Thinking about using the social web to do democratic things…..
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Democracy in its many forms

This post is as a result of a single line in the suggested corrections for my thesis:  “The candidate should provide a brief overview and/or explanation of what form of democracy is being referred to as there appears to be a conflation of normative forms of democracy”.  It’s a fair cop – while the question of democratic deficit is central to my interest in digital civic space my thesis ended up being...

Defining civic and reconsidering critical theory

This post has been provoked by reading “The Political Web: Media, Participation and Alternative Democracy” by Peter Dahlgren (Kindle edition, 2013) as part of the viva prep.  Rather than a full write up (which I will do at a later date I hope as the book was excellent) its more a set of notes as a basis for a discussion of what I mean when I talk about ‘civic’ participation as this is very much central to...

Communities of practice and the nature of knowledge

This is a write up (not review) of Architectures of Knowledge: Firms, Capabilities, and Communities  by Amin and Cohendet  (2004).  It’s a recommendation from my supervisor for pre-viva reading but it also resonates with the Social Council project so I will be commenting on that in these notes as well.  Health warning on this post – it’s a long one…… The book is a detailed examination of the nature of...

Networked Individuals and the creation of elites

So – here we have more from the box of dangerous ideas* in the form of a write up of Networked by Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman. Once again this is really just my notes and ideas which have caught my eye rather than a proper review so please look away if this is not your thing! In common with Net Smart by Howard Rheingold the book explores what the network society might mean for the individual and both books are...

Networks of Outrage and Hope

This is the first of a number of posts I plan to write as I prep for my viva*. If you prefer my less academic stuff then look away now! The prep involves re-reading the thesis and noting all the bits I would now like to have done differently (eurgh) as well catching up on the reading that would have been in the literature review if it had been published before I finished writing up. I have been gathering this...

Net Smart – next steps for the virtual frontier

Howard Rheingold was one of the first people who articulated the promise of the social web. With “Homesteading on the Virtual Frontier” he literally wrote the book on online community. Rheingold is an unapologetic enthusiast for the potential of digital community and the network society but he is also thoughtful and balanced in his examination of how we are now using social media. In the same way as...

New OXIS Data – yum yum

This weekend you’ll be pleased to know I have been reading the recently released update of the OXIS survey (which you can get hold of here – but large thanks to Tim Davies for posting me a copy!).  I have also been updating my Facts Glorious Facts page if you like that kind of thing so this post is really just a few highlights and observations from the report. For those of you who haven’t come across it...

Dunbar’s number – networks are not all rational you know

How Many Friends Does One Person Need?: Dunbar’s Number and Other Evolutionary Quirks This is brief write up of the Robin Dunbar book “How many friends does one person need?”.  I read the book as a balance to the way in which its very easy to start thinking of networks mathematically and systemically even though its incredibly important to remember the fact that social networks are made up of people and...

Weak ties and strong spaces

This post is a bit of a hodgepodge of follow up from stuff I was working on last week – we’ll see if it weaves itself into one piece by the end. First up is a follow up on the social network analysis. Ethnobot was good enough to point me at the work of Damon Centola  and his content on weak ties. Centola talks about weak ties in more detail and looks at how they work in order to pass ideas and information....

Who else thinks its a network society?

I can very easily be accused of over using a few key quotes in my presentations – the main one being this from Manuel Castells: ” Until we rebuild, both from the bottom up and from the top down, our institutes of governance and democracy, we will not be able to stand up to the fundamental challenges that we are facing” This means that when I was recently asked – “who else talks about the network...

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