Localizing the Internet. Ethical Aspects in Intercultural Perspective
Edited by Rafael Capurro, Johannes Frühbauer, Thomas Hausmanninger. Munich: Fink Verlag 2007, ICIE Book Series - Schriftenreihe des ICIE, Vol. 4, 363 pages, ISBN 978-3-7705-4200-0 (€ 49,-)
This book offers a selection of papers presented at the symposium organized by the International Center for Information Ethics (ICIE) in October 2004. The symposium was sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation, organized by the Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart, and hosted by the Center for Art and Media (ZKM Karlsruhe). We thank the Volkswagen Foundation for its generous financial support and ZKM for the hospitality. We also thank Océ Deutschland and the FAZIT Stiftung for sponsoring the printing of this publication. All other papers presented at the symposium were published in the International Review of Information Ethics (IRIE).
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About this book
The ongoing debate on the impact of the Internet at global and local levels is at the core of today's and tomorrow's political decision-making, particularly in a world that turns more and more unified - and divided. It is also at the core of academic research on what has been called Information Ethics. The leading ethical question is how embodied human life is possible within local cultural traditions and the horizon of a global digital environment. The book deals with this question from four perspectives:
1. The Quest for Intercultural Information Ethics: This part addresses problems of founding internet ethics in a global and culturally diverse space. How is it possible to generate or find a more or less common ethical basis? Can there be a universal normative framework or would that be an affront against the cultural diversity? What does it mean, to respect otherness and at the same time to be able to get together in the net and solve unavoidable conflicts?
2. Internet for Social and Political Development: How many people with different cultural backgrounds integrate the Internet in their lives? This concerns in the first place community building. How far does the Internet affect, for better or worse, local community building? How far does it allow democratic consultation? How do people construct their lives within this medium? How does it affect their customs. languages, and everyday problems? The question about information justice is thus not just an issue of giving everybody access to the global network, but rather an issue on how the digital network helps people to better manage their lives while avoiding the dangers of exploitation and discrimination.
3. Internet for Cultural Development: "Culture" has received revived attention in the last decade by scholars around the world - our lives and identities are culturally grounded and the global interactions certainly have quite an impact on our cultural development. Since cultural imperialism cannot be an option, the questions are, if and how the local can reshape the global, and if and how the global may inspire or further the local? What do technological innovations mean in cultural terms? How do we construct identity in the net? Should we further place-networking instead or accompanying world-networking?
4. Internet for Economic Development: Obviously there is a large economic impact of the Internet. But is it a medium that helps people to better opportunities for economic development? Or is it an instrument of oppression and colonialism? What is the impact of this technology on the environment? How does it affect what has been called cultural memory or cultural sustainability?
The book offers internationally grounded perspectives on these issues, focussing on Asia, Africa, Latin America, USA and Europe.
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