Deliberating the 2010 Olympic Protests Online Gary Shilling 3
Knowledge is essentially a public good, but in the global information free market there isan antagonism between the creation of social capital and the commodification of information and knowledge. The goal of the exploration herein was to understand how the colliding forces of competition and cooperation are socially shaped andtechnologically mediated in digital space by engaging in a case study that monitoredonline stories around the 2010 Olympic protests in Vancouver, examining the originsand sharing of these stories, and investigating the dialectic that emerged.
This study was guided by the understanding that participation is an essentialelement of democracy, where “participation in the political requires communication as itis premised on the articulation, expression or contestation of positions” (Siapera, 2007,p.154). Within this construct of society, critical theory provides an appropriateframework for examining the power dynamic between capitalism and democracy on theInternet. It addresses issues in terms of resource distribution and social struggles— viewing reality in terms of ownership, private property, power, resource control,exploitation, and domination (Fuchs, 2009).Underlying these themes, it is understood that social phenomena do not have linearcauses and effects, but are contradictory, open, dynamic, and conceived of in complexforms (Fuchs, 2009). Critical theory, and by extension critical discourse analysis, isinterested in what society could become, and this inquiry studies the potential for theInternet to foster positive social change. Within dominant critical theory, the FrankfurtSchool sees the increasing corporate control of media reflected in the global convergenceof media industry and technology as an impediment to change, and emancipation