Democratizing Participation: Digital/Networking Tools and Political Change

Here is an early attempt to theoretically ground my work on Internet & Democracy at Harvard's Berkman Center. The goal of this new project is to investigate the effects of networked/digital technologies on democratic change around the world. The first outputs are a series of narrative case studies, starting with the Ukrainian Orange Revolution.

I'm interested in feedback, as well as other recommendations of how to theoretically ground this work. The views in this draft are my own and do not represent the opinions of the Berkman Center.

Money quote:

For people around the world for whom an increase in their freedom to speak, challenge corrupt regimes, increase transparency and end human rights violations would be a blessing, the Internet is a tool that holds promise. Just how useful the Internet can be for challenging existing power structures has yet to be studied in depth. However, early evidence shows that the Internet has the potential to lower the barriers to a wide variety of democratic action, including mobilizing public protest, creating citizen journalism and manipulating cultural icons.



New Beat Writer for Global Voices Uganda

My good friend Rebekah, also known as Jackfruity, takes over as Global Voices Uganda Correspondent. I want to thank everyone who read and commented on my GV posts over the last 8 months. I especially want to thank the Ugandan blogren, which I have had the pleasure to watch come together at Uganda Bloggers Happy Hour in Kampala and in the blogosphere. I won’t be far away.

My name is Rebekah Heacock. This is my first post as I am taking over from Joshua Goldstein.

The Ugandan bloggers are having an existential crisis of sorts. The self-examination among the Blogren, as they’ve started calling each other, began in January when several bloggers objected to the establishment of Uganda Bloggers Happy Hour and the Uganda Best of Blog awards.

continue reading...

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Wednesday Links 05.09.07

'And the Night Begins' via Meg Rorison's photostream

In Berlin, Evgeny Morozov, a prolific Belarusian, gives his thoughts on the future of media, technology and activism.

In Brooklyn, J. Slab takes us back for the second summer at Red Hooks Soccer Fields and reminds us what summer time, outdoor delicious really means.

In College Park, My friend Brian and his merry band launch Claymore Productions, a kind of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (plus 2) of the Internet age.

In Amsterdam, BicycleMark relaunches his site as '' and links to an interview with Emmanual Goldstein after his trip to North Korea.


Ugandan Blogosphere Fans

I received an email today from a someone who has been following the Ugandan blogosphere. Her position on the power of blogging in Uganda is interesting and nuanced. I think this speaks to some of the unintended (or perhaps fully intended) global consequences of a bunch of people who individually decided to start publishing their quirky and intricate comments, all loosely related to life in Uganda:

Occasionally I get completely saturated in the worst-case stories that I retell over and over again (babies in latrines, child soldiers, wholesale rape and murder, maize meal, missing limbs) that I forget Kampala has a thriving community of people who drink coffee and talk about the greater world and give each other blogger awards. It's important for me to see Uganda in another context besides a backdrop to the hopeless misery I write about.

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Fish Heads and Samurai Swords

I moved up to Cambridge, MA, last weekend. Until I can move into my proper place in June, I'm staying in the room of a Russian poet who is visiting his wife and children in Siberia. The room has brown walls and the incurable smell of old books. Here are just a few things I found when I moved in:

- two and a half foot samurai sword
- small, dried fish head tied to a string hanging above the desk
- early 19th century Siberian hunting rifle

I put my bags down, looked around, and then went down the street to buy my first Red Sox hat.

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