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4. The Diverse Uses of Digital Formations

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Chapter Summary

The technical properties of electronic interactive domains deliver their utilities through complex ecologies that include non-technological variables, such as the social and the subjective, as well as the particular cultures of use of different actors. This chapter examines two cases to develop the argument empirically: electronic financial networks and electronic activist networks. Both cases are part of global dynamics and both have been significantly shaped by the three properties of digital networks namely decentralized access/distributed outcomes, simultaneity, and interconnectivity. The condition of the Internet as a decentralized network of networks has fed strong notions about its built-in autonomy from state power and its capacity to enhance democracy from the bottom up via a strengthening of both market dynamics and access by civil society. Digital media are critical for place-centered activists focused on local issues that connect with other such groups around the world.

Keywords: civil society; digital networks; electronic activist networks; electronic financial networks; global dynamics



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