Now showing 1 - 10 of 29
  • Publication
    The Culture of Paper, Information and Power: An Irish Example
    (Berghahn Books, 2009-03)
    The analysis of electronic versus paper documents, especially in the context of computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), has often focused on affordances, issues of design and implementation and work practices. Issues of culture are often understated in such studies. Yet, like any object of material culture, the use of paper files, as well as an aversion to electronic information sharing, is conditioned by the cultural and political background of a society. This article will suggest that the persistence of paper files in a section of the Irish civil service during the 1990s had much to do with issues of accountability and a cult of expertise, in which papers files, as material objects, were deployed on behalf of claims of expertise and power. This intertwining of power, politics and information is a feature of Irish society, and the discourse of expertise and power is a theme that permeates many aspects of Irish culture.
  • Publication
    Information Society Policy
    (Edward Elgar, 2008-05-30)
    In this chapter, current developments in information technology and information systems will be discussed, focusing especially on the social and political implications of such developments. Current technological developments have led to a shift in focus from information to the communication of information; the most visible evidence of this shift is the development of social networking sites that enable individuals to contribute and share information. This is the popular tip of a more fundamental iceberg, which has implications for privacy, security, governance, digital divide, surveillance, and increased dependency of individuals on technology and the organisations which design, produce, and support such technologies.
  • Publication
    Communities of Practice or Communities of Trust? global culture and information technology
    (Anthropological Association of Ireland, 1994-01)
    Let me begin by noting what will soon be obvious in any event -- the paper that follows has a strong polemic element. Anthropologists in Ireland are dispersed thinly, and this journal provides an opportunity to encourage debate and discussion of issues that might concern anthropologists who either study Ireland or reside in Ireland. Hopefully, this working paper will spark further discussion; it is certainly intended to do so!
  • Publication
    Paper 'work' and electronic files: Defending professional practice
    (Springer, 1998-12-01)
    Paper documents are often described as 'information rich', in contrast with electronic documents. This ethnographic study examines Lotus NOTES in a sub-section of the Irish civil service, with particular reference to the concurrent use of electronic and paper documents. The sub-section examines disagreements with regard to claims by Irish citizens for particular government benefits. The study describes how meta-information contained in paper case files is perceived as necessary for the work of the organization, thus restricting the use of electronic case files in NOTES as a shared information system. However, this reliance on paper files derives not only from the information rich properties of paper documents, but also from the desire of some workers to protect their occupational status by defining, as necessary for their job, information which is only available in paper documents and which only they can interpret. This dependence on paper documents also reduces the amount of information that can be shared within the organization. This paper suggests that, only if the perceived threat posed by the information system were reduced in some way would user innovations in work practices and greater sharing of information within the organization become possible.
      186Scopus© Citations 10
  • Publication
    Irish clientelism: a reappraisal
    (ESRI, 1984-04)
    Studies of Irish politics have generally used a clientelist framework: voters in rural areas seem to obtain state benefits through a politician's interventions and, in return, become the politician's "clients". This article reports anthropological research on urban brokerage and clientelism carried out in Dublin from 1978 to 1981 which suggests that a more complex analytic model is required. Clientelism was relevant in the context of party politics, but voters who sought a broker's help did not necessarily become clients. Political brokerage did not guarantee individual voters' electoral support, and was largely used to enhance the politician's reputation in the community. It is thus useful to distinguish brokerage from clientelism; although the two are related, they are not interchangeable. In addition, the "currency" of brokerage, was rarely politicians' influence over the actual allocation of state resources, but rather their information about bureaucratic procedures and their access to the bureaucrats themselves. There is no reason to presume that brokerage, based on such a monopoly over information and access, should necessarily decrease as Ireland becomes increasingly urban and industrial.
  • Publication
    Migration, Community and Social Media
    (University de Deusto, 2012-03-09) ;
    New information and communications technologies (ICTs) have been linked with the “annihilation of space” so that distance no longer limits communication and interaction between people, the exchange of goods, services and information amongst people, or the movement of people from one locality to another. The result, it is often suggested, is the emergence of new forms of society. Whatever debates may have developed regarding the accuracies of such claims, people vary in the extent to which such claims might apply to them. Those living in small communities who interact largely with neighbours they see daily may feel little impact of any “death of distance” (Cairncross 1997: ii). On the other hand, the lives of individuals who feel connected with people or places at a distance may be greatly altered as a result of new technologies. There is little doubt that individuals, who due to limitations imposed by distance, previously would have had little possibility of contact with each other, can now communicate and maintain social relations. Thus, the social capital debate (Portes & Landolt 1996; Putnam 2000) has been extended to include “network capital” (Larsen & Urry 2008). In most cases, individuals use multiple modes (face to face, email, texting, and so on) to communicate with each other (e.g., Boase et al. 2006; Lenhart et al. 2007; Slater & Tacchi 2004).
  • Publication
    (Sage, 2007-09-15)
    Brokerage is a process in which individuals (brokers) act as intermediaries between individuals or groups who do not have direct access to each other. The broker provides a link between these segmented or isolated groups or individuals, so that access to goods, services or information is enabled. Brokers possess specialist knowledge or resources that enable them to act more effectively than individuals or groups could themselves.
  • Publication
    Brokerage or friendship? politics and networks in Ireland
    (ESRI, 1992-01)
    Studies of Irish politics have often emphasised clientelist relations between voters and politicians. A survey carried out in the 1970s indicates that the importance of politicians has been overstated. A significant percentage of people chose non-political figures as brokers between themselves and the state. Differences in urban and rural community social structures, which are not reflections of age, education, or socio-economic status, correlate with different brokerage choices. Such findings cast doubt on both modernization and dependency explanations of brokerage. Further research on social networks of friendship and exchange are necessary, since informal personal networks emerge as important links between individuals and the state.
  • Publication
    The Net as a Foraging Society: Flexible Communities
    (Taylor & Francis, 1998-01-01)
    In discussions about electronic and virtual communities, community can variously refer to a moral community, a normative community, a community of practice, an intentional community, or a proximate community. The concept of “community” is, itself, deemed unproblematic, and often is used in either a reductivist or ethnocentric manner. An exploration of nonindustrial foraging societies is used to illustrate the wide variation in types and definitions of communities that exists. Social groups in foraging societies exhibit characteristics similar to those observed in technologically mediated social groups, and these similarities illustrate the deficiencies of typological or ideal-type definitions of “community,” as well as the artificial nature of a division between “real” and “electronic” communities. Groups that depend on computer-mediated communication among members can, and should, be examined using the same social science concepts and methods used to examine any other social groups.
      268Scopus© Citations 97
  • Publication
    Social media and migration: virtual community 2.0
    (American Society for Information Science and Technology and Wiley-Blackwell, 2011-06)
    Research indicates that migrants' social media usage in Ireland enables a background awareness of friends and acquaintances that supports bonding capital and transnational communities in ways not previously reported. Interview data from 65 Polish and Filipino non-nationals in Ireland provide evidence that their social media practices enable a shared experience with friends and relations living outside Ireland that is not simply an elaboration of the social relations enabled by earlier Internet applications. Social media usage enables a passive monitoring of others, through the circulation of voice, video, text, and pictures, that maintains a low level mutual awareness and supports a dispersed community of affinity. This ambient, or background, awareness of others enhances and supports dispersed communities by contributing to bonding capital. This may lead to significant changes in the process of migration by slowing down the process of integration and participation in host societies while also encouraging continual movement of migrants from one society to another.
      4470Scopus© Citations 164