Asad Quadri's Bibliography 0420675

This article is going to be about the politics of the internet. The article will approach the kind of politics which exist in cyberspace and its effect on cyberspace and the real world. This will be an article which will discuss the influence which cyber politics has on privacy, surveillance, regulation, citizen journalism through blogs and wikis, Internet Activism, economics, Cyberpower, Technopower and the promise as well as the threat of Cyberpolitics.

This article is going to be about the politics of the internet. The article will approach the kind of politics which exist in cyberspace and its effect on cyberspace and the real world. This will be an article which will discuss the influence which cyber politics has on privacy, surveillance, regulation, citizen journalism through blogs and wikis, Internet Activism, economics, Cyberpower, Technopower and the promise as well as the threat of Cyberpolitics.

Section 1

Jordan, T. (2007) 'Technopower and it Cyberfutures', in Bell, D. and Kennedy, B.M. (ed.) The Cybercultures Reader, 2nd edition, London: Routledge

Tim Jordan covers topics such as the allocation of cyberpower on the Internet. There are two distinct forms of cyberpower, cyberpower over individuals and cyberpower of the social. Individuals are required to input their name, password, email, user name, etcetera to log on to the internet to be rewarded with their gateway into cyberspace. As for communities, the individual user is no longer the absolute cause of online life because of online emerging communities, thus possibly defining individual actions through certain social conditions. A community may have a set of ground and a hierarchy which defines how power is distributed amongst members and who holds the most privileges. This eventually leads to what is known as Technopower. Actions such as commerce and social interaction can only be achieved through technologies and without these technologies; none of these action can be done. Human users have to depend on emotionless programmes that were created by human programmers with ideals in order to achieve functionality on the Internet. This is part of a struggle between man and machine where machines and programs hold the key to places where users wish to go to, which may very well be discussed in my article.

Jordan, T. Cyberpower: The Culture and Politics of Cyberspace, [Online], Available: [2 May 2011]

This is a comprehensive paper by Tim Jordan which covers many subjects regarding cyberpower and its implementation by users of the internet. It covers the sociological, political, cultural and economic perspective of the effect of the politics of life online. The overall aim of this paper is to propose an understanding of the nature of power within cyberspace. Jordan divides cyberpower into 3 intertwined levels. Firstly cyberspace is identified as a playground where the user can use cyberpower to their advantage. From this first stage there are obvious forms of cyberpolitics including piracy, censorship, encryption, the list can just go on. Secondly cyberspace is understood as a platform for social interaction where online communities exist. Here cyberpower hold great effect as a technopower, offering greater freedom to those who are adept with the many technologies that help shape cyberspace and cyberculture as a whole. The one's that hold any power are those that can use technologies to their advantage. from the social perspective, the dominant power are the technological elite. Finally, cyberspace and the internet can be recognised as a massive society or even a digital nation. Then cyberpower may appear as the ideal of individuals recognise a common commitment in the virtual world. Some may wish to achieve godlike status in cyberspace where total surveillance of virtual life is made possible online.

This is a very comprehensive and detailed study which highlights the power distance between the technologically elite and the noobs of cyberspace. Jordan emphasises that only those that are adept in knowledge of cyber technologies are usually in control of the affairs of online life. It is very relevant to my article because the article will explain how politics and cyberpower have divided online communities and empowers a selective few.

Section 2

Kahn, R. and Kellner, D. (2007) 'Technopolitics and Oppositional Media', in Bell, D. and Kennedy, B.M. (ed.) The Cybercultures Reader, 2nd edition, London: Routledge

Richard Khan and Douglas Kellner cover many important subjects of the politics of the internet. In this study they give an analysis how events involving the State have given rise to journalist and even ordinary users of the internet taking part in Internet Activism. The internet has provided many platforms including wikis, blogs and social networks, which gives ordinary citizens the power to become citizen journalists which enables them to have their views seen and heard on political affairs all over cyberspace. This paper also briefly covers hacking and what it used to mean many years ago at the early stages of computing. This subject is covered in greater detail in ‘Hackers – Cyberpunks or Microserfs?’ Richard and Douglas mention how the term hacker was originally used were developing clever innovations but were demonised by the media and politicians.

McWilliam, K. (2010) Cyberpolitics., August, [Online], Available: [7 March 2011]

Kelly McWilliam who quotes from Cracking the Gender Code: Who Rules the Wired World? describes how the initial prospect of the internet was the new political and social frontier. The physical signifiers of identity such as sex, race and age would be rendered superflous and insignificant. However the internet and other technologies of digital culture originally emerged from an American Millitary climate with a hetro-patriarchal goal of keeping social and economic power to a certain group. There is an investigation of the discourse of digital culture and what is dubbed as the digital generation. Mcwilliam stresses that this discourse based on exclusion is centred around racism, sexism and technotopian ideologies and that all lead to the idea that the digital age is dominated by the masculine digital elite. This discourse works as a three tiered process:

  1. The cassification and exclusion of Others (women, minorities and people with limited or no knowledge of digital culture)
  2. A visual confirmation of current biases such as images that characterises Others as socially, sexually and intellectually inferior and
  3. Through underlying references to a technotopia that renders social differences redundant, which is ironic since this discourse still excludes those deemed as Others.

Overall this article highlights the digital age being dominated by the white economically mobile and digitally literate, while those who do not fit this profile are deemed unworthy to . This is an example of the unfair power distance in a space where differences are supposed to be irrelevant yet are still and may be useful to mention in my article. This article is a good example of how the power distance between users of a certain category. Despite the ideal vision of cyberspace as a utopia where physical identity is rendered meaningless, there are still users with sinister interests who will victimise other users because they fit a certain profile.

Resnick, D. (1998) 'The Normalisation of Cyberspace', in Toulouse , C. and Luke, T.W. (ed.) The Politics of Cyberspace: a New Political Science Reader, London: Routledge.

David Resnick explains how the internet was heralded as a platform for citizen empowerment, the revitalisation of democracy in the digital age and even fears of dystopian technocratic dominance. Resnick describes cyberspace as a virtual pluralistic society with commercial activity, special interest groups and a legal regulatory structure. Cyberspace has paved the way for an whole manner of possibilities for the politically sophisticated and skilled but also resembles the familiar world of economics and power. Resnick once recalls when the internet was a place where everyone was free and equal. There were some who were more skilled but there was no real division of labour. He remembers the days when there was no real political structure and no efforts to influence and manipulate the opinions and actions of the public, but he says that all changed when the net was identified as a form of productive labour, where the medium of exchange makes it rational for people to work like slaves and use the surplus from their labour. The potential value could be seen from the time spent online and thus, organisations, institutions and politics formed which helped shape the net into a pluralistic civil society which bears a strong resemblance to societies existing in the physical world. This is very important to mention in my article as Resnick sees cyberspace not as the free utopia that many people see it as, but another civil society which exists in a different plane.

Section 3

Sassen, S. (2007) 'Digital Networks and the State', in Bell, D. and Kennedy, B.M. (ed.) The Cybercultures Reader, 2nd edition, London: Routledge

In this study, Saskia Sassen questions the governance of cyberspace and theorises the extent of the state powers that are in control of online activity. She discusses the extent of State regulation, private/public digital space and if the internet is good for democracy or not. One interesting subject that she covers is the power distance between organisations using the Net for commercialisation and groups who use the Net for non-commercialisation. Investors and venture capitalists usually bank on organisations which specialise in selling hardware or software and are usually promoted to a greater extent in electronic expos. In contrasts, individuals, volunteers and non-profit organisations that specialise in free and open source applications are seen as a form of resistance against overreaching powers of the economic state. She also points out that there has been an increase in control of the way users are able to maintain anonymity while online, which makes it difficult to verify user identity thus ensuring better privacy protection. Sasika Sassen also mentions that the state cannot regulate the internet, but that doesn't stop them from trying to find ways to regulate what is allowed online. This is a very dark and worrying study as it highlights how much the authorities control the Internet and that no one is really free in cyberspace. Corporations and government bodies still have a foothold in what happens online. These points and others mentioned in this study will be mentioned in my article.

Section 4

Taylor, P.A. (2007) 'Hackers - Cyberpunks or Microserfs?', in Bell, D. and Kennedy, B.M. (ed.) The Cybecultures Reader, 2nd edition, London: Routledge

In this essay Paul Taylor focuses on the identity of the hacker in relation to cyberpolitics. He discusses the dispute over the label of hacker which has been demonised by many within the media and the Government. Hacking is recognised as a criminal activity today when in fact it had humble beginnings. Paul in his research explains that despite it is said that hacking was actually a term to describe someone who developed creative innovations to exchange information and create online communities, but due to involvement from the State, the media and corporations, hacking has been associated with evil techno nerds whose sole purpose is to disrupt computer networks or insert Malware and Trojans into computers and networks. Some hackers do engage in such criminal activity, but some hacktivists are actually using their skills for progressive political means. There is also an account of how hackers are portrayed in fiction and an account of fear mongering from the media about technology and hackers. Some go as far as to call technology an invention of the devil. This paper is very interesting and important since it has shown how the reputation of hackers has been tarnished by the media and the corporations. Even though some hackers are indeed criminals, their demonization was politically motivated. This is very useful for my writing as it shows how the political motivations in cyberspace can use scapegoats in order to push an agenda. On the other hand hackers are on the wrong side of the law and are committing acts of crime in cyberspace and there are laws and regulations in place to stop their criminal activities.

White, J. (1999), in White, J. (ed.) Politics on the Internet, London: Politico's Publishing

In this book, Julian White presents a beginner’s guide to finding information primarily on UK politics. This book serves as guidance for researchers, academics, students, political enthusiast and even trivia hunters to find information on politics online quickly by providing websites relating to politics. The author has provided the reader with many direct links to political parties worldwide. There are links to the websites of the 3 main United Kingdom political parties: Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative party, together with links to other political parties in this country. There are even links to political parties in other parts of the world such as New Zealand and India. In the book White has presented research on all of these political parties and how they have used the internet for more recognition. This book is very useful for those who are unsure how to use the internet to lookup information on politics and is also a very efficient directory to online political information. Unfortunately this is not the information I require for my article. I was expecting information of the politics of the internet rather than information of political parties. This will not be used for my article on politics of the internet.

When the article is finally posted I hope you will enjoy it and find it informative.

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