The Power of Mapping Networks

The Networked Era marks a period of change in many aspects of life. In this paper, we explore changes relating to the usage of a new form of visualizing information called crowdsourced mapping. Here we understand this to refer to the development and usage of digital tools that collect and display location-based data from many sources in real time. In other words, crowdsourced maps are applications that show information from many places very quickly. We will examine two deployments of a platform called Ushahidi, which is an open source tool used for creating custom crowdsourced mapping projects. The first deployment is in the sector of governance: the 2012 Obama Campaign technical team’s in-house deployment of Ushahidi for election monitoring. The second deployment is within the sector of human rights: a project called Syria Tracker that is used for citizen reporting in a conflict zone. Analysis of these digital artifacts reveals that the implications of their usage depends on who uses them, for what purpose, and based on whose data. Crowdsourced maps offer the potential of immediate context-sensitive knowledge to those able to deploy them.

Monitoring and Winning Elections

Election monitoring serves a crucial role in contemporary practices of governance, and like many practices it is undergoing rapid change in the Networked Era. The crowdsourcing platform Ushahidi was developed in the context of the 2007 Kenyan general election, and as such is representative of the digital tools being used in this sector. The election was heavily contested and marked by intercommunal violence, especially after incumbent Mwai Kibaki was once again declared president of the country. Ethnic strife escalated and continued into the following year, and it was in this context that Ushahidi was developed to facilitate on-the-ground reports of violence by any and all citizens. The goal of this crowdsourced mapping platform was “making elections more open, honest, and peaceful” (Ushahidi Staff). From the beginning, Ushahidi was designed to improve election transparency through the amplification of citizens’ voices. Visualizing and sharing information about reported incidents through the platform equipped Kenyans caught in the crisis with knowledge useful for ensuring the safety of them and their communities. Since then, the platform has grown to many sectors as it has been used to create over 100,000 crowdsourced mapping projects in 160 countries (Bright). The implications of using Ushahidi are varied, because the deployments themselves are project-specific and fulfil a wide assortment of goals and missions. Let us now look more closely at how the technical team working for Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign applied the technology to their own ends.

To understand why the Obama team used Ushahidi for their 2012 U.S. presidential election campaign, it is useful to first look at how they accomplished similar goals without the platform during the 2008 U.S. election. According to the CEO of Ushahidi, an election is essentially the logistical task of coordinating a large number of people to take the same action in a limited amount of time: to vote on election day (Manning). In 2008, the Obama campaign prepared a technological tool to coordinate their volunteers–the same logistical purpose they would deploy Ushahidi for in four years’ time–but within the first hour of election day the tool went down. The team had to use pre-digital tactics instead: good ol’ pen, paper, and phone. It is for this reason that in 2012 the Obama team selected a proven platform like Ushahidi instead of developing their own tools from scratch. We see here that digital logistical tools can be less robust than their analog counterparts. Unlike prior strategies though, crowdsourced mapping offers immediate streams of information and can visualize the voices of networks in strategic ways. The potential effectiveness of these tools seems quite potent for the present age.

Crowdmapping and other digital logistical tools are significant for the Networked Era, because they provide the means to program and switch networks. Sociologist Manuel Castells describes these as the two basic mechanisms of commanding networks: programming networks’ goals and modes of operation, as well as switching which networks are connecting and cooperating (Castells). The nature of the 2012 Obama campaign technical team’s in-house deployment of Ushahidi demonstrates an emerging trend with implications for life in the Networked Era. Namely, open crowdsouring tools are increasingly being used for “contained private” purposes based on limited networks instead of general populations. Ushahidi was designed to make elections open for everyone, and yet the goal of Obama’s team was to win an election. Their maps were based only on verified volunteers, and were only seen as effective when providing legally actionable evidence to keep particular voting booths open longer. The benefit of the digital tool shrank from public to private. The containment of open source begins with its re-appropriation by powers already enmeshed in the status quo.

Visualizing Violence

Switching gears from governance to humanitarianism, let us shift our gaze from Northern America over to Western Asia. Syria Tracker is another deployment of Ushahidi, this time in the sector of human rights in relation to the issue of citizen reporting. Since 2011, this crowdmapping deployment has been used for reporting on and visualizing violations of human rights occuring in the ongoing war described by Humanitarian Tracker as the Syrian Conflict (Kass-Hout). Eye-witness reports from social media, news, and official sources are continuously listed and mapped along with associated media content. Through analysis and automatic arrangement of atrocities, Syria Tracker paints a picture of a people victimized by an authoritarian regime. At first glance, this deployment of Ushahidi seems to look a lot more like the platform’s original model centering citizens’ reports of violence. On closer inspection though, we see the implications are quite different due to the political context of the conflict depicted.

Unlike the Obama team’s in-house crowdmapping tool, Syria Tracker is being deployed by people from outside of the region being mapped. The project is owned by a consulting firm based in California, quite a comfortable distance away from the war zone. Both tools are operated from hardware in the United States, but whereas the Obama team mapped the U.S. itself the Syria Tracker application maps the territory of what appears to be a political foe. The United States ‘government’ has regularly denounced the Syrian ‘regime,’ both before and after the end of Obama’s presidential terms. The political function of Syria Tracker fits a pattern with a long history: selectively reporting the mistreatment of your enemies’ populations while simultaneously ignoring similar occurrences closer to home. Consider how the United States ‘regime’ denounces chemical attacks in Syria, while attacking migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border with its own chemical weapons (Barnard & Gordon; Grinberg & Castillo). In this view, we see that Syria Tracker depicts human rights violations in a way that is politically convenient for U.S. interests in the Syrian Conflict. Here we see crowdmapping used as a new digital form of distant witnessing, a form of human rights activism that encourages emotional responses while subduing rational analysis (Gregory). Syria Tracker depicts Syrians as victims, producing a subjectivity that justifies armed intervention. Our strong-affect reactions to war atrocities encourages us to share the reports online without ever necessarily evaluating the implications of that action. This re-purposing of crowdmapping demonstrates the significance of digital tools deployed for logistical purposes, making visible that the power of logistics is equivalent to a form of political power (Neilson). Whether a crowdsourced map can be used to support or oppose an established political group depends on the goals of the deployment’s developers and their relationship to the depicted crowd itself.

Conclusion

In this paper, we looked at two deployments of the crowdsourced mapping platform Ushahid. The first deployment was used for private election monitoring in the sector of governance by the Barack Obama campaign’s technical team in the 2012 United States presidential election. The second deployment was used for citizen reporting in the sector of human rights by the Syria Tracker. The above analysis shows that crowdsourced maps share the same risks revealed by digital sociologist Deborah Lupton’s analysis of big data:

Each step of the process in the generation of big data relies on a number of human decisions relating to selection, judgement, interpretation, and action. Therefore, the data that we will have at hand are always configured via beliefs, values, and choices that “cook” the data from the very beginning so that they are never in a “raw” state (Lupton).

Both deployments were developed with goals and implications that diverged significantly from the original purpose of Ushahidi. This “cooking” process is why one crowdsourced map helped its users win an election and another map is used to justify foreign intervention halfway across the globe. The in-house technological tool used by the Obama team demonstrates the utility of crowdsourced maps for programming and switching networks. The humanitarian reporting of atrocities in Syria demonstrates that crowdsourced maps are also used for distant witnessing in a way that resonates with emotional factors that motivate social media content dissemination. The crowdsourced mapping platform Ushahidi offers a new kind of logistical power to those able to deploy it, but its consequences for the Networked Era depend on who is mapping who.

References

 

 

Journalism for Digital Audiences

The following has been written for a class I’m in, but it’s shared with the intention that everyone can read it. If you want help accessing any of the referenced sources, please contact me directly.

Old News vs New News

Journalism has a long history, but like many sectors of society it is becoming increasingly mediated by new technologies. Many of us are turning to the internet more and more as a source of news. Journalists find themselves competing with amateur reporters on the internet, and this poses a risk to the traditional goals and practices of institutional journalism.

In this blog post, we will examine the historical context that institutional journalism emerged from. Then, we will review a study by communications scholar Eun-Ju Lee called “That’s Not the Way It Is: How User-Generated Comments on the News Affect Perceived Media Bias.” Critical analysis of the implication of this study reveals that emerging practices of audience engagement and participation are undermining the traditional goals of journalism.

Traditions of the Fourth Estate

Institutional journalism has a long history, and over time particular practices and general goals have emerged.

When the printing press was developed in the 1400s, it disrupted widely held notions about the separation of powers. Before the press, medieval Europeans often distinguished between three forms of social hierarchy. For example, pre-revolutionary France was built on three estates of the realm: Clergy, Nobility, and Commoners. After the emergence of the press, the process of widely disseminating information became so intensified that it has since been recognized as a fourth estate. The influence of news itself can challenge religion, monarchy, and the masses. The power of journalism was, and continues to be, impossible to ignore.

Over time, usage of the press became institutionalized. Reporting news became a profession that had to be done with the support of large organizations which possessed the means to spread information. Journalism as a whole developed checks and balances, and has come to be seen as a necessary part of a healthy democracy. In Farewell to Journalism? Time for a Rethinking, Communications scholar Robert W. McChesney summarizes his perspective on a scholarly consensus regarding the four necessary components of healthy journalism:

  1. It must provide a rigorous account of people who are in power and people who wish to be in power, in the government, corporate and nonprofit sectors.
  2. It must regard the information needs of all people as legitimate. If anything, it should favor those without property, as those with wealth invariably have the means to get the information they need to run society.
  3. It must have a plausible method to separate truth from lies, or at least to prevent liars from being unaccountable and leading nations into catastrophes–particularly wars, economic crises and communal discord.
  4. It must produce a wide range of informed opinions on the most important issues of our times–not only the transitory concerns of the moment, but also challenges that loom on the horizon. These issues cannot be determined primarily by what people in power are talking about. Journalism must provide the nation’s early warning system, so problems can be anticipated, studied, debated and addressed before they grow to crisis proportions (p. 682).

Healthy journalism shifts control of information away from those who already have the most power in society toward those with the least. This bias against wealth, as some may see it, is functionally necessary because wealthy people inevitably have their own ways of access to and spreading of the information they need to run society. Journalism is successful when it provides those without individual access to public discussion a form of collective access. Journalism preserves democracy when it amplifies the information needs of the masses without fear of challenging the powerful.

Unfortunately, we are at risk of losing the fourth estate altogether. McChesney uses the phrase freefall collapse to describe contemporary journalism, because he believes that these goals are no longer being met. Instead, news in the digital area is becoming more and more focused on its consumer audiences.

Reacting to Online Audiences

News on the internet is becoming increasingly framed around audience engagement and participation. This implies a change in how we measure the success of journalism. Instead of evaluating the content of the news, such as with the framework outlined by McChesney above, journalists look instead to the consumers of the news. Journalists are now more motivated to report news that evokes strong reactions from consumers, because these are the stories that elicit the largest number of comments. Digital journalism thrives on large audiences, and large audiences can be created through ‘click bait’ strategies that prioritize emotional responses over impartial coverage of important issues.

In her study on perceived media bias, Lee conducted experiments to assess the impact of user-generated comments on Internet news websites. Her results show that these comments tend to be interpreted by readers of the news story as public opinion. This is an easy assumption to make, especially when we do not personally know the authors of the comments. Unfortunately, the specific comments we read rarely offer us an authentic view of the general public. Instead, we see a filtered subset of the population based on who has access and whose opinions are selected to be shown.

When you view a news story, the comments visible on the page itself or through a news aggregation website are calculated. Sometimes the order of comments is re-arranged based on number of replies, and sometimes unpopular opinions are hidden altogether. This programmatic selection process provides us with not the general public, but all sorts of calculated publics (Gillespie, pp. 188-189, in Lindgren p. 223). What may seem like innocent tidying of data has the ultimate result of amplifying some opinions over others. When these selection algorithms are also based on readers themselves, such as sites which show each reader a different set of personalized categories, then these calculated publics become fragmented and isolated from one another. User-generated comments only ever provide a narrow view of the much larger and complex public opinion.

Using the user-generated comments on an internet news story as a proxy for public opinion is risky. Lee’s study shows that the conflation of comments with public opinion leaves us vulnerable to the effects of ego-involvement and defensive processing. Basically, when you see yourself as directly impacted by an issue, your ego is ‘involved’ in how you perceive news about it. You are then more likely to see the news story as potentially having a negative impact when it appears to be ‘against’ you. The defensive processing happens when you base your sense of the news story’s impartiality on whether the reaction in the comments is positive or negative. When this perceived public opinion is negative, defensive processing leads to hostile media perception. This is a ‘fear of losing ground’ aggravated by user-generated comments, and it leads to an over-exaggeration of news bias. Basing perception of news bias on calculated publics leads to partisan hostility.

Conclusion

The ways we produce and read news are changing in the networked era. Institutional journalism traditionally focused on creating an informed public through the dissemination of important neutral information. Journalism’s effectiveness is challenged by the obsession of online news with audience engagement and participation. On the internet, the biases of news stories are obscured by the audiences that react to them and the value of neutrality is becoming lost amidst echo chambers.

References

  • Gillespie, T. (2014). The Relevance of Algorithms. In T. Gillespie, P. Boczkowski, & K. Foot(Eds.), Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society (pp. 167-193). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Lee, E. (2012). That’s Not the Way It Is: How User-Generated Comments on the News Affect Perceived Media Bias. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.
  • Lindgren, S. (2017). Digital Media & Society. London: Sage.
  • McChesney, R. (2012). Farewell to Journalism? Time for a Rethinking. Journalism Studies. Vol 13, Nov 5-6, 682-694.

Industrialism after the Control Revolution: Colonization and Property

This blog post is an assignment for a course I’m taking. It is written with my instructor and colleagues in mind, but as it is openly accessible online I encourage everyone to continue reading! Please let me know if you want to read any of the references without institutional access.

The Control Revolution

We find ourselves surrounded by rapid technological and social change. Exciting phrases like Information Society, Post-industrial Age, Networked Era, and the Digital Realm all seem to suggest that the current global proliferation of computers and internet access marks a distinct time period. Breaking from this trend, we will instead analyse the cultural implications of these changes in relation to longer-term processes following the work of sociologist and historian James Beniger:

“The Information Society has not resulted from recent changes […] but rather from increases in the speed of material processing and of flows through the material economy that began more than a century ago. Similarly, microprocessing and computing technology, contrary to currently fashionable opinion, do not represent a new force only recently unleashed on an unprepared society but merely the most recent installment in the continuing development of the Control Revolution” (435).

In other words, the changes in information and communications technologies occurring now are a result of the changes that occurred in the mid-1800s for manufacturing and transportation technologies. Digital sociologist Simon Lindgren explains, “so what may appear to be the advent of a new informational society, Beniger argues, is rather a digital intensification of industrialism” (15). Periodization such as the ‘Post-industrial Age’ obscures the fact that our favourite electronic devices and the latest networked communication platforms are still produced by and operate within the logic of industrialism.

This blog post will examine how the logic of industrialism continues to assert itself in the Networked Era. First, we will compare an example of colonization in the time of the Industrial Revolution to contemporary forms of colonialism following the Control Revolution. Second, we will look at how these different kinds of colonization are associated with different forms of property. Overall, we explore how new forms of colonialism and property continue to serve the needs of industry.

Colonialism: Past & Present

The Industrial Revolution accelerated societies’ production and processing systems. This led to a growth and tightening of what historians J. R. and William McNeill call ‘human webs’. For the British Empire and other great powers, this was an opportunity to renew their efforts at colonization on a global scale: industrial colonialism became possible.

The increased productive capacity would eventually backfire on the colonizing powers though, because as Beniger argues it also led to ‘control crises’. These took the form of imperial rivalries, political movements, social revolution, globalized war, and ultimately decolonization. In a way, the same forces of change that had strengthened colonization also strengthened resistance to it. The limits and negative consequences of imperialism were recognized, which in Beniger’s framework the great powers would have prevented if they could have done so through control of information and communications technologies.

In this sense, the Control Revolution we are tempted to call the Networked Era is the process of industrialism catching up to information and communications technologies. It is affecting our ideas, cultures, values, and socialization in ways that the great powers of the Industrial Revolution would have been quite interested in controlling. It is unleashing a new wave of colonization, no longer restricted by Beniger’s ‘control crises’. Now we have what Canadian media theorist Thomas McPhail calls electronic colonialism:

“Electronic colonialism is the dependency relationship established by the importation of communication hardware, foreign produced software, along with engineers, technicians, and related information protocols, that vicariously establish a set of foreign norms, values, and expectations which, in varying degrees, may alter the domestic cultures and socialization processes” (18).

The result of electronic colonialism is a facade: countries can maintain nominal independence while being subject to a foreign power’s influence. This pattern is described by former President of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah as neo-colonialism:

“The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty. In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside” (1).

Technological disruption to the industries of information and communications are enabling the forces of colonization to reassert themselves in new forms. Colonialism continues to serve the economic interests of industrialized countries, just now through culturally-mediated industries. The forces of colonization, old and new, will seek strategies of maintaining their control.

Whose Property?

Colonialism in the industrial era was fixated on expansion: the occupation and control of ever more territory, for resource extraction and sometimes for settlement. Canadian historian Allan Greer describes the “central business of colonizing ‘new’ lands [as] the dispossession of indigenous peoples and the imposition of new property regimes” (385). After displacing an indigenous population, we find that the agents of colonization produce culturally-mediated ‘property regimes’ that are then used to maintain ongoing control of land.

The city of Toronto in the province of Ontario provides us with an example of just such a property regime produced by industrial colonization. Ontario was established as ‘Upper Canada’ by the British Empire, originally for the resettlement of refugees from the American Revolution. This meant displacing the indigenous population from the remaining pockets of imperial control in the Great Lakes region, and then asserting a racial hierarchy in favour of the newly arriving anglophone migrants of European descent. The Toronto Purchase negotiated in 1787 between the British crown and the Mississauga of the Credit provides us with an example of the sort of property regimes produced by settler colonization at the height of the Industrial Revolution:

“[…] all that tract or parcel of land commencing on the east bank of the south outlet of the River Etobicoke; thence up same, following the several windings and turning of the said river to a maple tree blazed on four sides at the distance of three miles and three quarters, in a straight line from the mouth of the said river; thence north twenty-two degrees west twenty-four miles and one-quarter; then north sixty-eight degrees east fourteen miles; then south twenty-two degrees east twenty-eight miles, more or less, to Lake Ontario; then westerly along the water’s edge of Lake Ontario to the eastern bank of the south outlet of the River Etobicoke, being the place of beginning, containing Two hundred and fifty thousand, eight hundred and eight acres, together with all the woods and waters thereon […] And also all the estate, right, title, interest, property, claim and demand whatsoever […] except the fishery in the said River Etobicoke […] without trouble, hindrance, molestation, interruption or disturbance of them the said Principal Chiefs, Warriors and people of the Mississague Nation or any of them, their heirs or successors or any other person or persons lawfully claiming or to claim by, from or under them or any of them” [Emphasis added] (Toronto Purchase, Treaty 13).

Here the text of the Toronto Purchase shows evidence of both the urgency of industrial colonization and the perpetual stratification by descent which is characteristic of settler colonies. Usage of the ephemeral marker of a ‘maple tree blazed on four sides’ and the vague phrase ‘more or less’ show this document was produced not only in haste but also in a way that prioritized form over content. The exact boundaries were inconsequential to the British, because they planned to eventually incorporate the entire region. The British instead valued the document as a legal basis for a colonial logic of restriction. This property regime would be used to ensure that English-speakers loyal to the Empire could continue to settle in and dominate the Great Lakes region.

For the Mississauga of the Credit, the Toronto Purchase was merely one of several land cessions that successively restricted them to smaller and smaller portions of their territory. This map from the Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation website shows how most of the Greater Toronto Area is associated with these treaties:

Figure 1: Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation Treaties, 1781-1820, and Rouge Tract Claim, 2015

Now neo-colonialism is manifesting in a new form of property regime: intellectual property rights.

Intellectual property is being used to maintain control over less developed countries. American Professor and Internet governance scholar Laura DeNardis explains that intellectual property rights have the effect of restricting opportunities for developing countries. New technologies are developed based on standards that rely on proprietary protocols owned by profit-oriented corporations. These large corporations have exclusive patents, copyrights, teams of lawyers, and rapport with international institutions of commerce. This results in a new form of property regime that creates barriers to market for whoever cannot acquire intellectual property.

Local companies from less developed countries seeking to compete in technological industries face extra costs for manufacturing and access to markets. Licensing fees, royalties, and lack of upfront disclosure about intellectual property restrictions ensure that the uneven ‘playing field’ created by industrial colonization persists. This economic inequality is leveraged by large corporations from more developed countries so that they can also employ and sell back to the local populations of less developed countries. Essentially, the Control Revolution has produced a property regime that ensures colonized nations continue to serve as labour forces and consumer markets for entrenched  corporations. The countries most subject to the violence of colonialism in the Industrial Era are the same countries that today make up the bulk of the less developed countries. This pattern is precisely what Nkrumah refers to in his book Neo-colonialism, the Last Stage of imperialism:

The methods and form of this direction can take various shapes. For example, in an extreme case the troops of the imperial power may garrison the territory of the neo-colonial State and control the government of it. More often, however, neo-colonialist control is exercised through economic or monetary means. The neo-colonial State may be obliged to take the manufactured products of the imperialist power to the exclusion of competing products from elsewhere. Control over government policy in the neo-colonial State may be secured by payments towards the cost of running the State, by the provision of civil servants in positions where they can dictate policy, and by monetary control over foreign exchange through the imposition of a banking system controlled by the imperial power.

Where neo-colonialism exists the power exercising control is often the State which formerly ruled the territory in question, but this is not necessarily so. For example, in the case of South Vietnam the former imperial power was France, but neo-colonial control of the State has now gone to the United States. It is possible that neo-colonial control may be exercised by a consortium of financial interests which are not specifically identifiable with any particular State. The control of the Congo by great international financial concerns is a case in point” [Emphasis added] (1).

Colonialism takes new forms to perpetuate the same power structures as before, as evidenced by the ongoing and unequal economic relations between less developed countries and great powers. Writing in 1965, Nkrumah hints at the changing nature of who benefits the most from neo-colonization. The beneficiaries of electronic colonization are not the same empires as those of industrial colonization. Since the Control Revolution, ‘consortiums of financial interests’ in the form of transnational corporations have expanded globally in ways similar to the wave of colonization following the Industrial Revolution.

The great powers of today are the globalized giants of the information and communications industries. Their hegemonic influence is illustrated in Italian economist Vincenzo Cosenza’s World Map of Social Networks:

Figure 2: World Map of Social Networks, January 2018

The social media corporation Facebook dominates 91% of the countries analyzed in the map. This reflects not only their business but also the influence of its host country, the United States of America. This should be unsurprising in what is often described as a politically uni-polar world. China and Russia provide the only non-American social media companies on the map. Notably, two Russian social media companies V Kontakte and Odnoklassniki show evidence of persistent Russian hegemony over post-USSR countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asian regions.

Conclusion

The rapid changes in computers and internet-enabled platforms are exciting, but do not mark a new era. On the contrary, these technological changes reflect the latest reach of the social, economic and political processes set in motion centuries ago by the Industrial Revolution. The acceleration of society caused back then enabled a wave of industrial colonization, which only ended after a series of control crises necessitated a process of decolonization.  Now, the acceleration is resuming through the Control Revolution whereby industrialism begins to permeate our information and communications technologies. The forms of colonialism before and after the Control Revolution, industrial and electronic, produce their different forms of property regimes. The racial hierarchies of colonialist land cessions and intellectual property rights both serve the interests of the great powers of industrial and electronic colonization: imperial countries and entrenched social media corporations. Industrialism takes many forms, but in both historical and contemporary contexts reaches toward the same goals.

References

  • Beniger, J. R. (1986). The Control Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Castells, M. (2004). Informationalism, Networks, and the Network Society: A Theoretical Blueprint. In M. Castells (Ed.), The Network Society A Cross-Cultural Perspective (pp.3-45). Northhampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Coleman, G. (2009). Code Is Speech: Legal Tinkering, Expertise and Protest among Free and Open Source Software Developers. Cultural Anthropology.
  • Cosenza, V. (2019). “World Map of Social Networks,” Vincos Blog. http://vincos.it/world-map-of-social-networks/
  • Greer, A. (2012). Commons and Enclosure in the Colonization of North America. American Historical Review (Volume 117, Issue 2, pp.364-386).
  • Lindgren, S. (2017). Digital Media & Society. London: Sage.
  • McPhail, T. L. (1987). Electronic Colonialism: The Future of International Broadcasting and Communication. Beverly Hills: Sage.
  • Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation. (2015). “Treaty Lands & Territory,” Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation. http://mncfn.ca/about-mncfn/treaty-lands-and-territory/
  • Nkrumah, K. (1965). Neo-Colonialism, the Last Stage of imperialism. London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd.

Digital Media & Culture

Posts here with the #COMN3550 tag are assignments or otherwise associated with a course I’m currently enrolled in. This course, “Digital Media & Culture”, is offered by the Department of Communications in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. For those unfamiliar with this class, here is the syllabus description for context:

This course examines the origins and development of forms of digital media and culture with emphasis on how they differ from pre-digital or “analog” cultural forms. Upon establishing our theoretical foundations for considering new media as technology and culture, we investigate the historical development of digital technology and some of the transformative effects it has had, and continues to have, on previous forms of communication. Seminar discussions address themes such as identity, privacy, hardware/software, surveillance, journalism, news, and interactivity, in relation to topics such as hypermedia, cyberspace, satellites, digital telephony, digital radio/music, digital connectivity, labour, and digital literacy.