Abstract - The Information Society 4 (1)

The Struggles for Democracy in an The Information Society/ Democracy in an The Information Society/Comments/Rejoinder

Rob Kling, Theodor D Sterling, Fred W Weingarten, Jon A Turner and others

In an examination of the political character of computerization, Sterling and his commentators seek to capture the complex interplay of technological and political orders. Sterling examines democracy in the social domains of public-political life and the conditions of working life, asking whether complex technologies disenfranchise in many social spheres through parallel processes. He argues that larger organizations and the state are controlled by a class of managers and professionals who will often advance their own interests at the expense of others, regardless of changes in the social order. Laudon points out the lack of evidence that computerization has eroded democracy, and Lowi-Lytel try to specify conditions under which computerization might promote democracy, e.g., spontaneous access by the masses. An interpretation focusing on elements internal to an organization, supporting interest groups, and clients, sees reinforcement politics resulting from drives initiated by organizational elites for systematic computerization.

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