Walking on the Other Side of the Information Highway: Communication, Culture and Development in the 21st Century

By Jan Servaes - 2008

Governments sometimes seem to forget that information and communication technologies may not only have a direct impact on the economic development, but also on the political organization, and socio-cultural value system of a society. Many policy-makers seem to assume that technical and economic progress is simply a means to an end and that it hardly affects the culture in which it occurs. It seems as if they believe that they can achieve Western-style progress while at the same time retain the essential parts of their culture. This book edited by Jan Servaes takes a closer look at the other side of the information highway. It wants to find out what is happening on and around the dirt roads. It does so by looking at the problems of communication, culture and development from different perspectives: historical and futuristic, theoretical and applied, institutional and organizational, strategic and methodological. Global and local, globalization and localisation, are terms which could be used to characterize the processes of growing interconnection and interdependence in the contemporary world. It is generated by growing international economic, cultural and political cooperation and links, as well as by the need to respond together to complex problems which can be solved only on a planetary scale. The world is "shrinking" as a result of increased human mobility, and the increasing contacts between the world’s people, possibly with the aid of cheap and speedy travel, the telephone, fax and the Internet. Barriers have been eased with the reduction in trade barriers, the expansion of capital flow and the transfer of technology. However, we lack insights into how the processes of cultural globalization and localisation actually operate in locally defined public spheres. We consequently also lack insights into how the global is linked to the local and how new perceptions of the global and the local lead to adjusted (cultural) identities. These are the issues which the 12 contributing authors of this book are trying to get a grip on.

Southbound Publications, Penang, Malaysia (2000).

By Jan Servaes| 2008


Communication rights enable all people everywhere to express themselves individually and collectively by all means of communication. They are vital to full participation in society and are, therefore, universal human rights belonging to every man, woman, and child.


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