Class Warfare in the Information Age
By Michael Perelman
St. Martin's Press, 1998
Cyberghetto or Cybertopia?: Race, Class, and Gender on the Internet
Edited by Bosah Ebo
Praeger Press, 1998
Cyberspace Divide: Equality, Agency and Policy in the Information Society
Edited by Brian D. Loader
High Technology and Low-Income Communities: Prospects for the Positive Use
of Advanced Information Technology
Edited by Donald A. Schon, Bish Sanyal, and William J. Mitchell
MIT Press, 1999
As 1998 is drawing to a close, and we welcome in the last year of the 20th
century, (with the resultant millenium angst and fascination, fueled by
futurists, Y2K entrepreneurs, the media, and marketers), policymakers,
academics, and miscelleous cyber-pundits are busy speculating on the next
century's technological future. Will we see a society where all citizens
have equal access to new information and communication technologies
(ICTs), or will we see a society where the gap between the information
rich and the information poor is widened, thereby threatening notions of
social cohesion? Will the claims of governments that they will "wire" up
all schools by the year 2000 become a reality, or is this merely a hollow
prediction based on notions of technological transcendence and progress?
Will electronic commerce become the de facto standard of doing business,
or will it lead to a more fragmented society of elites and a new category
of the dispossessed?
Several books have recently been published which lend a sobering look at
the many social justice issues surrounding access to ICTs. Taken together,
they offer cogent criticisms of claims about the "information society"
and offer pragmatic advice in the guise of case studies as to how ICTs can
empower communities and collective groups.