Essays on global community
Thus I have selected for my analysis the findings that complement and reinforce each other, offering a consistent picture of the human experience on the Internet in spite of the human diversity.
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Given the aim of this publication to reach a broad audience, I will not present in this text the data supporting the analysis presented here. Instead, I am referring the interested reader to the web sources of the research organizations mentioned above, as well as to selected bibliographic references discussing the empirical foundation of the social trends reported here.
In order to fully understand the effects of the Internet on society, we should remember that technology is material culture. It is produced in a social process in a given institutional environment on the basis of the ideas, values, interests, and knowledge of their producers, both their early producers and their subsequent producers.
In this process we must include the users of the technology, who appropriate and adapt the technology rather than adopting it, and by so doing they modify it and produce it in an endless process of interaction between technological production and social use. So, to assess the relevance of Internet in society we must recall the specific characteristics of Internet as a technology.
Then we must place it in the context of the transformation of the overall social structure, as well as in relationship to the culture characteristic of this social structure. Indeed, we live in a new social structure, the global network society, characterized by the rise of a new culture, the culture of autonomy.
Internet is a technology of freedom, in the terms coined by Ithiel de Sola Pool in , coming from a libertarian culture, paradoxically financed by the Pentagon for the benefit of scientists, engineers, and their students, with no direct military application in mind Castells The expansion of the Internet from the mids onward resulted from the combination of three main factors:. Our society is a network society; that is, a society constructed around personal and organizational networks powered by digital networks and communicated by the Internet.
And because networks are global and know no boundaries, the network society is a global network society. This historically specific social structure resulted from the interaction between the emerging technological paradigm based on the digital revolution and some major sociocultural changes. A primary dimension of these changes is what has been labeled the rise of the Me-centered society, or, in sociological terms, the process of individuation, the decline of community understood in terms of space, work, family, and ascription in general.
This is not the end of community, and not the end of place-based interaction, but there is a shift toward the reconstruction of social relationships, including strong cultural and personal ties that could be considered a form of community, on the basis of individual interests, values, and projects. The process of individuation is not just a matter of cultural evolution, it is materially produced by the new forms of organizing economic activities, and social and political life, as I analyzed in my trilogy on the Information Age Castells — It is based on the transformation of space metropolitan life , work and economic activity rise of the networked enterprise and networked work processes , culture and communication shift from mass communication based on mass media to mass self-communication based on the Internet ; on the crisis of the patriarchal family, with increasing autonomy of its individual members; the substitution of media politics for mass party politics; and globalization as the selective networking of places and processes throughout the planet.
But individuation does not mean isolation, or even less the end of community. Sociability is reconstructed as networked individualism and community through a quest for like-minded individuals in a process that combines online interaction with offline interaction, cyberspace and the local space. Individuation is the key process in constituting subjects individual or collective , networking is the organizational form constructed by these subjects; this is the network society, and the form of sociability is what Rainie and Wellman conceptualized as networked individualism.
Network technologies are of course the medium for this new social structure and this new culture Papacharissi As stated above, academic research has established that the Internet does not isolate people, nor does it reduce their sociability; it actually increases sociability, as shown by myself in my studies in Catalonia Castells , Rainie and Wellman in the United States , Cardoso in Portugal , and the World Internet Survey for the world at large Center for the Digital Future et al.
Furthermore, a major study by Michael Willmott for the British Computer Society Trajectory Partnership has shown a positive correlation, for individuals and for countries, between the frequency and intensity of the use of the Internet and the psychological indicators of personal happiness. He used global data for 35, people obtained from the World Wide Survey of the University of Michigan from to Controlling for other factors, the study showed that Internet use empowers people by increasing their feelings of security, personal freedom, and influence, all feelings that have a positive effect on happiness and personal well-being.
The effect is particularly positive for people with lower income and who are less qualified, for people in the developing world, and for women. Age does not affect the positive relationship; it is significant for all ages. Why women? Because they are at the center of the network of their families, Internet helps them to organize their lives. Also, it helps them to overcome their isolation, particularly in patriarchal societies. The Internet also contributes to the rise of the culture of autonomy.
The key for the process of individuation is the construction of autonomy by social actors, who become subjects in the process. They do so by defining their specific projects in interaction with, but not submission to, the institutions of society. This is the case for a minority of individuals, but because of their capacity to lead and mobilize they introduce a new culture in every domain of social life: in work entrepreneurship , in the media the active audience , in the Internet the creative user , in the market the informed and proactive consumer , in education students as informed critical thinkers, making possible the new frontier of e-learning and m-learning pedagogy , in health the patient-centered health management system in e-government the informed, participatory citizen , in social movements cultural change from the grassroots, as in feminism or environmentalism , and in politics the independent-minded citizen able to participate in self-generated political networks.
There is increasing evidence of the direct relationship between the Internet and the rise of social autonomy. From to I directed in Catalonia one of the largest studies ever conducted in Europe on the Internet and society, based on 55, interviews, one-third of them face to face IN3 — As part of this study, my collaborators and I compared the behavior of Internet users to non-Internet users in a sample of 3, people, representative of the population of Catalonia.
Because in only about 40 percent of people were Internet users we could really compare the differences in social behavior for users and non-users, something that nowadays would be more difficult given the 79 percent penetration rate of the Internet in Catalonia. Although the data are relatively old, the findings are not, as more recent studies in other countries particularly in Portugal appear to confirm the observed trends.
We constructed scales of autonomy in different dimensions. Only between 10 and 20 percent of the population, depending on dimensions, were in the high level of autonomy.
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But we focused on this active segment of the population to explore the role of the Internet in the construction of autonomy. Using factor analysis we identified six major types of autonomy based on projects of individuals according to their practices:. These six types of autonomous practices were statistically independent among themselves. This is a major empirical finding. Because if the dominant cultural trend in our society is the search for autonomy, and if the Internet powers this search, then we are moving toward a society of assertive individuals and cultural freedom, regardless of the barriers of rigid social organizations inherited from the Industrial Age.
From this Internet-based culture of autonomy have emerged a new kind of sociability, networked sociability, and a new kind of sociopolitical practice, networked social movements and networked democracy. I will now turn to the analysis of these two fundamental trends at the source of current processes of social change worldwide. Since creation of Friendster, prior to Facebook a new socio-technical revolution has taken place on the Internet: the rise of social network sites where now all human activities are present, from personal interaction to business, to work, to culture, to communication, to social movements, and to politics.
In it has almost doubled, particularly because of increasing use in China, India, and Latin America. There is indeed a great diversity of social networking sites SNS by countries and cultures. In terms of demographics, age is the main differential factor in the use of SNS, with a drop of frequency of use after 50 years of age, and particularly The main Facebook U.
Nearly 60 percent of adults in the U. Females are as present as males, except when in a society there is a general gender gap. We observe no differences in education and class, but there is some class specialization of SNS, such as Myspace being lower than FB; LinkedIn is for professionals. Thus, the most important activity on the Internet at this point in time goes through social networking, and SNS have become the chosen platforms for all kind of activities, not just personal friendships or chatting, but for marketing, e-commerce, education, cultural creativity, media and entertainment distribution, health applications, and sociopolitical activism.
This is a significant trend for society at large. Let me explore the meaning of this trend on the basis of the still scant evidence. Social networking sites are constructed by users themselves building on specific criteria of grouping.
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There is entrepreneurship in the process of creating sites, then people choose according to their interests and projects. Networks are tailored by people themselves with different levels of profiling and privacy. The key to success is not anonymity, but on the contrary, self-presentation of a real person connecting to real people in some cases people are excluded from the SNS when they fake their identity.
So, it is a self-constructed society by networking connecting to other networks. But this is not a virtual society. There is a close connection between virtual networks and networks in life at large. This is a hybrid world, a real world, not a virtual world or a segregated world. People build networks to be with others, and to be with others they want to be with on the basis of criteria that include those people who they already know a selected sub-segment.
Most users go on the site every day. It is permanent connectivity. If we needed an answer to what happened to sociability in the Internet world, here it is:. Humans have to evolve to think on those terms.
What Does it Mean to be a Global Citizen?
Poverty can easily be wiped out. A world religion, which should advocate a single. Religion— A way of Life founded by all Citizens of the World. The idea of global citizenship is a welcome development. The bulk of the work is to be done in Africa, Asian and South America. Basically in countries where the economy is weak and democratic governance is not at the required standard. In these countries, the global citizenship education should be taken to the people through all available mean.
Social ,economic and political barriers should be envisaged. Hi i am doing a school essay on refugees and global citizenship? Any advice you could give me? International Rescue Committee is a reliable organization doing great work with refugees. They gave me a grant to work with traumatic stress in the Balkans after the war. The UN also has a trustworthy program. Good luck on the essay, Megan. Nancy Roof. A very concise article. You have opened some more eyes in this matter. Thank you for your work!
This page is no longer working. Any advice? Thank you for your interest. Very interesting that the 10 steps are in pink. As far as I can discern the values of plural religiosity and gender equity totally exclude the pure Christian values of a mono-theism and heterosexual marriage between one man and one woman for life.