Lost in Space: Citizens Adrift in Techno-Culture

By Susan M. Behuniak and John F. Freie.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In this paper we focus on the role that the new communication technologies play in blurring the distinction between the public and the private, and the political ramifications that the obscuring of this demarcation holds for citizenship. We begin by examining the roles that private and public spaces play in a democracy; next, we explore how the public space is being privatized and how private space is made public; and finally, we analyze the problems for democracy created by this slippage between places. In the course of our analysis, we argue that the current blurring of the private/public distinction is not at all the same as that presaged by the feminist slogan, 'the personal is political,' because rather than empowering citizens, these pseudo-private and pseudo-public realms undermine human growth by replacing citizens with consumers, activism with passivity, and knowledge with information.

Keywords: Citizenship, Politics of Place, Democratic Space, Public/Private Distinction, Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs)

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 2, Issue 7, pp.35-42. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.081MB).

Dr. Susan M. Behuniak

Professor, Department of Political Science, Le Moyne College, USA

Susan M. Behuniak is Francis J. Fallon, S.J. Professor of Political Science at Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY, USA. She is the author of A Caring Jurisprudence: Listening to Patients at the Supreme Court (1999) and co-author with Arthur Svenson of Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Anatomy of a Constitutional Law Issue (2003). Her research, teaching, and community service are connected by a commitment to promoting the development of "voice" in individuals and marginalized groups. With her colleague, John F. Freie, she has taught a course on The Politics of Cyberspace, and she has studied the impact of techno-digital communication devices on students and on citizens.

Dr. John F. Freie

Professor & Chair, Department of Political Science, Le Moyne College, USA

John F. Freie is Professor and Chair of Political Science, Le Moyne College, Syracuse, NY, USA. He is the founder of the department's Service Learning program and introduced as the department's mission a focus on citizenship education. He is the author of Counterfeit Community: The Exploitation of Our Longings for Connectedness (1998) and numerous articles on teaching pedagogies that introduce democratic practices into the classroom. With his colleague, Susan M. Behuniak, he has taught a course on The Politics of Cyberspace, and he has researched the impact of techno-digital devices on community and on citizens.

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