CyberDemocracy: Internet and the Public Sphere
Technology & Sociology
10/27/2000; 10:55:27 AM 'If the technological structure of the Internet institutes costless reproduction, instantaneous dissemination and radical decentralization, what might be its effects upon the society, the culture and the political institutions?
'There can be only one answer to this question and that is that it is the wrong question. Technologically determined effects derive from a broad set of assumptions in which what is technological is a configuration of materials that effect other materials and the relation between the technology and human beings is external, that is, where human beings are understood to manipulate the materials for ends that they impose upon the technology from a preconstituted position of subjectivity. But what the Internet technology imposes is a dematerialization of communication and in many of its aspects a transformation of the subject position of the individual who engages within it. The Internet resists the basic conditions for asking the question of the effects of technology.'
This post was prompted by an astonishingly length Slashdot Katz essay, Cyberdemocracy and the Public Sphere, proving that good can come from bad.
Note that this was written in 1995. It's an interesting, if dense, essay.