New media, politics and society- Second edition
Chapter 6: Public Knowledge
Chapter 6 Public Knowledge Another (not entirely unrelated) question: is there any authenticity with- out authority? Is a structure of authority necessary for the recognition and validation of authenticity? If history now appears to have become a depthless, insubstantial image of itself, what then is the status of that commodity which we call knowledge? Where does knowledge reside – and can we still learn from it? Wikipedia Digital democracy does not appear to have significantly increased civic or political participation or democratic accountability. Interactive modes of popular entertainment – from video games to reality television – have not substantially enhanced the agency of their audiences. Social networking websites have not as yet engendered a dialogical public sphere. What then of the area upon which the revolutionary potential of information tech- nologies might be expected to be most appropriately focused: information itself ? Have these technologies deconstructed the hierarchies traditionally associated with access to – and the generation of – knowledge? In this context, it seems inevitable that one examines the internet’s – and indeed the world’s – foremost source of knowledge, that global phe- nomenon known as Wikipedia: ‘the largest and most popular encyclo- pedia in the world’ (Anderson 2011: 12). It is difficult to imagine a more pervasive information source. By 2014 Wikipedia was able to announce that it boasted ‘30 million articles in 287 languages.’ Up to 40 million 152 Chapter 6 words have been added each month to the English language edition alone (cf. Ayers et al. 2008: 4; Lange et al. 2010: 5). Cohen...
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