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Issue No. 023

Vol. 23 - November 2015
Global Digital Citizenship
edited by Jared Bielby

The current European refugee crisis presents a major challenge both politically and economically for the EU and indeed the world. Looking beyond mere operative endeavours, the complexity of the crisis reminds us of the fragility of the assumed structures and organization of our (social) being in the world: questioning our being-as-citizen not only of a homeland but of a nation state as well, where geopolitical, cultural and ethnic standards are challenged. Of course, migration has, in part, defined much of human history, whether at an individual level or in terms of major waves of migration during times of war or ethnic persecution. The present migration crisis is not a novel phenomenon, where the exchange of inherited citizenship and acquired rights for asylum in a foreign land is a familiar tale told many times throughout centuries of geo-political upheaval. The major difference between human migrations of history and our current crisis is the scale on which it takes place and the complexity of the causation behind it. The readiness to abandon one’s homeland for asylum has grown exponentially in recent decades, a willingness hampered traditionally by geological barriers such as the Mediterranean Sea, but barriers of which have now through human desperation for asylum, ceased to be. Where there are no such barriers there are hastily erected fences and walls, a futile attempt to dissuade the tide of desperation, but being just another barrier that cannot withstand the mass movements of displaced peoples frantic in their loss of citizenship and homeland.

How different is the citizenship of the online world: there are virtually no barriers to moving around such a world - not only in terms of global communication but across the entire cosmos of the internet and cyberspace. How easy it becomes to quit an online community in order to move to another, a task accomplished by merely a few clicks. Masses do so, entire communities migrate, moving from 'myspace' to 'facebook', the consequence of which is that once seemingly strong and established communities are abandoned and eventually (sometimes suddenly) cease to exist. Furthermore, the argument is made that we have the 'right to be forgotten' in such a world, that in the internet one should be able to move on without leaving one's mark – forcing our abandoned communities to delete our information and thereby making our digital past unavailable to search engines, and thus to history.

On the other hand: the rules of engagement for online communities are not yet developed to a satisfactory level. Many social networks, for example, claim the right to expel members without having to give sufficient reason to do so and with no proper means to appeal their case. When viewed from the perspective of citizenship, bearing in mind that people already spend more time in their online communities than in offline ones, and that being part of particular communities in the web is becoming more and more important to people as being a citizen of a nation state becomes less and less important, we thoroughly have to understand if and how citizenship – and all the fundamental philosophical reflections associated with it – applies to the infosphere. Such concerns define information ethics at its core and are expounded on as the subject of the following issue.

Sincerely yours,

the Editors.


Full Journal
pdf-fulltext (1.081 KB)

Global Digital Citizenship
by Jared Bielby
Language: English
pdf-fulltext (134 KB)

Who are the citizens of the digital citizenship?
by João Antonio de Moraes and Eloísa Benvenutti de Andrade
Language: English
abstract:   We live in the Digital Era, where national frontiers are vanishing. In light of cultural globalization and digital identity, a contemporary re-interpretation of classical notions like citizenship is imperative. What does it mean to be a citizen in the Digital Era? To whom can we assign digital citizenship status? In order to discuss these questions we introduce the notion of hybrid beings. Our hypothesis is that the dynamical feedback relation between the physical and digital individual’s experience promotes the embodiment of a hybrid identity from which the hybrid being emerges. It is important to stress that the hybrid identities of hybrid beings are not just alter egos or avatars created in the digital world, but that they express a new dynamic around the impossibility of distinguishing between “physical” and “digital” sides of an individuals’ actions. It is precisely because of a hybrid being’s participation in a merged physical/digital world that we believe the notion of hybrid beings is the most suitable paradigm to exemplify the role of the digital citizen and digital citizenship.
pdf-fulltext (136 KB)

The Right to Nonparticipation for Global Digital Citizenship
by Andrew Iliadis
Language: English
abstract:   This article argues for the right to nonparticipation for Global Digital Citizenship (GDC). It recuperates the notion of political nonparticipation in the context of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and GDC in order to show that nonparticipation can operate effectively in non-State spheres, particularly online. The paper begins with a discussion of nonparticipation in the context of Nation States and non-Statal Organizations before offering a brief survey of the terms Global Citizenship (GC), Digital Citizenship (DC), and GDC. Nonparticipation in an online context is then explained, followed by a discussion of practical concerns, such as who might enforce GDC rights among global digital citizens.
pdf-fulltext (132 KB)

Access to Information is (Not) a Universal Right in Higher Education: Librarian Ethics and Advocacy
by Laurie M. Bridges and Kelly McElroy
Language: English
abstract:    As a profession, librarians have proclaimed an ethical duty to ensure access to information for all people. However, many barriers exist to fulfilling this duty, including varying levels of education and technology around the globe, the cost of obtaining research information, and the concentration of scholarly publishing in English. This article outlines these barriers, concluding with a call to action for librarians to advocate for multilingual Open Access, to foster international scholarly communities, and to champion Internet access for all.
pdf-fulltext (125 KB)

A busca pela cidadania global no ciberespaço: a perspectiva da ética intercultural no conflito israelo-palestino
by Bruno Macedo Nathansohn
Language: Portoguese
abstract:   The following article is a critical reflection on the impact of socio-technical networks of info-communication in the prevailing ethical framework of the underground international conflict environment. It uses the intricate Israeli-Palestinian relationship to outline the reflection. By explicating a cross-cultural ethics, the article attempts to deduce how best to build a global citizenship within a conflict relationship. To accomplish the task, it analyses two political resistance groups, the Gush Emunim, and Hamas, both groups being directly dedicated to conflict, Hamas for the Palestinian side, and the Gush Emunim for the Israeli side, where both sides share the same concerns, namely citizenship and participation in the global cyberspace community.
pdf-fulltext (142 KB)

Transparency for institutions, privacy for individuals: the globalized citizen and power relations in a postmodern democracy
by Breilla Zanon
Language: English
abstract:   The aim of this article is to observe how technologies of communication, especially the Internet - allow extensive and intensive connections between several global territories and how they begin to influence the formation of demands and the organization and participation of individuals/citizens around local and global causes. For this, the below article uses Wikileaks and the cypherpunk philosophy to exemplify how information can be both used and abused in the common space of the internet, allowing new citizenship developments as well as government control strategies.
pdf-fulltext (142 KB)

Trolling the Global Citizen: The Deconstructive Ethics of the Digital Subject
by Ben Staunton
Language: English
abstract:   This article compares two contemporary rhetorical figures: the ‘internet troll’, a name invoked to represent a variety of offensive and disturbing online discourse, and the narrator and main character of avant-garde English author Tom McCarthy’s debut novel Remainder (2005). By thinking about how these two figures relate to Levinas’ brand of deconstructive ethics, I attempt to develop an idea about how global communication technology (which is, including literature, an essential ingredient, inspiration and sometimes ‘form’ of the ‘global citizen’) bends our perception and performance of what is ethical. Both the troll and McCarthy’s narrator represent the necessity of understanding in a world caged in technical language describing itself. And at the same time, each figure will be shown to represent the motivating force of a global society that strives for total understanding: an absence of understanding, or in Levinasian terms, the face of the other.
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Reverse mediations: digital methods of social research for digital citizenship
by Marina Pantoja Boechat, Débora de Carvalho Pereira
Language: English
abstract:   Our society is heavily mediated by information technologies, so the simplest interactions become traceable, which collaborates to a deluge of data. They represent an abundant source for social analysis and an unparalleled opportunity for citizens to access, produce and disseminate information. Nevertheless, all this affluence of data, for presenting itself in a scattered way, also poses significant difficulties for achieving an integrated view of social reality and its interactions, and is organized in many competing interfaces and information architectures, that may produce, reinforce and disseminate ideologies, hegemonic discourse and platform biases. We identify an emerging field of dispute of the place of mediation of the many flows of information, and efforts for repurposing and restructuring these flows over the seamless structuring of different competing architectures. In order to describe some of these efforts, we draw examples from the field of controversy mapping, and propose the concept of reverse mediation.
pdf-fulltext (142 KB)


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