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Political Science and the Internet

Political Science and the Internet

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Max Kaase about the importance of Internet in the social and political sciences.
Max Kaase about the importance of Internet in the social and political sciences.

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Published by: Tiberiu Catalin Tuinea on May 28, 2013
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Political Science and the InternetAuthor(s): Max KaaseReviewed work(s):Source:
International Political Science Review / Revue internationale de science politique,
Vol.21, No. 3, CyberPolitics in International Relations. CyberPolitique et relations internationales(Jul., 2000), pp. 265-282Published by:
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InternationalPoliticalScienceReview2000),Vol21,No.3,265-282
PoliticalScience andthe Internet
MAXKAASE
ABSTRACT.heGutenberginvention ofprintinghas been amajorpreconditionfor thedevelopmentofpresent-dayscience and the sciencesystem.Withthis historicalanalogueas astarting point,thearticleaddresses thepresentand futureimpactoftheemergenceofelectroniccommunication networks asepitomizedbytheInternetand the WorldWideWebon thefutureorganizationandoperationofthesciencesystem, including politicalscienceand theeffects that canalreadybefoundinthe sciencesystem.Theanalysisfinds that theimpactofelectronic communication isalreadystronglyfelt in the "hard"sciences,but much less sointhehumanitiesandsocialsciences,althoughitspotentialthere is alsolarge.Electroniccommunicationis afield wherethesocial sciences shouldengagemuchmorein researchthan ispresentlydone.Keywords:Electronicpublishing*Informationtechnology*Internet*Socialsciencesystem
TheGutenbergGalaxyatthe Crossroads
Theagentofchangewill be theInternet,bothliterallyndas a model ormetaphor.The Internet sinterestingnotonlyasa massive ndpervasivelobal
network but also as anexampleofsomethingthat has evolvedwithnoapparent
designerncharge,keepingtsshapeverymuch like the formationof aflowofducks.Nobodystheboss,and all thepiecesare so farscalingadmirably(Negroponte,1995:181).Electronicpublicationsrelikelyo become anessentialcharacteristicf the workenvironmentf scholars.Those whoadaptwillflourish;hose who resistarelikelyto be left behindinthe dust(acob,1996:208).There is littledisagreementin the literature that themultimediaemergencethrivingonmicrochips,electronicnetworking,and on thedigitalizationof all0192-51212000/07)21:3,265-282;013085?2000International oliticalScienceAssociationSAGEublicationsLondon,ThousandOaks,CA nd NewDelhi)
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InternationaloliticalScienceReview21(3)
kinds ofmessages-be theyaudio, visual,audiovisual orprint-becauseof its far-reaching, penetratingeffectsconstitutes atrue culturalrevolution.Biuhl(1995:51)ismindful of thefact thatthelargest librarybeforeprinting-locatedinAlexandria-contained thewisdom of theworld on halfa millionancient rolls ofscript; today,there arethousands oflibraries,each ofwhich holdsmore infor-mation.Fruihwald(1997;1998),instatingthe end oftheGutenberg galaxy,reflectsboth on thesocio-culturaland thetechnologicalconditions whichmadethatgalaxyblossom,as well as ontheconsequencesforscience of itsemergence.Heemphasizesthat inmedievaltimes,beforeGutenberg,it wasnot theindividualauthor,but the"productivewriter"who was at thecenter of thewrittenculture. Thekeepersof theflame were thecloisterers,thedominantlanguageoftheintelligentsiawasLatin,andthecoupleofhundred books amedievallibrarypossessedwerereproduced byhand(Kaltwasser,1997:13).FromthosedaystheGermanverbverballhornenriginates,referringtothe"productivewriter"JohannBallhorn,whointhesixteenthcenturyincopyingan"ABC ook" let aroosterproduceaneggandclaimedtheintellectualproperty rightsto thisimaginativechange by noting"embellishedandimproved by JohannBallhorn"(Fruhwald,1998:316).Given this situationbeforeprinting,theGutenberginventioncertainlycan alsobecalled a culturalrevolution. Iteffectivelychallengedthe dominance oftheLatinlanguage bypermitting regionallanguagestheirrepresentationandbythuspullinginto the socialcommunicationprocesspartsof thepopulacewho for sheerlanguagereasons hadbeenpreviouslykeptout,although illiteracyremained alimitingfactor forquitesome time. Butthere was also amajorimpactofprintingonscience,asFruhwald,based onElisabethEisenstein's(1979)work,pointsout.Themultiplicationofprintedproductsled to theirstandardization and totheneed toclearlydefine theiridentity.Aprintedstatementgainedaspecial,enhan-cedauthorityoverthespokenorhandwrittenword;at the sametime,printinggavehandwritten documentsthedignityoftheoriginal.Printingbecame atechnologydevoid of aspecialintellectualquality;printing"invented"the role oftheauthor,and with it theemphasisonintellectualpropertyandoncopyrights;andprinting,with itsgrowthofscholarly output,inventedfor the sciencesystemthelogicofpeerreview,whichchallengedthe "natural"authorityofprintedscientific material.Amongthe mainfactorsmakingtheGutenberginvention soconsequentialinthelongrunwere,inthe nineteenthcentury,thedevelopmentofpowerfulprinting pressesfor massproductionand alsothe technicalprocess bywhichpaperbecameabundant and at thesame timeaffordable,aprerequisitefor massprinting.Affordable,ofcourse,at thattime did notimplythat books were to befoundineveryhousehold.Rather,booksbelongedto the social and culturalelites,and it isnotbychance that therisingsocialgroupsstrugglingforrecognitionaround theturnof the nineteenthcenturycreated a broadvarietyofculturalofferingsfortheirgrowingmemberships, includingbook clubs which made it atleastpossibleforworkingclass households toown such acommodity(aswell asgivingaccess tothewritingsofworkingclassprotagonistslikeMarx,Engels,Kautsky,andothers).Withoutspecifyingthecomplexset of factors andtheir interactiondeterminingthegrowthofscience since theeighteenth centuryas asocietalsubsystemwith itsown rules andprocedures, literacyas a result of the riseinmasseducation,theeconomics of industrialsociety,and thelogicofrationalityas aconsequenceof the
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