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Information Technologies and Global Politics

The Changing Scope of Power and Governance

James N. Rosenau, J. P. Singh

Publication Year: 2002

Returning to the fundamentals of political science, namely power and governance, this book studies the relationship between information technologies and global politics. Key issue-areas are carefully examined: security (including information warfare and terrorism); global consumption and production; international telecommunications; culture and identity formation; human rights; humanitarian assistance; the environment; and biotechnology. Each demonstrates the validity of the view now prevalent within international relations research—the shifting of power and the locus of authority away from the state. Three major conclusions are offered. First, the nation-state must now confront, support, or coexist with other international actors: non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations; multinational corporations; transnational social movements; and individuals. Second, our understanding of instrumental and structural powers must be reconfigured to account for digital information technologies. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, information technologies are now reconstituting actor identities and issues.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page

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CONTENTS

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pp. v-vi

LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES

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pp. vii-

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PREFACE

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pp. ix-x

The essays that follow are the product of lengthy processes of conferring, writing, and rewriting on the part of their authors. From the beginning our goal was to bring together scholars who had contributed seminal work on the complex relationships between information technologies and global politics and who would then pool their expertise to clarify and further extend understanding of phenomena ...

ACRONYMS

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pp. xi-xiv

IMPORTANT TERMS

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pp. xv-xvi

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1. INTRODUCTION: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES AND THE CHANGING SCOPE OF GLOBAL POWER AND GOVERNANCE

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pp. 1-38

It is somewhat ironic, and a tad unpoetic, to note that in 1865 as Walt Whitman conjectured about the whispers passing under the seas, across the Atlantic in Paris the industrializing Western powers met to found the International Telegraph Union.1 Zacher echoes Whitman’s concerns in pointing out later in this volume that capitalism in general, the world-spreading factories, and the electric telegraph ...

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2. GLOBAL NETWORKS AND THEIR IMPACT

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pp. 39-62

The spread of integrated global networks is accelerating. Vast and growing quantities of information f low across these networks at ever greater speed and continually declining prices. These technologically sophisticated networks are reshaping the landscape of politics and international relations, transforming global commerce, recasting societies and cultures, and altering policy formulation and ...

PART I: THE CHANGING SCOPE OF POWER

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3. PUBLIC EYES: SATELLITE IMAGERY, THE GLOBALIZATION OF TRANSPARENCY, AND NEW NETWORKS OF SURVEILLANCE

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pp. 65-89

The impact of technological change on international politics occurs in two analytically distinct ways. From an instrumental perspective, new technologies can empower or disempower social actors—states, groups, classes, and institutions. On a more fundamental, but perhaps less visible level, technologies can inf luence the self-understandings and identities of social actors and perhaps even the ...

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4. INFORMATIONAL META-TECHNOLOGIES, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, AND GENETIC POWER: THE CASE OF BIOTECHNOLOGIES

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pp. 91-112

Meta-technologies are politically critical because they vastly expand the capacity of state and non-state actors to exercise genetic power—control over the informational bases of the materials, structures, and ideas that are the stuff of power in its instrumental, structural, and symbolic forms. The increasing use of metatechnologies to exercise genetic power is changing the rules of the game in international ...

PART II: THE CHANGING SCOPE OF POWER AND GOVERNANCE

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5. CIRCUITS OF POWER: SECURITY IN THE INTERNET ENVIRONMENT

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pp. 115-142

In 1995, the United States Central Intelligence Agency and Department of Defense issued a joint press release noting that “The security of information systems and networks is the major security challenge of this decade and possibly the next century.” Given the pantheon of both old and new security threats—from nuclear weapons to environmental degradation—such a pronouncement was of no minor significance. ...

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6. THE GLOBAL POLITICAL ECONOMY OF WINTELISM: A NEW MODE OF POWER AND GOVERNANCE IN THE GLOBAL COMPUTER INDUSTRY

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pp. 143-168

Technological competition in the global information industries—the leading sector in the contemporary global political economy—is currently moving beyond competition over technological innovation per se. The technological winner is now the one who manages to control de facto market standards while at the same time protecting intellectual property rights. Moreover, the new mode of technological competition ...

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7. NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND CONSUMPTION: CONTRADICTIONS IN THE EMERGING WORLD ORDER

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pp. 169-185

Capitalism is inherently innovative. In a competitive capitalist system, the need to implement increasingly efficient ways of producing, distributing and selling commodities is ever present. But nations, communities and individuals are not machines— people can not be readily manipulated or “upgraded” in ways that are always accommodating to such systemic compulsions. New technologies, regardless ...

PART III: GOVERNANCE IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS

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8. CAPITALISM, TECHNOLOGY, AND LIBERALIZATION: THE INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS REGIME, 1865–1998

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pp. 189-210

Open and coordinated communications f lows between countries are vital for international firms, governments, and national populations. This chapter outlines the promotion of commercial openness from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. It focuses on regulations concerning jurisdictional rights, technical standards, as well as market ...

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9. UNDERSTANDING SHIFTS IN THE FORM AND SCOPE OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS GOVERNANCE: CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

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pp. 211-237

The telecommunications sector has undergone a number of significant changes in the last decades. These include tremendous growth in business and consumer demand for communications services and information technologies, the building of cross-industry alliances and mergers and acquisitions among communications and information firms previously operating only in distinct sectors, the creation ...

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10. NEGOTIATING REGIME CHANGE: THE WEAK, THE STRONG AND THE WTO TELECOM ACCORD

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pp. 239-272

The WTO telecommunications accord signed on 15th February, 1997 formalizes the new regime in telecommunications.1 This regime, signed by 69 countries including 40 less developed countries (LDCs), accounts for over 90 percent of the world’s telecommunications revenues.2 Historically, telecommunications sectors were controlled or operated according to domestic priorities. The new regime, ...

CONCLUSION

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11. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES AND THE SKILLS, NETWORKS, AND STRUCTURES THAT SUSTAIN WORLD AFFAIRS

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pp. 275-287

It is more permissive than dismissive to argue that information and information technologies are essentially neutral. They do not in themselves tilt in the direction of any particular values—neither toward good or bad, nor left or right, nor open or closed systems. They are, rather, neutral, in the sense that their tilt is provided by people. It is people and their collectivities that infuse values into information. For ...

LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS

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pp. 289-291

INDEX

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pp. 293-309

SUNY series in Global Politics

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E-ISBN-13: 9780791489451
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791452035
Print-ISBN-10: 0791452034

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2002

Series Title: SUNY series in Global Politics
Series Editor Byline: James N. Rosenau

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Subject Headings

  • Power (Social sciences).
  • Information technology -- Political aspects.
  • Information society -- Political aspects.
  • State, The.
  • International relations.
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