172.2 Evolving online society and the transformation of political organization in internet

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 2:50 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Ilkka ARMINEN , Network for Higher Education and Innovation, HEINE, University of Helsinki, University of Helsinki, Finland
In the full-blown online society everyone is expected to be available all the time everywhere. Online society is expected to develop an m-etiquette of its own, involving norms for reciprocating the messages/calls you get and to be always available. This may accelerate the communication so that copresent interactions and mediated distant exchanges may at times seem to be woven into a seamless web. There are varying views on how political organization will be affected by the evolving online society. Positive views stress empowerment through increased possibilities for participation. The information and communication power of people may be increasing, which enhances potential for democratization; the Arab spring might be considered a supporting case. The negative visions emphasize the side effects of filtering and mass customization that tend to split society into increasingly smaller social groups. The resulting development may cause “balkanization” where society is fragmented into same-minded groups that are incapable to communicate with each other; further, the heightened global competition together with balkanization may lead to “Ozwaldization”, i.e., communality that is degenerated into most primitive identifications resulting premodern group structure, in which groups are inherently hostile to each other. In this presentation, the theoretical visions are tested with the help of empirical data from online debates concerning immigration. Politically, the presentation deals with the rise of new right in Europe, the Finnish new nationalism as a case study.  The features of online society, such as the increased speed of communication and related online affectivity are addressed. Eventually the presentation concerns the question whether Internet communication can be domesticated, i.e., can the net behavior become civilized due to course of time, and phenomena such as hate speech overcome?