Politics in Wired Nations

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Ithiel de Sola Pool was a pioneering social scientist, a distinguished scholar of the political process, and one of the most original thinkers in the development of the social sciences. Passionately engaged in politics, he continued his role of leadership throughout his life, building the MIT Political Science Department into an outstanding group. He organized international teams of social scientists and collaborated widely to develop the understanding of social change. He was a frequent adviser to governments as consultant and in-house critic, and a successful advocate of limits on government regulation. Politics in Wired Nations presents his writings on the social and political impact of different communication systems and new telecommunications technology.

Included in this volume is the first study of trends in a global information society, and the first study of social networks and the "small world" phenomenon that creates new relationships and routes of informal influence and political power, both domestic and international. Pool's essays on the politics of foreign trade, the influence of American businessmen on Congress, and changeable "unnatural" institutions of the modern world (e.g., bureaucracies, mega-cities, and nation-states) are herein contained. Pool describes a nonviolent revolution in freedom and political control that is possible as the world changes from the era of one-way mass communications—targeted to national audiences—to a new era of abundant, high-capacity, low-cost, interactive, and user-controlled communications on a global scale. He discusses policy choices for freedom, the battlegrounds ahead, and the risks of government involvement in the regulation of new telecommunication technologies.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This collection of the writings of the late Ithiel de Sola Pool is a timely and useful consideration of the work of a founding father of the political science subdiscipline called "political communication." Etheridge's selections from Pool's vast output covers both Pool's intellectual development and his growing interest in the subject of communication… The book is an excellent guide to the history of the subfield and an inquiry into the fundamental questions of democracy and communication. The editing is well done; many of the selections read like contemporary work and thus are the ultimate tribute to a great social scientist. Strongly recommended for all political science collections.” —E. Lewis, Choice "Ithiel de Sola Pool was the guru as to the impact of the rapidly developing information technology on the quality of life and democratic processes. The essays in this book illumine the field of communications and society with great clarity and brilliant insights. They constitute an essential base for understanding the telecommunications and information revolution." —Henry Galler, The Markle Foundation "Ithiel de Sola Pool was a truly creative and innovative social scientist who firmly believed in the merit and strength of ideas developed in open settings. As the Western adage goes, truth makes one free. Ithiel de Sola Pool not only believed in this but also in the creative and emancipatory nature of technologies in making this adage more deeply and widely realized. He was a person always at ease with different ideas, persons, and environments." —Takashi Inoguchi, former assistant secretary general of the United Nations
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765809414
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/30/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 395
  • Product dimensions: 6.58 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Ithiel de Sola Pool directed the research program in communications at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for thirty years. He was a skeptic of ideologies and resisted manipulation of symbols by political leaders. He believed in the spirit of free inquiry and the contribution of social science to strengthen independent citizen decision making in democracy. As such his visionary writings will appeal to those in the fields of communications, political science, and public policy.

Lloyd S. Etheredge, a political scientist and psychologist, was a member of the MIT faculty for eight years and is former director of Graduate Studies for International Relations at Yale University. His most recent book is Can Governments Learn? He currently directs international telecommunications and public policy projects at the Policy Center, a public foundation founded at the Yale University Law School in 1948.

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