Darren Purcell and Philip E. Steinberg
Electronic communications refer to forms of communication where ideas and information are embedded in spatially mobile electronic signals. These include the internet, telephony, television, and radio. Electronic communications are linked to state power in a complex and, at times, contradictory manner. More specifically, a tension exists between divergent pressures toward constructing electronic communication spaces as spaces of state power, as spaces of escape, and as spaces for contesting state power. On the one hand, states often invest in infrastructure and empower regulatory institutions as they seek to intensify their presence within national territory, for example, or project their influence beyond territorial borders. The widespread use of electronic communication technologies to facilitate governmental power is especially evident in the realm of cyberwarfare. E-government platforms have also been created to foster interaction with the state through electronic means. On the other hand, communication systems thrive through the idealization (and, ideally, the regulatory construction) of a space without borders, whereby individuals might bypass, or even actively work to subvert, state authority. Just as the internet has been seen as a means for state power to monitor the everyday lives and subjectivities of the citizenry, it has also been employed as a tool for democratization. Various institutions have emerged to govern specific electronic communication networks, including those that are focused on reproducing the power of individual states, those that operate in the realm of intergovernmental organizations, those that devolve power to actors in local government, and those that empower corporations or civil society.
Jonathan D. Aronson and Peter F. Cowhey
Major trends in information and communication technology (ICT) are transforming the global commercial and technology landscape. Since 1945, the US market has been the most consistent agenda setter for the global market. But now, as economic gloom haunts the world, and as a new President settles in the United States, predictions abound that American dominance in international relations will give way to the leadership of China or others. However, if the United States acts vigorously on the policy front, it can maintain its international leadership position until at least 2025. In addition, the information revolution has also accelerated the changing of international actors’ roles. This is because the web and the information revolution had resulted in tremendous security, political, economic, social, and cultural consequences, which altered the roles of countries, companies, non-governmental actors, and international institutions in the conduct of international relations. ICTs can also leave a significant impact on foreign policy, as these can affect democratic and authoritarian rule, as well as give rise to the “CNN effect,” which is a relatively recent phenomenon which has a tendency to alter the extent, depth, and speed of the new global media. As the ICT revolution spreads across the planet it also resets the international relations playing field, with significant consequences for security, and political, economic, social, and cultural interactions.
Nanette S. Levinson
Over the last five decades, discussions and approaches to communication and development have evolved considerably. Some of these changes particularly focus on the transformation of the nation-state from its initial conception fifty years ago to its current formation, as well as the transition from the study of political and economic progress to the analysis of cultural components and social development today. These major approaches include modernization; diffusion of innovation; dependency paradigm; monistic-emancipatory approach; institutional theory approach; industrial policy; strategic restructuring model; evolutionary paradigm; interorganizational approach; ecosystem approach; and an approach that highlights culture, power, and gender dimensions. Part of this investigation are the emerging research trends in communication and development, which involves a “back to the future” trend and an investigation of the new actors and new technologies in the current communication field. This leads to a discourse about the significance of additional research that could provide new perspectives about communication and development on a larger scale. Additional research is needed in order to capture processes such as cross-organizational learning and improvisation in terms of communication and development, and to recognize the roles of power and culture in these domains. Furthermore, taking a co-processes approach prevents one from assuming that there is only one correct pathway in the field of communication and development
International regimes are often described as regularized patterns of cooperative interaction or behavior among international actors such as nation-states. They also provide the most concrete instances of international cooperation. One example is the telecommunications regime, which grapples with issues such as satellites, radio and television broadcasting, surveillance, and sending of voice or data messages. Until the late 1970s or early 1980s, the international communications regime was dominated by state- or privately-owned monopolies in the communication industries. Recently, this cartel has unraveled and communication markets worldwide have moved toward privatization and liberalization, which led to changes in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Intelsat. The ITU was initially seen as strongly resistant to liberalization, but the current view is that it eventually came around to supporting it. The ITU still remains the premier authority arbitrating interconnection protocols, frequency distribution and arbitrations, and weighs in on prices and standards. Intelsat, meanwhile, has become a much weaker organization as a result of the regime change toward liberalization. As competitive private and regional satellite systems have developed, Intelsat is now one among many telecommunication satellite carriers in the world, although it remains the largest provider of fixed satellite services. Various forms of Internet governance have also emerged, reflecting a mix of private and public authorities at national and international levels. In electronic commerce, the emerging regime reflects the overall rubric of the principles and norms of global liberalization.
Ideas and people may be mobilized in order to influence the thinking of policy makers or society to either promote a specific point of view or enact policy in the form of laws or programs that benefit the ideas or people. This mobilization of ideas and people is known as political advocacy, which falls into two broad categories: social action and social mobilization, which can—but not necessarily—give rise to social movements, and interest and lobbying groups. According to Mancur Olson, groups are organized to pursue a common good or benefit. The success or failure of such groups can be explained using models such as the classical model, the resource mobilization model, and the “political process” model. The success of political advocacy is contingent upon a number of interrelated concepts and characteristics, including access to resources (money, people, and time), good leadership, a sense of identity or common focus, and the opportunity to be heard. A movement can distribute its message to its target audience—for example, policy makers, opinion leaders, potential participants, or the public at large—by means of information and communications technologies (ICTs). Two theses are used to assess the effectiveness of ICTs in political advocacy: the mobilization thesis and the reinforcement thesis. The inclusion of international communication has enriched our understanding of how, when, where, and why political advocacy is or is not effective.
Elizabeth C. Hanson
International communication (also referred to as global communication or transnational communication) is the communication practice that occurs across international borders. As a field of study, international communication is a branch of communication studies, concerned with the scope of “government-to-government,” “business-to-business,” and “people-to-people” interactions at a global level. Apart from journalism, international communication also occurs in other areas and the nature of the “information” that is circulated can be classified in a wide variety of categories, such as cultural, scientific, and intelligence. Efficient communication networks had played crucial roles in establishing ancient imperial authority and international trade. The extent of empire could be used as an indication of the efficiency of communication. Ancient empires such as Rome, Persia, and China all utilized writing in collecting information and creating enormous postal and dispatch systems. By the fifteenth-century, news had been disseminated trans-nationally in Europe. During the post-Cold War era, the intense relations of super powers halted with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the emergence of the Third World countries meant that the unequally developed communication order can no longer exist. But the moment international communications stepped into the information age, the convergence of telecommunication and computing and the ability to move all types of data—pictures, words, sounds—via the Internet have revolutionized international information exchange.
Carolyn M. Shaw
Facebook is a social networking site created in 2004 which has since obtained over a billion users, and it has the potential to facilitate learning in the classroom. With the widespread use of Facebook in society, it simply makes sense to look into ways it might be used in higher education. In fact, a number of studies have been done by scholars in different disciplines regarding the use of Facebook (in general and in academia). These include studies by scholars in library science, education, media and communication, psychology, management information systems, business, political science, marketing, instructional technology, and commerce and accounting. Students come to school wired and are willing and eager to use technology, but higher education has a well-established trend toward non-adoption of new technologies. A variety of studies on the use of Facebook, however, indicate that there are a wide number of potential benefits to using Facebook as an educational tool. There are four inter-related potential benefits: creating a sense of community and promoting collaboration, enhancing communication between instructors and students, developing computer literacy and language skills, and incorporating current student culture into the learning environment. In addition, Facebook is particularly well suited for sharing and discussion of current events in the news.
Technology standards are norms or requirements established by consensus and approved by a recognized body that sets uniform engineering or technical criteria. They also come in three types: reference, minimum quality, and compatibility standards. A reference standard is a material, device, or instrument whose assigned value is known relative to national standards or nationally accepted measurement systems. A minimum quality standard, meanwhile, sets criteria for quality, permitting sellers to certify a good or a service as meeting (or not) those criteria. Finally, compatibility standards set criteria for how a device works with other devices. Technology standards have always been important in the world economy, but they are becoming more so in the electronic age. Firms compete with one another for the prestige of establishing a new standard and especially technology platforms or architectures, and governments try to get standards adopted internationally that result in more local jobs and income. This is increasingly difficult as the world economy becomes more global, but that poses no deterrent. International relations scholars have adopted economist and rationalist choice approaches to standard setting in technology. They go beyond them, however, to talk about standards as part of an overall governance system or regime, especially in international affairs.
Stefan H. Fritsch
Generally considered one of the central driving forces behind globalization, communication has provided the backbone for deep integration of global trade, finance, culture, and so on. Although the importance of knowledge, information, and communication has been widely accepted in contemporary economic and political thought, their economic function only became the subject of scientific interest from a variety of disciplinary perspectives during the 1930s and 1940s. From the early 1950s on, a growing body of scholarly work from various disciplines began to investigate the role of information and communication for the political economy of empires, states, business enterprises, and individuals. Aside from the generally growing economic significance of information and communication for the economic development of societies, the commodification of information itself has become the subject of investigation by political economists. And since various technologies form the basis of international communication, technology studies in recent decades have tried to explain processes of technological invention and innovation and the impact of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) on the architecture of international communication. A growing number of scholars have also analyzed the role of individuals, states, and multinational corporations in the political economy of communication and in a broader sense in international relations.