• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Social distancing? Try a better way to work remotely on your online files. Dokkio, a new product from PBworks, can help your team find, organize, and collaborate on your Drive, Gmail, Dropbox, Box, and Slack files. Sign up for free.



Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 2 months ago

Outline of Action Research as a Methodlogy

The fundamental contention of the action researcher is that complex social processes can be studied best by introducing changes into these processes and observing the effects of these changes.



References to the Friedland Article


Link to Google Scholar Search for references to Freidland Article



Atlantic Journal of Communication

2005, Vol. 13, No. 4, Pages 242-271



Dialectic of Unity and Fragmentation in Feeding the Homeless: Promoting Social Justice Through Communication


Wendy H. Papa‌

Department of Speech Communication and Dramatic Arts, Central Michigan University

Michael J. Papa‌

Department of Speech Communication and Dramatic Arts, Central Michigan University

Krishna P. Kandath‌

Department of Communication and Journalism, University of New Mexico

Tracy Worrell‌

Doctoral Program, Department of Communication, Michigan State University

Nithya Muthuswamy‌

Doctoral Program, Department of Communication, Michigan State University




This article examines the dialectic between unity and fragmentation in community suppers that attempt to promote social justice through communication. In these suppers there were powerful examples of unity as people participated in casual conversations, shared their personal stories, and engaged in coordinated actions to prepare the meal, eat together, and clean up afterward. Through connecting with one another and talking about personal problems, formerly isolated people are offered hope. There are also instances of fragmentation, however. For example, people experience both forces of the dialectic in dynamic tension by feeling connected at the supper but feeling disconnected on realizing they will return home to an isolated environment. The central argument advanced in this article is that unity (thesis) and fragmentation (antithesis) yield community (synthesis). Transcending the dialectic of unity and fragmentation is a great challenge and may not be possible. However, social justice may be promoted through communication when we build communities that both unify and fragment.



From Global Media Journal

Article No. 14

Public Journalism in Cyberspace: A Korean Case Study

Jinbong Choi

University of Minnesota



Media surroundings through the ubiquity of the Internet are changing as quickly and as broadly as it changed in the 1940s through the ubiquity of television. The popularity of the Internet news media that allows for both the preservation of the newspaper format and the prompt reporting of broadcasting is changing the characteristics of typical journalism. This tendency gives challenges to typical mass media that have been facing several limitations about public journalism.

The goal of public journalism is that mass media guide the public (people) to discuss and participate in public issues and give the public a chance to participate in making policy. This public journalism can be materialized more actually through utilizing the Internet. Therefore, public journalism can be formed, and Internet journalism can be a distinguished unique news media through having the characteristics of public journalism.

In the recent decade in Korea with development of the Internet, several Internet newspapers were established. Now, Korean media scholars assume that the Internet can be a good way of public journalism. Thus, this study will examine whether Korean Internet newspapers accomplish the function of public journalism or not, and how the Internet newspapers can be used to develop democracy through public journalism. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to research public journalism as a new journalism format and the characteristics of the Internet newspaper as a medium. To do this, I will examine the meaning and essence of public journalism, and then discuss the practical possibility of public journalism through the Internet newspaper.




Type of Document Dissertation

Author Morse, Ricardo Stuart

URN etd-05012004-075658

Title Community Learning: Process, Structure, and Renewal

Degree PhD

Department Public Administration/Public Affairs

Advisory Committee

Advisor Name Title

Larkin S. Dudley Committee Chair

Gary L. Wamsley Committee Member

Joseph V. Rees Committee Member

Orion F. White Committee Member

Ray D. Pethtel Committee Member

Date of Defense 2004-04-29

Availability unrestricted




Community renewal is a dominant theme in American society today. It has been said that public administration could and should be a leader in the community renewal movement, yet for the most part the field of public administration fails to “get” community. This study advances and explores a concept of community learning as part of a broader effort to better understand what a community perspective means for public administration theory and practice. The contributions of this study are two-fold. First, a concept of community learning is drawn from a variety of literature streams that share an ethos of collaborative pragmatism. Community learning occurs when the knowledge created in the integrative “community process” is fed-forward and embedded at the level of community structure. Furthermore, a “learning community” is found where the community learning process is institutionalized at the level of community structure. While community learning is a term being used to some degree in the field of community development, a concept of how communities might learn has yet to be offered. Thus, the conceptualization offered here seeks to fill this gap in the literature.

This study also explores the community learning concept empirically in the context of an action research project in Wytheville, Virginia. Here participants worked with a Virginia Tech research team to better understand their community and develop a unified “vision” for the community’s future. The study revealed that the collective or collaborative learning of the “community process” can occur over time and also in the form of punctuated group “a-ha” moments. In either case, the learning process is one where new knowledge is created in the form of new or altered shared meaning or new ideas. This learning was fed-forward to the community level to become community learning in three ways: 1) as the learning took place in the community field, meaning the participants of the learning process represented the different institutions that make up community structure; 2) through the integrative medium of local media outlets; and 3) through formal and informal processes of knowledge transfer from the group to community level, where the community level was represented by a citizens committee.

As communities institutionalize learning processes they can be said to be “learning communities.” Evidence from the Wytheville study provides insights into how this might happen. The implications for the practice of a “new public service” are explored as well as future areas of research relevant to the community learning approach. The study concludes by suggesting what a community perspective for public administration might mean as community learning is a concept based in this perspective.



Journal of Social Policy (2005), 34: 579-600 Cambridge University Press

Copyright © 2005 Cambridge University Press


Published online by Cambridge University Press 04Oct2005





Theorising Partnerships: Governance, Communicative Action and Sport Policy


a1 Chelsea School, University of Brighton, Gaudick Road, Eastbourne BN20 7SP. email i.mcdonald@brighton.ac.uk


Article author query

mcdonald i Medline Google Scholar



Under New Labour, partnerships have emerged to become a central mechanism of service delivery in social policy. In response to this development, a number of papers and texts have appeared that have questioned the claims made for the benefits of partnerships by politicians and policy makers. In particular, the gap between the rhetoric of inclusiveness and the practice of exclusion in partnership working has been highlighted. However, as pertinent as these insights are, it is argued here that extant research into partnerships in social policy remains theoretically undeveloped, characterised by one-sided approaches that either lack critical edge or are dismissive of the potential of partnership working. What is required is an approach that addresses the deeper contradictions of partnerships in social policy and the structuring relations of power underpinning the conceptions of partnerships. Drawing on key concepts in social and political theory, this article proposes a theoretical framework that focuses on the dynamic and contextual nature of partnership. In short, a differentiated theory of partnership is offered as a means of facilitating a more realistic understanding of the limits and possibilities of partnership working. A case study on partnerships in sport policy is used to illustrate the analysis.



Journalism, Vol. 4, No. 1, 76-94 (2003)

DOI: 10.1177/1464884903004001441

© 2003 SAGE Publications

Bucking a trend in local television news: combating market-driven journalism

David D. Kurpius


Manship School of Mass Communication, Louisiana State University, USA


This research investigates whether projects and movements designed to change the norms of local television journalism have succeeded. It explores this question through the case of Best Practices 2000 (BP2K), a foundation-funded organization aimed at improving local television public affairs coverage. This research compares BP2K to two other recent attempts to improve or increase local television public affairs coverage - civic journalism and the Wisconsin Collaborative Project. Stations working to improve public affairs coverage are compared to traditional market-driven journalism stations. This study explores the extent to which these efforts can change news coverage, and in doing so deepens our knowledge of the norms of market-driven news routine, which these projects, at least implicitly, question.




Communication Research, Vol. 28, No. 4, 464-506 (2001)

DOI: 10.1177/009365001028004005

© 2001 SAGE Publications

Communication, Context, and Community

An Exploration of Print, Broadcast, and Internet Influences







This research explores the influence of mass media use and community context on civic engagement. The article presents a multilevel test of print, broadcast, and Internet effects on interpersonal trust and civic participation that acknowledges there are (a) micro-level differences in the motives underlying media use, (b) age-cohort differences in patterns of media use and levels of civic engagement, and (c) macro-level differences in community / communication context. Accordingly, the effects of individual differences in media use and aggregate differences in community context are analyzed within generational subsamples using a pooled data set developed from the 1998 and 1999 DDB Life Style Studies. The data suggest that informational uses of mass media are positively related to the production of social capital, whereas social-recreational uses are negatively related to these civic indicators. Informational uses of mass media were also found to interact with community context to influence civic engagement. Analyses within subsamples find that among the youngest adult Americans, use of the Internet for information exchange more strongly influences trust in people and civic participation than do uses of traditional print and broadcast news media.
















Communication Research, Vol. 28, No. 4, 392-428 (2001)

DOI: 10.1177/009365001028004003

© 2001 SAGE Publications

Storytelling Neighborhood

Paths to Belonging in Diverse Urban Environments







This article develops and tests a communication infrastructure model of belonging among dwellers of urban residential environments. The concept of a communication infrastructure—a storytelling system set in its communication action context—is discussed. Storytelling neighborhood, the communication process through which neighborhood discussion transforms people from occupants of a house to members of a neighborhood, is proposed as an essential component of people's paths to belonging, an attachment to a residential area that is evidenced in everyday exchange behaviors. A multimethod research design is employed to study seven residential areas in Los Angeles through the use of multilingual data collection to discover the relevant factors that determine belonging in new and old immigrant communities. A communication infrastructure model that posits storytelling as an intervening process between structural location and belonging is proposed and tested. Overall, the most important factor in creating belonging was found to be an active and integrated storytelling system that involves residents, community organizations, and local media. The diagnostic potentials of the communication infrastructure approach and the policy implications of the findings are discussed.




Community Development Journal Advance Access originally published online on January 31, 2005

Community Development Journal 2005 40(3):329-342; doi:10.1093/cdj/bsi016


© Oxford University Press and Community Development Journal. 2005 All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oupjournals.org

New information communication technologies and the development of a children's ‘community of interest’

Tom Cockburn, Lecturer in Applied Social Sciences


Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Bradford, He has been there since 2001 and his research interests are around the sociology of childhood


Address for correspondence: Department of Applied Social Sciences, University of Bradford, Bradford BD7 1DP. Tel: 01274 233517; Email: T.D.Cockburn@Bradford.ac.uk


This paper is concerned with the potential of new Information Communication Technologies as a means of furthering a children’s ‘community of interest’. A ‘community of interest’ is taken from Raymond Williams’ concept of people forming communities not around place but around specific ‘interests’. I wish in this paper to explore the forms and tensions of a children’s ‘community of interest’ that might be facilitated around ICTs in general and the Internet in particular. The paper draws on community development literature around the potentials and use of ICTs as a means of developing communities. The paper highlights these potentials but also investigates the obstacles that a children’s online ‘community of interest’ may confront.






Creative sparks warm up a business ice age

MJ -Looking for the centers of activity in a communication ecology.


By Stefan Stern

Published: February 27 2007 17:30 | Last updated: February 27 2007 17:30


Hot Spots

Why some companies buzz with energy and innovation – and others don’t

By Lynda Gratton

Berrett-Koehler, $24.95


It is time for business leaders to take off their rose-tinted spectacles and replace them with thermal-imaging goggles.


This arresting idea is provided by Professor Lynda Gratton of London Business School in an important new book. Equipped with such enhanced vision you will get an altogether more revealing glimpse of your organisation at work.


“As you look through your heat-sensitive goggles the terrain appears green,” Gratton writes. “Daily work is happening in a predictable way . . . little excitement or energy beyond the norm is being generated. The green signifies ‘business as usual’.”


But, if you are lucky, you may also spot the occasional flash of orange or red. These are “hot spots” – “a moment when people are working together in exceptionally creative and collaborative ways . . . Hot spots occur when the energy within and between people flares – when mundane everyday activities are set aside for engaged work that is exciting and challenging. It is at times like these that ideas become contagious and new possibilities appear.”


Gratton has not branched out from her distinguished career studying management to dabble in meteorology. The “hot spots” are an extended metaphor, but one that is soundly based on a body of academic research into networks, teams, culture, collaboration and creativity.


In preparing to write her new book, Gratton led an international project, the “Co-operative advantage research”. This programme involved studying 57 teams working for 17 companies, most of which were operating across borders.


So, far from being a touchy-feely, nice-to-have look at teamwork, the book is in fact grappling with perhaps the biggest management challenge of our times: how to get people working in different time zones to collaborate effectively, raising their performance to meet competitive challenges. How do you encourage innovation from groups of people who may only get to see each other every few months?


Three core elements, or disciplines, are required if hot spots are to emerge in your organisation, Gratton suggests. These are a co-operative mindset, an ability to span boundaries, and the successful igniting of purpose. A fourth element – productive capacity – is necessary if the hot spot is to create real value.


None of these elements will necessarily occur spontaneously. For example, collaboration is not usually considered to be the instinctive response of “rational economic man”. Competition – internal as well as external – is supposed to drive us on.


But the hot spots studied by Gratton are characterised by high levels of co-operation. At Nokia, for example, the company draws on its Finnish cultural roots to great effect. “People there are skilled at co-operation,” she says.


Too much unfocused collaboration can lead to the “country club” effect, however: a nice place to be, but not terribly productive. Goldman Sachs is cited as a powerful organisation that thrives on co-operation without for a moment becoming cosy.


Spanning boundaries is vital if you are going to exploit the knowledge contained within the organisation. But there is a catch. “In relationships with strong ties, people talk about what they already know, and since there is much overlap among them, there is much redundancy of knowledge,” Gratton writes.


“Hot spots need both the trust and respect of long-term relationships and the insight and novelty of new relationships that cross boundaries . . . Hot spots become more vibrant and innovative, more potentially productive and exciting, when they span boundaries.”


Most members of the volunteer army of computer programmers who have worked together to develop the Linux operating system have never in fact met.


Hot spots have to ignite. Nokia pulls this trick off too. “By bringing relative strangers together, ignited by fascinating questions, the executive team at Nokia has created an environment in which hot spots naturally emerge,” Gratton says.


How to achieve ignition? You need “a belief, a passion, a point of view, a question that is often challenging and audacious”, Gratton says. “When big questions are asked hot spots are often ignited, breaking the vice-like grip of pragmatism.”


But in the end hot spots cannot be commanded to appear. Orders and directives make little impact. Gratton advises leaders to “focus on leverage points rather than outcomes”, and develop “signature processes” rather than importing impersonal “best practices”.


Gratton has written a succinct and utterly compelling book. She is really a kind of one-woman hot spot in herself. To avoid the next business ice age, try to make sure you have a few hot spots of your own burning within your walls.




It's the Ecology, Stupid


Action Research

Soft System methodology

Actor Network Theory

link to David Kelly video

Interesting models from the University of Wisconsin J School. Faculty/ grad student collab groups. Focused on research and common interests...





ComEc on the Blogs


The importance of participating in and understanding a communication ecology. It is a mistake to think that particular technologies or communications media necessarily map on to socially meaningful research questions. Instead of setting out to research a particular medium it is often helpful to learn something about the various choices of medium available to the people who are at the heart of the research project, and aim to participate in appropriate ways within that existing ecology.

the link from Virtual Ethnography Revisited ,Christine Hine

Paper summary prepared for session on Online Research Methods, Research Methods Festival, Oxford, July 1st 2004


Department of Sociology

University of Surrey

Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, UK





I am proposing, however, to raise this (what we might call) communicative ecosystem to a disciplined undertaking which persons thematically pursue in a cumulative way, i.e., to constitute it as science2 ("communication ecology"?). There are basically two reasons for this proposed reorientation: (1) to maximize and maximally secure the goods of conversation, not only against the vicissitudes of the social unconscious, but also because these goods are emergent (they do not exist in the world unless and until persons produce them), and (2), in our present cultural condition, where anything that is not constituted as a "science" tends to be disregarded, unfunded and fall out of existence, to see to it that the massive research endeavors of our society nurture rather than inadvertently undermine their own base, which, I have argued, is conversation. Merely by studying everything except conversation, we may squeeze conversation out of life.

the link

from Communication: The Social Matrix of Supervision of Psychotherapy (1994; UMI #9511056)


This paper argues that animal directed utterances are more than just "cute" behavior or expressions of endearment-- they actually accomplish a variety of actions for organizing human activity, including commentary about the ongoing scene and about co-present humans. The goal of this presentation is to examine how animal directed utterances are deployed in a veterinary clinic, with a focus on animal directed talk as a means for avoiding socially awkward behavior (such as disagreements with clients or interruption of their stories). The cases examined are animal directed utterances by veterinarians which allay client concerns or advocate on behalf on the animal. As noted by Cain (1985) humans report organizing commentary about the scene and about each other through their animals; however, what has been lacking is an examination of how this actually operates in naturally occurring interaction. Using replay and analysis of videotaped clinic visits, this paper begins to fill that gap and extend the discussion (initiated by Robins, Sanders, & Cahill, 1991) of animal directed talk as a means for avoiding social risks in public settings.

This research will provide an enriched understanding of human communication ecology as encompassing both human and animal participants; furthermore, in terms of understanding veterinary clinic interactions, the study provides the first look at how clinicians strategically use utterances directed at animals to accomplish activities which might otherwise be face threatening to clients. For clinicians, this research provides fresh insight into their taken-for-granted communication patterns and allows them to reflect upon their complex role as animal advocate and animal healthcare provider, along with their responsibilities as a service provider in relation to humans. In terms of the human-animal bond, the paper reveals the subtle ways in which animals are treated as interactional partners and co-participants in human social life.

You bite? Animals as interactional partners in human social life

Felicia Roberts, Ph.D.

Department of Communication

Purdue University

the link




Sage Journals have 8 articles that use the term Communication Ecology

Reaching at risk groups

The importance of health storytelling in Los Angeles Latino media

Holley A. Wilkin


Georgia State University, USA

Sandra J. Ball-Rokeach

University of Southern California, USA


Latinos are at high risk for many health problems, but are often missed by traditional health communication campaigns aired through general audience channels. This article explores Latinos’ connections to communication channels for health goals - both mediated and interpersonal and media that is general audience and geo-ethnic (targeted toward a specific ethnicity and/or community). Data from a random digit dial telephone survey of Latinos in two Los Angeles communities are analyzed. The results indicate that Latinos have strong connections to media that target their ethnic group or community, to interpersonal networks of friends and family, and to health professionals. The implications of these findings are discussed and recommendations made for increased health storytelling about the dominant health risks facing Latino communities.




Clusters and knowledge: local buzz, global pipelines and the process of knowledge creation

Harald Bathelt


Faculty of Geography, Philipps-University of Marburg, Deutschhausstraße 10, D-35032 Marburg, Germany

Anders Malmberg

Department of Social and Economic Geography, and Centre for Research on Innovation and Industrial Dynamics (CIND), Uppsala University, PO Box 513, S-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden


Peter Maskell

Danish Research Unit for Industrial Dynamics (DRUID), Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy (IVS), Copenhagen Business School (CBS), Howitzvej 60, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

The paper is concerned with spatial clustering of economic activity and its relation to the spatiality of knowledge creation in interactive learning processes. It questions the view that tacit knowledge transfer is confined to local milieus whereas codified knowledge may roam the globe almost frictionlessly. The paper highlights the conditions under which both tacit and codified knowledge can be exchanged locally and globally. A distinction is made between, on the one hand, the learning processes taking place among actors embedded in a community by just being there dubbed buzz and, on the other, the knowledge attained by investing in building channels of communication called pipelines to selected providers located outside the local milieu. It is argued that the co-existence of high levels of buzz and many pipelines may provide firms located in outward-looking and lively clusters with a string of particular advantages not available to outsiders. Finally, some policy implications, stemming from this argument, are identified.



Technologized Communications as Artifact/Discourse/Relation: The Case of the Technological City

Wayne D. Woodward

University of Michigan-Dearborn


An ontological view of technologized communications supports critical analysis of broadly defined instrumental activities that include not only traditionally recognized media tools and products but also activity systems, operational sequences, and social arrangements. A triadic perspective integrates material (physical-artifactual) and discursive (sociocultural) dimensions, with attention to relational (mutual-personal) practices that underlie technology use and communication. The triadic field is the time-space in which artifacts are administered, meanings circulate, and human relations emerge. Modern and postmodern cities provide an illustration of this broad conception of technologized communications. Concluding discussion considers how technological "enframing" of experience can be offset by participatory openness supported by technologized communications. The emergence of human identity through technologized communications is presented as a focal value.


Bucking a trend in local television news: combating market-driven journalism

David D. Kurpius

Manship School of Mass Communication,

Louisiana State University, USA


This research investigates whether projects and movements designed to change the norms of local television journalism have succeeded. It explores this question through the case of Best Practices 2000 (BP2K), a foundation-funded organization aimed at improving local television public affairs coverage. This research compares BP2K to two other recent attempts to improve or increase local television public affairs coverage - civic journalism and the Wisconsin Collaborative Project. Stations working to improve public affairs coverage are compared to traditional market-driven journalism stations. This study explores the extent to which these efforts can change news coverage, and in doing so deepens our knowledge of the norms of market-driven news routine, which these projects, at least implicitly, question.



Why Communication Researchers Should Study the Internet: A Dialogue

John E. Newhagen

University of Maryland, College Park

Sheizaf Rafaeli

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

the link



Heather Hoist,Annenburg 2002

Migration andTransnationalism


My dissertation research focused upon the way in which return migrants in Mandeville, Jamaica. In my article 'You can't be two places at once', I argue that returning residents in Jamaica create returning resident associations and other forms of shared community based upon this experience of migration. However, many returnees possess different visions of return such that those who return from the UK often perceive many US returnees' practice of spending six months in the USA and six months in Jamaica disorienting. This distinction between US and UK returnees highlights the importance of place and migration destination in understanding the dynamics of transnational processes.

My postdoctoral work in Jamaica provided insights into the ways in which new communication technologies (particularly the cell phone) has changed the relationship between Jamaicans living abroad and at home and in my article 'The blessings and burdens of transnational communication' I argue that the ability to directly dial and control costs has opened a world of possibilities for children to keep in touch with their parents abroad and children to care for their ageing parents in Jamaica. It has also altered the process of sending and receiving remittances. In the future I plan to extend this research by examining upon the role of new communication technologies (i.e. telephones, phone cards, fax machines, email, IM and other internet related capacities) by situating the communication practices within the wider communication ecology (videotapes, CD-ROMs, photocopy machines) among Jamaican transnational communities.

Relevant Publications:

Horst, Heather (n.d.) The Blessings and Burdens of Communication: The Impact of Cell Phones in Jamaican Transnational Social Fields. Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs Under Review.

Horst, Heather (n.d.) 'You can't be two places at once': Return Migration and the Problem of Transnationalism in Jamaica. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power. Under Review.

Horst, Heather (2005) Landscaping Englishness: The Postcolonial Predicaments of Returnees in Mandeville, Jamaica. In Rob Potter, Dennis Conway and Joan Phillips (eds.) The Experience of Return: Caribbean Perspectives. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing, pp. 207-224.



Dept of American Studies


The Evolution of the Communication Revolution: Electric Communication, from Dots and Dashes to Digits (Book Proposal)

This article asks whether the concept of community is of continuing relevance in a postindustrial society that is rapidly advancing to a networked form of social organization. The author argues that community is necessary for democratic life to function, and asks what new forms of integration might emerge to create the boundaries necessary for community reproduction. Turning to Habermas's theory of communicative action, the author shows the relevance of the two-level concept of society, system, and lifeworld for addressing this question, and proposes the concept of the communicatively integrated community as a framework for understanding the central role of communication in producing community. Finally, the article offers a mid-range analytic theory of community communication ecology as a frame for connecting this larger theory to the specific analysis of communication and community.

the link

Communication Research, Vol. 28, No. 4, 358-391 (2001)

DOI: 10.1177/009365001028004002

© 2001 SAGE Publications

Communication, Community, and Democracy

Toward a Theory of the Communicatively Integrated Community



Dr. Friedland is the founder of The Center for Communication and Democracy is a newly formed research and action project at UW-Madison. The goals of the center are to study how citizens can use new communications technologies to advance democratic discussion and civic participation; to explore the relationships between geographic communities and the emerging world of cyberspace; to explore the structural relations among communications and information markets, the civic sector, and government to find relationships necessary to build and sustain a public sphere in communication that is not dominated by the market, while sustaining economic growth and technological innovation; and to ask what government policies are most appropriate for combining the vibrancy of the market with the common needs of citizens in the sphere of communication.






Communication Ecology used in the context of telematics textbook.

the link


Media Ecology Association

An Overview of Media Ecology (Lance Strate) It is the study of media environments, the idea that technology and techniques, modes of information and codes of communication play a leading role in human affairs. Media ecology is the Toronto School, and the New York School. It is technological determinism, hard and soft, and technological evolution. It is media logic, medium theory, mediology. It is McLuhan Studies, orality–literacy studies, American cultural studies. It is grammar and rhetoric, semiotics and systems theory, the history and the philosophy of technology. It is the postindustrial and the postmodern, and the preliterate and prehistoric.

—Lance Strate, “Understanding MEA,” In Medias Res 1 (1), Fall 1999.




What is Media Ecology? (Neil Postman)

Media ecology looks into the matter of how media of communication affect human perception, understanding, feeling, and value; and how our interaction with media facilitates or impedes our chances of survival. The word ecology implies the study of environments: their structure, content, and impact on people.

An environment is, after all, a complex message system which imposes on human beings certain ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving.

* It structures what we can see and say and, therefore, do.

* It assigns roles to us and insists on our playing them.

* It specifies what we are permitted to do and what we are not. Sometimes, as in the case of a courtroom, or classroom, or business office, the specifications are explicit and formal.

In the case of media environments (e.g., books, radio, film, television, etc.), the specifications are more often implicit and informal, half concealed by our assumption that what we are dealing with is not an environment but merely a machine.

Media ecology tries to make these specifications explicit. It tries to find out what roles media force us to play, how media structure what we are seeing, why media make us feel and act as we do.

Media ecology is the study of media as environments.

—Neil Postman, “The Reformed English Curriculum.” in A.C. Eurich, ed., High School 1980: The Shape of the Future in American Secondary Education (1970).


from Teh Ecology of Association, 2000


Making the Net Work



Information ecology from a mcLuhanish point of view. 1997


Towards an Information Ecology, 1989

And in German




Martin Wolf in the FT discsusses the state of the world. iMHO, he presents a very useful language to think about what is required to manage the challenges and opportunities of the present stage of world development.


The world’s economy is global; its politics are national. This, in a nutshell, is the dilemma of global governance.



Follow the Money on Energy Alternatives from the NYT. Story on the labs Carter set up that have been grossly underfunded. Also a nice tidbit that in Denmark they get 22% of their electricity from wind power.


Complex finance and the brave new world economy




the history of technology


ANT Theory

On a first, quick reading this is closely related to the ComEc approach.



From browsing around wikipedia..got this..


Michel Callon is a Professor at the Ecole des Mines de Paris and member of the Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation. He is an influential author in the field of Science and Technology Studies and one of the leading proponents of Actor-network theory.


In recent years (since the late 1990s), Michel Callon has spearheaded the movement of applying ANT approaches to study economic life (notably economic markets). This body of work interrogates the interelation between the economy and economics, highlighting the ways in which economics (and economics-inspired disciplines such as marketing) shapes the economy (see Callon, 1998 and 2005).




Callon, Michel 1980. "Struggles and Negotiations to Define What is Problematic and What is Not: The Socio-logic of Translation." Pp. 197-221 in The Social Process of Scientific Investigation, edited by Karin D. Knorr. Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing.


Callon, Michel 1986. "Some Elements of a Sociology of Translation: Domestication of the Scallops and the Fishermen of St Brieuc Bay." Pp. 196-233 in Power, Action and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge, edited by John Law. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.


Callon, Michel 1987. "Society in the Making: The Study of Technology as a Tool for Sociological Analysis." Pp. 83-103 in The Social Construction of Technical Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology, edited by W. E. et al Bijker. London: MIT Press.


Callon, Michel 1991. "Techno-economic networks and irreversibility." Pp. 132-165 in A Sociology of Monsters: Essays on Power, Technology and Domination, edited by John Law. London: Routledge.


Callon, Michel (ed.) 1998. The Laws of the Markets. London: Blackwell Publishers.


Callon, Michel 2005. "Why virtualism paves the way to political impotence", Economic Sociology - the European electronic newsletter.



Print and Web - Boitrophs or Nectotrophs

Web is wonderful, but don’t write off newspapers


By David Bowen

Published: January 18 2007 12:06 | Last updated: January 18 2007 12:06


Barack Obama, the Democratic senator from Illinois, announced on Tuesday that he was setting up an ‘exploratory committee’ to see if he might stand as a US presidential candidate. It was the way that he announced it – through a website – that intrigued me. It shows that the web can be wonderful, but only if it works hand in hand with the steam-driven world. So don’t go writing off newspapers and television just yet.


Mr Obama’s site barackobama.com is a neat affair, with a couple of Flash-driven videos. One of them has his announcement; the other is a biopic. It is all very slick.



But I know the site exists only because I read it about in the papers. All the reports noted he had made the announcement on his website. If they had not, what would have happened? No-one (well few people) would have thought to look for it. It would have remained just one among millions of websites that can be found if you are looking for it, but you would be as unlikely to stumble across as you would to prick your finger on that needle in a haystack.


This may seem blindingly obvious, but it is a good example of an important point that is perhaps being forgotten. The web is a secondary medium. Mr Obama’s site may be a pleasing way of getting his message across – but only if people find it via a primary medium.


What do I mean by primary medium? Simply, one that people will turn to themselves, or be exposed to without effort – a high visibility medium, you might call it. Newspaper articles or advertisements, television reports or commercials, radio ditto, hoardings by the side of the road. Indeed the billboard on a busy road probably wins the visibility prize: it is difficult not to see.


A few websites have high visibility: Google News, BBC, CNN and the like are used by increasing numbers as a primary news source. But they are the exception. The vast majority of websites are low visibility, and I include those with massive traffic such as YouTube and MySpace, as well as every blog. Mr Obama’s video is on YouTube, the video sharing network, but it is not high visibility. You will find it only by seeking it out, or by being told about it by a friend. You will not trip over it as you might while watching television, reading a paper or driving along.


For the foreseeable future websites will be secondary media – reliant on old media and a handful of news sites to point them out. Which makes me wonder about another FT headline this week: ‘Poor interest in Tribune bodes ill for newspapers’. It is about the lack of bidders for the second biggest US paper group. The big problem for newspapers is that advertising is shifting to the web, but what will happen to the web if newspapers start closing down? It will lose important signposts, and will itself become less valuable. The relationship is not symbiotic, it is parasitic. And the parasite could be killing the host.


I’ve found a word for this: necrotroph. According to Wikipedia, necrotrophs are parasites ‘that use another organism’s tissue for their own nutritional benefit until the host dies.’ What websites should be are biotrophs which ‘cannot survive in a dead host and therefore keep their hosts alive’. How might this happen? Well, maybe we one day will see media companies keeping newspapers and television stations going simply to act as high visibility signposts to the online world. I’ve had dafter ideas.


Let me give another example to show how broad this issue is: my recycling box. My local authority in London, Southwark, has a website (www.southwark.gov.uk) that provides an impressive range of services. It is not unusual in this – the British government demanded that services be made available electronically and, amazingly, it has happened. When on three occasions my recycling box has not been collected I have filled in a form on the site. Truly remarkably, I have had not only a personal reply but my box has been emptied within a day or two.


I could, if I needed, also use the site to report graffiti, a missing lifebelt, a problem in a cemetery and much more. It is all quite impressive.


But why did I get such a prompt reply? Because, I suspect, I am one of the few people who know about these excellent services. Unless you spend time digging around the innermost parts of websites, as I do, it is unlikely you would find them. What they need is what Mr Obama (who is probably more high profile than my recycled bottles) got: signposting in the high visibility media.


Actually there was a campaign last year to raise awareness of Directgov, the portal that leads to all these useful public sites. I know that because I found a press release that says there were advertisements on milk bottle labels, the backs of buses and in the national press. Good, but not enough. A four week advertising campaign is not going to change the way people behave. It’s a start, but I think we need to be told over and over and over again that there is this very useful thing called the web, and we will be very pleased with what it can offer us.


So here we have two rather different stories, both with the same message. You need old media to point to new media, or the web itself cannot flourish. So to all those who predict the death of newspapers and other traditional media I say: think biotrophs not necrotrophs.


David Bowen is a website effectiveness consultant for Bowen Craggs & Co (www.bowencraggs.com). dbowen@bowencraggs.com




Standard economics and the ‘evolution’ thesis can coexist

By Martin Wolf

Published: January 16 2007 17:36 | Last updated: January 16 2007 17:36


the link


Is the discipline of economics built on sand? Most economists would answer with a resounding “no”. But most must also know that the economy is not characterised by perfect foresight and equilibrium, but by trial and error and evolution. That was the intuition of the Austrian economists, Joseph Schumpeter and Friedrich Hayek. But this vision has had next to no influence in the discipline itself.


This gap between how economists think and what economies are is evident to any careful observer. But hitherto nobody has closed the gap between rigorous theory and broad vision. This, argues McKinsey’s Eric Beinhocker in a brilliant, thought-provoking and wide-ranging book, published last year, is about to change.* Welcome, he argues, to the world of “complexity economics”, computer-based simulations and more realistic assumptions.



Mr Beinhocker has a measure of the complexity of the modern economy – the number of distinct products, or “stock keeping units”. In a stone-age culture the number was a few hundred. In today’s New York, he suggests, the number may be 10bn. Moreover, not just most of those products but the complex system that invented, designed, produced and sold them is largely the result of just the last 250 years out of 2.5m years of human evolution.


“The economy is a marvel of complexity,” he states. “Yet no one designed it and no one runs it.” How can such a system have been created? Why has complexity increased over time? Why has so much of the rise in wealth and complexity been so sudden? The answer to these questions can be found, suggests

Mr Beinhocker, in understanding that the economy is “a complex adaptive system”, which works under the same logic as biological evolution – differentiate, select and amplify.


Conventional economics cannot explain such an evolutionary process, because the science that has provided most of its ideas is not biology, but physics. Conventional economics assumes that human beings are rational, consistent, far-sighted and selfish. But human beings are not desiccated calculating machines. They decide quickly and make predictable mistakes. Their evolutionary history equipped them with the ability to survive in a complex, fast-changing and often dangerous environment.


For any living creature, the evolutionary game involves obtaining resources to live long enough to procreate and rear its young. The economy is humanity’s successful effort at obtaining those resources. It has permitted the astounding increase in human numbers and wealth of the past 10,000 years and, above all, of the past 250 years (see charts).


Total world poplation


­As Mr Beinhocker puts it: “The economy is ultimately a genetic replication strategy. It is yet another evolutionary Good Trick . . . built on the complex Good Trick of big brains, nimble tool-making hands, co-operative instincts, language and culture.” So successful is the economy that much of humanity no longer has to focus on staying alive. But our aims are still those of our ancestors: sustenance, shelter, clothing, transport and entertainment with lives built around job, mate, home and children.


How has today’s economy evolved? The answer is: through the interaction of three processes. The first is the evolution of physical technology, which spurted after the scientific revolution of the 17th century. The second is the evolution of social technologies, such as money, markets, the rule of law, the corporation and democracy. The third is the evolution of businesses, the entities that live, die and replicate in the economy.


Economic evolution and biological evolution are different: the fact that human beings can plan and adapt makes economic evolution faster and more purposive than biological evolution. But it is still evolution. Also different is what determines fitness. In biology it is survival. In economics the decision-maker was usually a “Big Man” – a

chieftain, king or planner. The social technology that changed this was the market economy. It has made the mass of consumers sovereign.


As Mr Beinhocker puts it: “Markets win over command and control, not because of their efficiency at resource allocation in equilibrium, but because of their effectiveness at innovation in disequilibrium.” Markets are a hugely powerful evolutionary mechanism: they are innovation machines.


Is this thesis true? Is it useful? Does it replace standard economic analysis? The answers to these questions, I believe, are: yes; yes; and no.


First, today’s economy has indeed evolved. Economic evolution is not the same as biological evolution. But it is a member of the general class of evolutionary systems.


Second, this way of thinking is extremely useful. The book explains, for example, why most companies fail to sustain competitiveness. General Electric is the only Forbes 100 company to have both survived and outperformed the market since 1917. The fundamental reason for this is that existing businesses find it far harder to jump into new business niches than new ones. As Mr Beinhocker notes: “Companies don’t innovate; markets do.” So businesses should think in terms of evolutionary adaptability. But they find this difficult, because they are far better at executing plans than adapting to unforeseen circumstances. That is the price they pay for hierarchy.


Finally, what does “complexity economics” mean for economics? Much less than Mr Beinhocker imagines, I believe. Even such great evolutionary theorists as William Hamilton and Maynard Smith also used equilibrium models. Similarly, the economist’s simplification of human motivation is often the only way to make a complex problem tractable. The implications of the ad hoc, computer-based simulations

Mr Beinhocker recommends are often difficult to understand. Above all, traditional economics often works: look at the success of inflation targeting or at the benefits of trade.


Just like biologists, economists will have to use different tools for analysing the economic system as a whole from those used for narrower analytical questions, such as the impact of a congestion charge or carbon tax. Even so, the evolutionary perspective is important: competition policy is one compelling example.


The ideas reported in this book will probably change economics much less than the author hopes. But anybody interested in understanding why we are where we are should read it. For me, it was more than the business book of 2006; it was the book of 2006.


Here's a description of the book:

What is wealth? How is it created? How can we create more of it for the benefit of individuals, businesses, and society? These are the fundamental questions that McKinsey Global Institute Senior Fellow Eric Beinhocker asks in his groundbreaking book, The Origin of Wealth (Harvard Business School Press; Publication: June 1, 2006).

Origin of WealthAccording to Beinhocker, economics is in the midst of a revolution – its biggest in over a century – and recent work by economists and other scientists provides us with a radically new perspective on the workings of the economy. “Complexity Economics,” as Beinhocker calls the new paradigm, views the economy as a highly dynamic, constantly evolving system, more akin to the brain, the Internet, or an ecosystem than to the static, equilibrium picture presented by traditional theory.

Beinhocker uses the ideas of Complexity Economics to reveal a provocative answer to the origin of wealth question – evolution. Modern science views evolution as not just a biological phenomenon, but as a general purpose algorithm for innovation. The author argues that it is the evolutionary processes of variation, selection, and amplification, acting on designs for technologies, social institutions, and businesses that drive growth in the economy over time. It is economic evolution that has taken us from making stone tools in caves to the enormously complex $36.5 trillion global economy of today.

If we can understand how evolution creates wealth, then we can better understand how businesses and governments can create more of it. Beinhocker shows how Complexity Economics turns conventional wisdom on its head in areas such as business strategy, the design of organizations, the workings of stock markets, and public policy. The key message for business leaders is that they must "bring evolution inside" and get the evolutionary processes of wealth creation working as well within their organizations as those processes work in the broader marketplace. For policymakers, the critical question is how governments can encourage and accelerate economic evolution, but without attempting to overly direct it.

Written in an accessible and entertaining style, The Origin of Wealth is a landmark book that shatters orthodox economic theory, and will rewire our thinking about how we came to be here – and where we are going.






FT the link



Talking heads suffer from crossed wires


By Guy Clapperton

Published: January 8 2007 02:00 | Last updated: January 8 2007 02:00


The age of mass communications may help businesses run more smoothly, but companies often overlook the obstacles to communication within them - most commonly the unseen barriers between different departments in the organisation.


According to recent research by Sage, the UK software company, 86 per cent of respondents believed that deliberately keeping information from colleagues would have a detrimental effect on the business - yet 28 per cent admitted to doing so.




Unsurprisingly, non-communication is a problem recognised by many senior managers. After Ascent, a UK aviation information consultancy, was acquired by another organisation, it brought in Gehan Talwatte as managing director. One of the problems he found was that the business had grown into specialist "silos" that were not communicating with each other.


"We had . . . sales guys who sold into financial institutions and engineers who understood aeroplanes, and as you can imagine these people came from completely different backgrounds," says Mr Talwatte. The business, he believed, had evolved into a set of different capabilities that gained no advantage from being under the same roof.


Frequently, departments simply fail to talk to each other. According to the Sage research, there are a number of reasons: 69 per cent of respondents blamed personality clashes, while 33 per cent cited jargon employed by the IT department. Another 28 per cent felt the finance department hid behind technical terms.


Often, those who work full-time in a business become attuned to the corporate culture and do not recognise problems when they arise. Mr Talwatte believes there are warning signs, such as when a manager spends more time on the structure of the company than on the customers. "What you need to understand is the value you bring to the customer and stop worrying about your organisation chart," he says.


Ascent's website, for instance, reflected the company's structure rather than any benefit it could offer a customer. "The customers could find the part of the business they spoke to but they wouldn't be made aware that there were other areas in which we were experts."


Mr Talwatte's solution was to tear up the organisational chart and get the components of the company talking to each other about what caused a customer's difficulties. They could then tailor their offering around a customer rather than applying an individual solution from a particular department whether it fitted or not.


Even when managers do seek to communicate with other departments, it can be difficult to obtain information. A recent survey of 1,000 middle managers of large US and UK companies carried out by Accenture, the consultancy group, showed three out of five said they missed out on information that someone else in their company was holding. Moreover, while 45 per cent said finding information about their own company was a challenge, only 31 per cent found it difficult to find out what the competition was up to.


Sometimes customer feedback itself can force colleagues to cross the departmental barricades. When Jeremy Hockham took over 18 months ago as managing director of Bosch Security Systems, a UK subsidiary of the privately owned engineering group, he realised that although Bosch was a well-recognised name, it was not known for its security products.


"It became clear from a bit of research we did that our messages in the market were quite confused, and when we looked at our marketing material and what the sales guys were saying, they were all disconnected."


The result was confusion among customers, who had messages either from a sales or marketing perspective. "It was all from our perspective and not from the customer's," says Mr Hockham.


Bosch brought in Silent Edge, a UK consultancy, which ensured that the message from the sales force was made consistent with the rest of the company's communications, even down to the messages on corporate mugs and mousemats.


Mr Hockham believes the exercise was invaluable: "It involved the marketing materials, the way we presented ourselves face-to-face and a considered message that was relevant to what our customers were concerned about rather than just to us."


Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.