How Does Technology Change the Balance of Power in Society

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  • Article: Communicating Power: Technological Innovation and Social Change in the Past, Present, and Futures. Jim Dator, John A. Sweeney et al. Journal of Futures Studies,



"This is the final report for a research prospectus submitted in May 2011 by Jim Dator, John A. Sweeney, and Aubrey Yee in response to a call for proposals on "Technology, Innovation, and Society" (hereafter TIS) from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Graduate Research at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. Focusing on category two ( How does technology change the balance of power in society?), we were awarded a grant by the University of Hawai`i Foundation and agreed to a year-long research term commencing on January 1, 2012.


Our most important conclusions, to be discussed in detail in a forthcoming monograph detailing our work, are:

1. Our assumption that changing communication technologies do impact power (and other) relations was reinforced. But our current understanding of that process is substantially more informed and nuanced than it was when we began. As power relations are fluid and highly differentiated across social contexts, we found that social change occurs in complex ways that often defies simple and reductive classifications, which led us to emphasize various layers of both causes and effects with regards to the ways in which communication technologies impact power relations."

(12 conclusion in all are listed)