Virtuality Check: Power Relations and Alternative Strategies in the Information Society by Francois Fortier
Information and communications technologies (ICTs) and the new economy they herald are generally either glorified as unprecedented opportunities for post-industrial enfranchisement, or vilified as a mirage conjured up for their own ends by those who run the world.
This book sets out to review the relationship between information technologies and society. It examines the development of ICTs, and explores the ways in which they are used to subjugate workers, manipulate consumers, and extend media monopolies and commercial control. Heavily steered as they are towards the interests of the state and corporate sectors Francois Fortier argues that ICTs currently do little more than polarize economic and political power in an anti-democratic fashion. Yet alternative forms and uses of ICTs do exist and have been promoted by progressive social sectors for nearly two decades. Concluding with a study of these initiatives, Fortier proposes a new political economy of ICTs, aimed at facilitating rather than obstructing democracy.