Technologies of Civil Society

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* Article: TECHNOLOGIES OF CIVIL SOCIETY. Communication, participation and mobilization. By Kingsley Dennis. Innovation, Vol. 20, No. 1, 2007



"Emerging technologies of communication and cooperation are increasingly mediated through flows of connectivity and information, leading to distributed forms of civil participation. In this article I discuss ‘technologies of civil society’ whereby people who are investing in informationaccess, increased mobility and knowledge-sharing contribute to multiple networks of coparticipation and cooperation. Civil society is increasingly becoming visible through the technologies used to receive, organize and utilize the information flows. In order to sustain cooperation, complex interrelations between individuals and their technically mediated communications must of necessity be deliberate and intentional strategies. I argue that communication technologies are informing strategies of civil participation and cooperation at ever more accelerated rates, aiding bottom-up strategies of organization."



Kingsley Dennis:

"Technologies and strategies of cooperation are increasingly invested as deliberate social actions mediated through innovations in information communication technologies.

The new networks and interrelations of connectivity and information provided by technology are contributing to a more bottom-up, and distributed, form of civil participation. In this context, aspects of global civil society are facilitated by complex interrelationships of shared informational mobility, such as mobile mapping*citizen cartography *and online social bookmarking applications. In this article I discuss ‘technologies of civil society’ whereby an increasing number of people who are investing in information-access, increased mobility and knowledge-sharing contribute to multiple networks of co-participation and cooperation.

I begin by addressing global civil society and how it can be analyzed within complex flows of information and mobile connectivity. Secondly, I examine the new scapes of mobility and social connectivity that are largely driven by user-created applications and which foster a potential social restructuring through shifting patterns in technological applications and user participation, such as citizen cartography. Thirdly, I focus on specific technologies of cooperation that mediate communications and collaboration between people in physical-digital scapes. Finally, this article examines how communication- mediated forms of civil participation in China are being hampered, sabotaged and banned by the hierarchical top-down state structure of the Chinese authorities, and how this contrasts with the more open-access models presented in this article."