Sunday, December 2, 2007
Technology and International Agency
For my final paper I will examine the relationship between technological development and the changing international political scene. I began thinking about this when we read about People Power II, and the capacity for technology--in this case, mobile phones--to amplify the voices of individuals and broaden the definition of "who counts" as a global actor. An estimated 22% of people in the developing world have access to a cell phone, and that number is rapidly on the rise. The spread of accessible mobile technology suggests an increasing potential for social action through mobile connectivity, and I would like to look at exactly which factors converge to bring individuals and other non-traditional international actors onto the international scene. Apart from mobile phones, I also want to look at blogging and the extent to which blogs have or might influence politics. I will draw on Rafael's article on mobile connectivity, Rheingold's "Smartmobs," the Tom Keenan and Tad Hirsch materials, as well as Granovetter's "The Strength of Weak Ties" as my main theoretical underpinnings. I hope to determine the viability of such technologically empowered individuals to actually play a role in international politics, and whether this new empowerment bodes the wane of the traditional state-centric international system.