas's public sphere concept in contemporary media theory, see Lisa Cartwright and Marissa Sturken, Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001).
27. Pippa Norris, Digital Divide: Civic Engagement; Information Poverty and the Internet Worldwide (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001); Benjamin M. Compaigne, The Digital Divide (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001); Brian Kahin and James Keller, eds., Public Access to the Internet (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1995); Alondra Nelson, Thu Linh Thu, and Alicia Headlam Hines, eds., Technocolor: Race, Technology and Everyday Life (New York: New York University Press, 2001); and Beth E. Kolko, Lisa Nakamura, and Gilbert B. Rodman, eds., Race in Digital Space (New York: Routledge, 2000). On struggles to overcome the gender gap in access to these technologies, see Susan Hawthorne and Renate Klein, eds., Cyberfeminism: Connectivity, Critique, and Creativity (Sydney: Spinifex, 1999); and Lynn Cherney and Elizabeth Reba Weise, eds., Wired Women: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace (Seattle: Seal, 1996).
28. This question of how we inculcate civic virtues into our children is a recurring question in the literature on democracy: See, for example; David Buckingham, The Making of Citizens: Young People, News and Politics (New York: Routledge, 2000); and Don Tappscott, Growing up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999). For historical antecedents of this question, see Henry Jenkins, "'No Matter How Small': The Democratic Imagination of Doctor Seuss," in Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture, ed. Henry Jenkins, Tara McPherson, and Jane Shattuc (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), 189-210.
30. For an overview of these debates, see Steven G. Jones, Cybersociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 1995); and Peter Ludlow, ed., High Noon on the Electronic Frontier: Conceptual Issues in Cyberspace (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996).
34. For examples of a wide range of perspectives on these questions, see David Trend, ed., Reading Digital Culture (London: Blackwell, 2001); and Andrew Herman and Thomas Swiss, eds., The World Wide Web and Contemporary Cultural Theory (New York: Routledge, 2000).
37. Frederick Turner, "From Counterculture to Cyberculture: How Stewart Brand and the Whole Earth Catalog Brought Us Wired Magazine," Ph.D. diss., Department of Communication, University of California, San Diego (forthcoming). See also Thomas Streeter, "That Deep Romantic Chasm: Libertarianism, Neoliberalism and the Computer Culture," in Communication, Citizenship, and Social Policy: Re-thinking the Limits of the Welfare State, ed. Andrew Calabrese and Jean-Claude Burgelman (London: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999), 49-64.
38. For background on this advertisement, see Ted Friedman, "Apple's 1984: The Introduction of the Macintosh in the Cultural History of Personal Computers" (1997), available online at http://www.duke.edu/~tlove/mac.htm.
41. Thomas Streeter, "Blue Skies and Strange Bedfellows: The Discourse on Cable Television," in The Revolution Wasn't Televised: Sixties Television and Social Conflict, ed. Lynn Spigel and Michael Curtin (New York: Routledge, 1997), 221-242.
44. Mark Dery, Culture Jamming: Hacking, Slashing and Sniping in the Empire of Signs (Open Magazine Pamphlet Series, 1993). For elaboration on the concept of culture jamming, see also Gareth Branwyn, Jamming the Media: A Citizen's Guide for Reclaiming the Tools of Communication (San Francisco: Chronicle, 1997); and David Cox, "Notes on Culture Jamming" (2000), available online at http://www.sniggle.net/Manifesti/notes.php.