Broadening Citizen Inclusion in Technology Policy Related to Emerging Ubiquitous Network Societies: The Role of Social Informatics and Alternative Futures Scenarios in an Information and Communication Technology Curriculum

By Jenifer Sunrise Winter.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper examines citizen involvement in forming technology policy related to emerging ubiquitous network societies. The complexity of modern life has created a heightened awareness of risks created through the advance of modern technologies, as well as a deeper awareness of the limitations of expert knowledge (Beck, 1992; Giddens, 1990). While technologies such as the World Wide Web, social media, and mobile telephony have the potential to transform democratic discourse and increase feedback into the policy-making process, indications are that, overall, it has not been greatly enriched. Citizens often feel disconnected from the policy-making process and are overwhelmed by rapid and ongoing scientific and technical advances. In particular, this paper addresses college-level education designed to challenge students to become more engaged in shaping these emerging systems and describes an approach using social informatics as a conceptual framework and alternative futures scenario building as part of a redesigned curriculum in information and communication technology (ICT) and policy courses in the School of Communications at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Keywords: Ubiquitous Network Societies, Ubiquitous Computing, Public Role in Technology Policy, Higher Education, Futures Studies, Sociotechnical Systems, Social Informatics

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.285-296. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 554.685KB).

Dr. Jenifer Sunrise Winter

Assistant Professor, School of Communications, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, USA

Jenifer Sunrise Winter is an Assistant Professor of Networked Policy in the School of Communications at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Dr Winter’s research focuses on communication policy and planning in the context of emerging information and communications technologies (ICTs), including the role of the public in forming technology policy. She teaches courses related to information and communication policies and technologies, emphasizing wireless communication and the Internet in Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific region. Her teaching emphasizes the development of foundational skill-based and concept-based aspects of ICT and media literacy, and also a higher-level analysis involving critical reflection that will enable students to apply what they have learned to issues that emerge in the future. Prior to joining the School of Communications, she worked in commercial radio and for the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance. She serves as Secretary of the Right to Communicate Group.