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Science, Technology, and Mathematics > Social Aspects

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Beyond Broadband Access Cover

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Beyond Broadband Access

Developing Data-Based Information Policy Strategies

After broadband access, what next? What role do metrics play in understanding “information societies”? And, more importantly, in shaping their policies? Beyond counting people with broadband access, how can economic and social metrics inform broadband policies, help evaluate their outcomes, and create useful models for achieving national goals? Broadly described, this book addresses those questions. Information metrics are important, and often political. For example, what does it mean that one economy is ranked higher than another on a list of some e-measure? Any deeper understanding of a complex, multi-dimensional set of variables based on extensive data is lost in an international game of “we’re better than you are” or asking “how can we catch up?” While there is broad international consensus that policy decisions are improved if they are informed by empirical data, there is no accepted standard as to which data matters. Many possible information indicators have been measured. But standing alone, what do they tell us? Which ones are important? Does their selection predetermine certain outcomes? Can they be transformed into truly useful policy tools? How do we know which data to collect, unless there are identified goals? This book is divided into two parts – the first deals with theoretical aspects of measuring information and the issues that should be taken into consideration when designing broadband-focused information policy; while the second demonstrates how data has been both used and abused for argumentation purposes with regards to choices among different policy paths.

Coding Places Cover

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Coding Places

Software Practice in a South American City

Yuri Takhteyev

An examination of software practice in Brazil that reveals both the globalization and the localization of software development.

Democratizing Technology Cover

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Democratizing Technology

Andrew Feenberg's Critical Theory of Technology

Largely because of the Internet and the new economy, technology has become the buzzword of our culture. But what is it, and how does it affect our lives? More importantly, can we control and shape it, or does it control us? In short, can we make technology more democratic? Using the work of Andrew Feenberg, one of the most important and original figures in the field of philosophy of technology, as a foundation, the contributors to this volume explore these important questions and Feenberg responds. In the 1990s, Feenberg authored three books that established him as one of the leading scholars in a rapidly developing field, and he is one of the few to delineate a theory for democratizing technological design. He has demonstrated the shortcomings of traditional theories of technology and argued for what he calls “democratic rationalization” where actors intervene in the technological design process to shape it toward their own ends. In this book, the contributors analyze foundational issues in Feenberg’s work, including questions of human nature, biotechnology, gender, and his readings of Heidegger, and they also examine practical issues, including democratizing technology, moral evaluation, and environmentalism.

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East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal

Vol. 1 (2007) through current issue

Sponsored by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal (EASTS) aims to bring together East Asian and Western scholars from the fields of science, technology, and society (STS). Examining issues such as human embryonic stem-cell research, family and reproductive technologies, and the globalization of Chinese medicine, the journal publishes research on how society and culture in East Asia interact with science, technology, and medicine. EASTS serves as a gathering place to facilitate the growing efforts of STS networks from Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, North America, and Europe to foster an internationally open and inclusive community.

Engineering and Social Justice Cover

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Engineering and Social Justice

In the University and Beyond

Edited by Caroline Baillie, Alice Pawley, and Donna Riley

An increasing number of researchers and educators in the field of engineering wish to integrate considerations of social justice into their work and practice. In this volume, an international team of authors, from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, invite scholars to think and teach in new ways that acknowledge the social, as well as technical, impact engineering can have on our world and that open possibilities for social justice movements to help shape engineering/technology. The book examines three areas of an engineering academic’s professional role: teaching, research, and community engagement. Some of the authors have created classes to help students think through their roles as engineering practitioners in a changing society, and present case studies here. They also explore questions of access to engineering education. Others contributors are focusing their research on improving the lives of the marginalized and powerless. Yet others are engaging local groups and exploring ways in which universities might serve their communities and in which academic institutions can themselves be more socially just. The contributors take a broad social and ecological justice perspective to critique existing practices and explore alternatives. The result is a handbook for all scholars of engineering who think beyond the technical elements of their field, and an essential reader for anyone who believes in the transformative power of the discipline.

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Finding Augusta

Habits of Mobility and Governance in the Digital Era

Heidi Rae Cooley

Finding Augusta breaks new ground, revising how media studies interpret the relationship between our bodies and technology. This is a challenging exploration of how, for both good and ill, the sudden ubiquity of mobile devices, GPS systems, haptic technologies, and other forms of media alter individuals' experience of their bodies and shape the social collective. The author succeeds in problematizing the most salient fact of contemporary mobile media technologies, namely, that they have become, like highways and plumbing, an infrastructure that regulates habit.

Audacious in its originality, Finding Augusta will be of great interest to art and media scholars alike.

From Pigeons to News Portals Cover

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From Pigeons to News Portals

Foreign Reporting and the Challenge of New Technology

David Perlmutter

Ever since the invention of the telegraph, journalists have sought to remove the barriers of time and space. Today, we readily accept that reporters can jet quickly to a distant location and broadcast instantly from a satellite-connected, video-enabled cell phone hanging from their belts. But now that live news coverage is possible from virtually anywhere, is foreign correspondence better? And what are the implications of recent changes in journalistic technology for policy makers and their constituents? In From Pigeons to News Portals, edited by David D. Perlmutter and John Maxwell Hamilton, scholars and journalists survey, probe, and demystify the new foreign correspondence that has emerged from rapidly changing media technology. These distinguished authors challenge long-held beliefs about foreign news coverage, not the least of which is whether, in our interconnected world, such a thing as "foreign news" even exists anymore. Essays explore the ways people have used new media technology--from satellites and cell phones to the Internet--to affect content, delivery modes, and amount and style of coverage. They examine the ways in which speedy reporting conflicts with in-depth reporting, the pros and cons of "parachute" journalism, the declining dominance of mainstream media as a source of foreign news, and the implications of this new foreign correspondence for foreign policy. Entertainment media such as film, television, and video gaming form worldwide opinions about America, often in negative ways. Meanwhile, live reporting abroad is both a blessing and curse for foreign policy makers. Because foreign news is so vital to effective policy making and citizenship, we imperil our future by failing to understand the changes technology brings and how we can wrest the best practice out of those changes. This provocative volume offers valuable insights and analyses to help us better understand the evolving state of foreign news.

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Invisible Users

Youth in the Internet Cafés of Urban Ghana

Jenna Burrell

An account of how young people in Ghana’s capital city adopt and adapt digital technology in the margins of the global economy.

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Monitoring Movements in Development Aid

Recursive Partnerships and Infrastructures

Casper Bruun Jensen

In <I>Monitoring Movements in Development Aid</I>, Casper Jensen and Brit Winthereik consider the processes, social practices, and infrastructures that are emerging to monitor development aid, discussing both empirical phenomena and their methodological and analytical challenges. Jensen and Winthereik focus on efforts by aid organizations to make better use of information technology; they analyze a range of <I>development aid information infrastructures</I> created to increase accountability and effectiveness. They find that constructing these infrastructures is not simply a matter of designing and implementing technology but entails forging new platforms for action that are simultaneously imaginative and practical, conceptual and technical. After presenting an analytical platform that draws on science and technology studies and the anthropology of development, Jensen and Winthereik present an ethnography- based analysis of the mutually defining relationship between aid partnerships and infrastructures; the crucial role of users (both actual and envisioned) in aid information infrastructures; efforts to make aid information dynamic and accessible; existing monitoring activities of an environmental NGO; and national-level performance audits, which encompass concerns of both external control and organizational learning.Jensen and Winthereik argue that central to the emerging movement to monitor development aid is the blurring of means and ends: aid information infrastructures are both technological platforms for knowledge about aid and forms of aid and empowerment in their own right.

Moving Money Cover

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Moving Money

The Future of Consumer Payment

edited by Robert E. Litan and Martin Neil Baily

Once we paid for things with bills, coins, or checks. Today we pay with zeroes and ones —digital entries on credit and debit cards, or electronic messages sent over the Internet. In Moving Money, distinguished analysts explore this trend, its development and likely future, and the ramifications of this transformation.

This is a book about money as a medium of exchange —in the past, in the present, but particularly in the future. What forms has money taken over the years? Moreover, how have those means of payment changed in recent years, and how will they develop in the future? And what (if anything) should policymakers do to facilitate those changes, or at least allow them to develop and mature? Brookings economists Robert E. Litan and Martin Neil Baily and a distinguished group of experts dissect these issues and peer into the future of consumer payments.

The landscape of the consumer payments industry will be shaped at least in part by public policies. Historically, governments have had monopolies on the manufacture of money. Any form of payment clearly requires trust on the part of both the seller and the buyer, and the government must establish and enforce laws to secure this relationship. More controversial is the issue of whether, and to what extent, government is also needed to protect the market in private sector payments systems.

Why do these issues matter? The payments industry is a large and important sector of developed economies. In the United States, private-sector payments providers generate approximately $280 billion a year in revenue, while the government invests substantial resources into making money (minting coins and printing bills) or moving it (via checks and various electronic transfers). And the way we pay for things influences our purchases —what we spend money on, how much we spend, and where we spend it. Thus the future of consumer payments is intertwined with the health of national economies.

Contributors: Martin Neil Baily (Brookings), Thomas P. Brown (O'Melveny & Myers), Kenneth Chenault (American Express Company), Vijay D'Silva (McKinsey and Company), Nicholas Economides (New York University), David S. Evans (Market Platform Dynamics), Robert E. Litan (Brookings and Kaufmann Foundation), Drazen Prelec (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Richard Schmalensee (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

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