For those who find themselves in a battle for public records, Access with Attitude: An Advocate’s Guide to Freedom of Information in Ohio is an indispensable weapon. First Amendment lawyer David Marburger and investigative journalist Karl Idsvoog have written a simply worded, practical guide on how to take full advantage of Ohio’s so-called Sunshine Laws.
Journalists, law firms, labor unions, private investigators, genealogists, realty companies, banks, insurers—anyone who regularly needs access to publicly held information—will find this comprehensive and contentious guide to be invaluable. Marburger, who drafted many of the provisions that Ohio adopted in its open records law, and coauthor Idsvoog have been fighting for broader access to public records their entire careers. They offer field-tested tips on how to avoid “no,” and advise readers on legal strategies if their requests for information go unmet. Step by step, they show how to avoid delays and make the law work.
Whether you’re a citizen, a nonprofit organization, a journalist, or an attorney going after public records, Access with Attitude is an essential resource.
Probes the development of information management after World War II and its consequences for public memory and human agency
We are now living in the richest age of public memory. From museums and memorials to the vast digital infrastructure of the internet, access to the past is only a click away. Even so, the methods and technologies created by scientists, espionage agencies, and information management coders and programmers have drastically delimited the ways that communities across the globe remember and forget our wealth of retrievable knowledge.
In Architects of Memory: Information and Rhetoric in a Networked Archival Age, Nathan R. Johnson charts turning points where concepts of memory became durable in new computational technologies and modern memory infrastructures took hold. He works through both familiar and esoteric memory technologies—from the card catalog to the book cart to Zatocoding and keyword indexing—as he delineates histories of librarianship and information science and provides a working vocabulary for understanding rhetoric’s role in contemporary memory practices.
This volume draws upon the twin concepts of memory infrastructure and mnemonic technê to illuminate the seemingly opaque wall of mundane algorithmic techniques that determine what is worth remembering and what should be forgotten. Each chapter highlights a conflict in the development of twentieth-century librarianship and its rapidly evolving competitor, the discipline of information science. As these two disciplines progressed, they contributed practical techniques and technologies for making sense of explosive scientific advancement in the wake of World War II. Taming postwar science became part and parcel of practices and information technologies that undergird uncountable modern communication systems, including search engines, algorithms, and databases for nearly every national clearinghouse of the twenty-first century.
A wide-ranging, interconnected anthology presents a diversity of feminist contributions to digital humanities
In recent years, the digital humanities has been shaken by important debates about inclusivity and scope—but what change will these conversations ultimately bring about? Can the digital humanities complicate the basic assumptions of tech culture, or will this body of scholarship and practices simply reinforce preexisting biases? Bodies of Information addresses this crucial question by assembling a varied group of leading voices, showcasing feminist contributions to a panoply of topics, including ubiquitous computing, game studies, new materialisms, and cultural phenomena like hashtag activism, hacktivism, and campaigns against online misogyny.
Taking intersectional feminism as the starting point for doing digital humanities, Bodies of Information is diverse in discipline, identity, location, and method. Helpfully organized around keywords of materiality, values, embodiment, affect, labor, and situatedness, this comprehensive volume is ideal for classrooms. And with its multiplicity of viewpoints and arguments, it’s also an important addition to the evolving conversations around one of the fastest growing fields in the academy.
Contributors: Babalola Titilola Aiyegbusi, U of Lethbridge; Moya Bailey, Northeastern U; Bridget Blodgett, U of Baltimore; Barbara Bordalejo, KU Leuven; Jason Boyd, Ryerson U; Christina Boyles, Trinity College; Susan Brown, U of Guelph; Lisa Brundage, CUNY; micha cárdenas, U of Washington Bothell; Marcia Chatelain, Georgetown U; Danielle Cole; Beth Coleman, U of Waterloo; T. L. Cowan, U of Toronto; Constance Crompton, U of Ottawa; Amy E. Earhart, Texas A&M; Nickoal Eichmann-Kalwara, U of Colorado Boulder; Julia Flanders, Northeastern U Library; Sandra Gabriele, Concordia U; Brian Getnick; Karen Gregory, U of Edinburgh; Alison Hedley, Ryerson U; Kathryn Holland, MacEwan U; James Howe, Rutgers U; Jeana Jorgensen, Indiana U; Alexandra Juhasz, Brooklyn College, CUNY; Dorothy Kim, Vassar College; Kimberly Knight, U of Texas, Dallas; Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson U; Sharon M. Leon, Michigan State; Izetta Autumn Mobley, U of Maryland; Padmini Ray Murray, Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology; Veronica Paredes, U of Illinois; Roopika Risam, Salem State; Bonnie Ruberg, U of California, Irvine; Laila Shereen Sakr (VJ Um Amel), U of California, Santa Barbara; Anastasia Salter, U of Central Florida; Michelle Schwartz, Ryerson U; Emily Sherwood, U of Rochester; Deb Verhoeven, U of Technology, Sydney; Scott B. Weingart, Carnegie Mellon U.
Case studies that examine how firms coordinate economic activity in the face of asymmetric information—information not equally available to all parties—are the focus of this volume.
In an ideal world, the market would be the optimal provider of coordination, but in the real world of incomplete information, some activities are better coordinated in other ways. Divided into three parts, this book addresses coordination within firms, at the borders of firms, and outside firms, providing a picture of the overall incidence and logic of economic coordination. The case studies—drawn from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, when the modern business enterprise was evolving, address such issues as the relationship between coordination mechanisms and production techniques, the logic of coordination in industrial districts, and the consequences of regulation for coordination.
Continuing the work on information and organization presented in the influential Inside the Business Enterprise, this book provides material for business historians and economists who want to study the development of the dissemination of information and the coordination of economic activity within and between firms.
Driver information and assistance systems have emerged as an integral part of modern road vehicles in order to support the driver while driving. They make use of the newest information technologies in order to enhance driver awareness, safety and comfort, and thereby avoiding driver errors and accidents. Driver Adaptation to Information and Assistance Systems brings together recent work by the Marie-Curie Initial Training Network ADAPTATION. The project has studied drivers' behavioural adaptation to these new technologies from an integrative perspective working under a joint conceptual theoretical framework of behavioural adaptation that can be used to generate research hypotheses about how drivers will adapt to information and assistance systems and to derive guidelines for the design and deployment of such systems.
The Illinois frontier offered abundant opportunity, noted English traveler William Oliver after his journey to America in 1841–42, but life there was hard. Accordingly, Oliver advised the wealthy and comfortable to remain in England and counseled the unprosperous to seek their fortunes in America. Written for the poor who would migrate and published in 1843, his Eight Months in Illinois: With Information to Immigrants sought only to provide pertinent, valid, and practical information about what people might encounter in the frontier state. What Oliver actually accomplished, however, was much more: he imparted invaluable insights into and analyses of American life during an era of sweeping social, economic, and political change.
In his new foreword to this edition, James E. Davis stresses Oliver’s sincere desire to help British immigrants succeed in America. Oliver, Davis notes, “devoted dozens of pages of advice on numerous matters: various routes to Illinois and their advantages and disadvantages, processes of settling, qualities of western houses, costs of obtaining a new farm.” Oliver discussed other practical matters, such as the importance of having sons. He also assured his intended readership that “in the West, distinction of classes is little known and seldom recognized.”
As a document covering the middle west in the 1840s, Eight Months in Illinois: With Information to Immigrants has few equals. Its portrayal of farming and trade in relatively primitive times is historically accurate. It paints a plain picture, laying out the essential facts and presenting the typical incidents that enable us to trace the course of a settler’s simple, diligent, laborious day-to-day life. According to Davis, Oliver depicted “accurate and balanced slices of life in Illinois and America, including nasty insects, crude conditions, and the necessity of work.” And he did so without a trace of anti-American bias.
Eight Months in Illinois with Information to Immigrants was reprinted with emendations in 1924 by Walter Hill.
The papers collected in this volume exemplify some of the trends in current approaches to logic, language and computation. Written by authors with varied academic backgrounds, the contributions are intended for an interdisciplinary audience. The first part of this volume addresses issues relevant for multi-agent systems: reasoning with incomplete information, reasoning about knowledge and beliefs, and reasoning about games. Proofs as formal objects form the subject of Part II. Topics covered include: contributions on logical frameworks, linear logic, and different approaches to formalized reasoning. Part III focuses on representations and formal methods in linguistic theory, addressing the areas of comparative and temporal expressions, modal subordination, and compositionality.
To study the strategic interaction of individuals, we can use game theory. Despite the long history shared by game theory and political science, many political scientists remain unaware of the exciting game theoretic techniques that have been developed over the years. As a result they use overly simple games to illustrate complex processes. Games, Information, and Politics is written for political scientists who have an interest in game theory but really do not understand how it can be used to improve our understanding of politics. To address this problem, Gates and Humes write for scholars who have little or no training in formal theory and demonstrate how game theoretic analysis can be applied to politics. They apply game theoretic models to three subfields of political science: American politics, comparative politics, and international relations. They demonstrate how game theory can be applied to each of these subfields by drawing from three distinct pieces of research. By drawing on examples from current research projects the authors use real research problems--not hypothetical questions--to develop their discussion of various techniques and to demonstrate how to apply game theoretic models to help answer important political questions. Emphasizing the process of applying game theory, Gates and Humes clear up some common misperceptions about game theory and show how it can be used to improve our understanding of politics.
Games, Information, and Politics is written for scholars interested in understanding how game theory is used to model strategic interactions. It will appeal to sociologists and economists as well as political scientists.
Scott Gates is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Michigan State University. Brian D. Humes is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The essays in The Humanities in the Age of Information and Post-Truth represent a defense of the social function of the humanities in today's society. Edited by Ignacio López-Calvo and Christina Lux, the volume explains different ways in which the humanities and the arts, beyond their intrinsic and nonfunctional value, may be a valuable tool in our search for social justice, human empathy, freedom, and peace, all the while helping us answer many of the twenty-first century's big questions. Some essays explore the ways in which the humanities may help us imagine a different, more just world, and articulate politically effective mechanisms to achieve such goals. Others address the place of the humanities and the arts amid the ontological and epistemological uncertainties constantly produced in a fast-changing world.
While the reader may suspect that these types of lucubration are a desperate reaction to decreased public funding for the humanities worldwide, a decreased enrollment of students, or anxiety over the future of our profession, there is in this volume a coherent argument for the continued need, perhaps more now than ever, to invest in humanities education if we are to have informed and socially conscious citizens rather than just willing consumers and obedient workers. Furthermore, the essays prove that the humanities and the arts are, after all, not a luxury but an integral part of a complete scholarly education.
Humanitarian services seek to promote welfare to save lives, maintain human dignity, alleviate suffering, strengthen preparedness, and provide material and logistical assistance in response to humanitarian crises. They are thus different from development aids that address underlying socioeconomic factors and provides support for the social, economic and political developments of developing nations. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are becoming the backbone technologies for providing quality and efficient services and are playing an increasingly important and sophisticated role in humanitarian-service activities. Many ICT-based solutions exist such as tools to support the work of humanitarian organizations, mobile applications and solutions to provide health services, open source web portals for disaster management systems, and mobile and autonomous devices to provide assistance.
Information and Elections
R. Michael Alvarez University of Michigan Press, 1998 Library of Congress JK528.A64 1998 | Dewey Decimal 324.973092
R. Michael Alvarez examines how voters make their decisions in presidential elections. He begins with the assumption that voters have neither the incentive nor the inclination to be well-informed about politics and presidential candidates. Candidates themselves have incentives to provide ambiguous information about themselves, their records and their issue positions. Yet the author shows that a tremendous amount of information is made available about presidential candidates. And he uncovers clear and striking evidence that people are not likely to vote for candidates about whom they know very little. Alvarez explores how voters learn about candidates through the course of a campaign. He provides a detailed analysis of the media coverage of presidential campaigns and shows that there is a tremendous amount of media coverage of these campaigns, that much of this coverage is about issues and is informative, and that voters learn from this coverage.
The paperback edition of this work has been updated to include information on the 1996 Presidential election.
Information and Elections is a book that will be read by all who are interested in campaigns and electoral behavior in presidential and other elections.
"Thoughtfully conceptualized, painstakingly analyzed, with empirically significant conclusions on presidential election voting behavior, this book is recommended for both upper-division undergraduate and graduate collections." --Choice
R. Michael Alvarez is Associate Professor of Political Science, California Institute of Technology.
An ambitious new model of experimentation that will reorient our understanding of the key features of experimental practice.
What is experimental knowledge, and how do we get it? While there is general agreement that experiment is a crucial source of scientific knowledge, how experiment generates that knowledge is far more contentious. In this book, philosopher of science James Mattingly explains how experiments function. Specifically, he discusses what it is about experimental practice that transforms observations of what may be very localized, particular, isolated systems into what may be global, general, integrated empirical knowledge. Mattingly argues that the purpose of experimentation is the same as the purpose of any other knowledge-generating enterprise—to change the state of information of the knower. This trivial-seeming point has a non-trivial consequence: to understand a knowledge-generating enterprise, we should follow the flow of information. Therefore, the account of experimental knowledge Mattingly provides is based on understanding how information flows in experiments: what facilitates that flow, what hinders it, and what characteristics allow it to flow from system to system, into the heads of researchers, and finally into our store of scientific knowledge.
In this controversial book, Keith Krehbiel investigates and casts doubt upon a view of Congress held by many academics, journalists, and members of the lay public: that Congress is organized primarily to facilitate logrolling or "gains from trade" between legislators. The author puts forward an alternative "informational" theory that, unlike previous formal theories, highlights institutional needs and individual incentives for acquiring policy expertise. Using games with incomplete information, Krehbiel derives a set of unique and testable predictions about the organization of legislatures -- including the composition of committees and the procedures under which legislation is considered.
Krehbiel's creative illustrations and nonmathematical presentation of formal theories make this book accessible to a diverse set of readers. The political relevance and testability of games with incomplete information will be appreciated by game theorists and economists, while the book's findings make it essential reading for political scientists who study American politics, political institutions, or democratic legislatures.
Information and Mind explores questions of consciousness that Fred Dretske addressed in his philosophical career. Ranging from one of the earliest problems Dretske analyzed—the nature of seeing an object—to epistemological issues that he began working on mid-career, to matters he focused on in later years, including information, mental representation, and conscious experience, this volume investigates and engages with a spectrum of his prolific works. These papers, written by former colleagues and students from the University of Wisconsin and Stanford University, were inspired by talks given at the Center for the Explanation of Consciousness at Stanford in 2015 to celebrate Dretske’s life and work. In addition to scholarly essays, the authors also recount stories of personal interactions with Dretske that transformed their views or changed their professional trajectory. A bibliography of Dretske’s publications rounds out the volume. This generous volume includes contributions by Fred Adams, John A. Barker, John Perry, Paul Skokowski, and Dennis Stampe.
How do we ensure that waste and inefficiency do not undermine the mission of publicly funded schools? Derek Neal writes that economists must analyze education policy in the same way they analyze other procurement problems. Insights from research on incentives and contracts in the private sector point to new approaches that could induce publicly funded educators to provide excellent education, even though taxpayers and parents cannot monitor what happens in the classroom.
Information, Incentives, and Education Policy introduces readers to what economists know—and do not know—about the logjams created by misinformation and disincentives in education. Examining a range of policy agendas, from assessment-based accountability and centralized school assignments to charter schools and voucher systems, Neal demonstrates where these programs have been successful, where they have failed, and why. The details clearly matter: there is no quick-and-easy fix for education policy. By combining elements from various approaches, economists can help policy makers design optimal reforms.
Information, Incentives, and Education Policy is organized to show readers how standard tools from economics research on information and incentives speak directly to some of the most crucial issues in education today. In addition to providing an overview of the pluses and minuses of particular programs, each chapter includes a series of exercises that allow students of economics to work through the mathematics for themselves or with an instructor’s assistance. For those who wish to master the models and tools that economists of education should use in their work, there is no better resource available.
Anthony Downs's An Economic Theory of Democracy is one of the handful of books that reshaped political science in the post-World War II period. Information, Participation, and Choice traces the influence of Downs's ideas on subsequent research on voters, candidates, and parties in the United States and elsewhere.
Since their publication in 1957, Downs's seminal ideas -- tweedledum and tweedledee politics and the "rationality" of political ignorance and nonparticipation on the part of voters--have shaped an ongoing debate about how politics actually work. The debate pits a public-choice model inspired by microeconomic precepts against a traditional textbook model that presumes a responsible, informed, and civic-minded citizenry and a set of elected officials motivated by concern for the public interest and policy convictions.
The essays comprising Information, Participation, and Choice, by leading political scientists and economists, provide both a summary of Downs's key theoretical insights and an empirical examination of how well models inspired by Downs accurately describe U.S. political competition for Congress and the presidency.
Bernard Grofman is Professor of Political Science and Social Psychology, University of California, Irvine.
Confronting us at every turn, flowing from every imaginable source, information defines our era--and yet what we don't know about it could--and does--fill a book. In this indispensable volume, a primer for the information age, Hans Christian von Baeyer presents a clear description of what information is, how concepts of its measurement, meaning, and transmission evolved, and what its ever-expanding presence portends for the future.
Information is poised to replace matter as the primary stuff of the universe, von Baeyer suggests; it will provide a new basic framework for describing and predicting reality in the twenty-first century. Despite its revolutionary premise, von Baeyer's book is written simply in a straightforward fashion, offering a wonderfully accessible introduction to classical and quantum information. Enlivened with anecdotes from the lives of philosophers, mathematicians, and scientists who have contributed significantly to the field, Information conducts readers from questions of subjectivity inherent in classical information to the blurring of distinctions between computers and what they measure or store in our quantum age. A great advance in our efforts to define and describe the nature of information, the book also marks an important step forward in our ability to exploit information--and, ultimately, to transform the nature of our relationship with the physical universe.
Reviews of this book: In Information, physicist Hans Christian von Baeyer sets out to explain why...information is the irreducible seed from which every particle, every force and even the fabric of space-time grows. This is deep stuff, but von Baeyer romps through a huge range of subjects, including thermodynamics, statistics, information theory and quantum mechanics with ease....You will never think of information the same way again. --New Scientist [UK]
Reviews of this book: Von Baeyer has provided an accessible and engaging overview of the emerging role of information as a fundamental building block in science. --Michael Nielsen, Nature
Reviews of this book: Delving into the history of science from ancient Greek theories of the atom to the frontiers of astrophysics, [Von Baeyer] shows how the concept of information illuminates a huge variety of phenomena, from black holes to the gamesmanship strategies of Let's Make a Deal...Von Baeyer manages to steer clear of equations without resorting to the hand-waving metaphors that too many science popularizers lapse into when trying to convey difficult ideas. The result is a stylish introduction to one of the most fascinating themes of modern science. --Publishers Weekly
Hans Christian von Bayer is well known for explaining the complexities of science to the rest of us, and in this book he lives up to his reputation by taking on one of the most difficult concepts around--information. Starting with his characterization of information as a gentle rain that falls on all of our lives, he leads us through a universe in which information is woven like threads in a cloth. Masterful! --James Trefil, Clarence J Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University and co-author of The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
How do business enterprises control their subunits? In what ways do existing paths of communication within a firm affect its ability to absorb new technology and techniques? How do American banks affect how companies operate? Do theoretical constructs correspond to actual behavior?
Because business enterprises are complex institutions, these questions can prove difficult to address. All too often, firms are treated as the atoms of economics, the irreducible unit of analysis. This accessible volume, suitable for course use, looks more closely at the American firm—into its internal workings and its genesis in the Gilded Age. Focusing on the crucial role of imperfect and asymmetric information in the operation of enterprises, Inside the Business Enterprise forges an innovative link between modern economic theory and recent business history.
An attempt to develop a theory of knowledge and philosophy of mind using ideas derived from the mathematical theory of communication developed by Claude Shannon. Information is seen as an objective commodity defined by the dependency relations between distinct events. Knowledge is then analyzed as information caused belief. Perception is the delivery of information caused belief. Perception is the delivery of information in analog form (experience) for conceptual utilization by cognitive mechanisms. The final chapters attempt to develop a theory of meaning (or belief content) by viewing meaning as a certain kind of information-carrying role.
The 2009 financial stimulus bill ran to more than 1,100 pages, yet it wasn’t even given to Congress in its final form until thirteen hours before debate was set to begin, and it was passed twenty-eight hours later. How are representatives expected to digest so much information in such a short time.
The answer? They aren’t. With Legislating in the Dark, James M. Curry reveals that the availability of information about legislation is a key tool through which Congressional leadership exercises power. Through a deft mix of legislative analysis, interviews, and participant observation, Curry shows how congresspersons—lacking the time and resources to study bills deeply themselves—are forced to rely on information and cues from their leadership. By controlling their rank-and-file’s access to information, Congressional leaders are able to emphasize or bury particular items, exploiting their information advantage to push the legislative agenda in directions that they and their party prefer.
Offering an unexpected new way of thinking about party power and influence, Legislating in the Dark will spark substantial debate in political science.
In many ways, Marie Curie represents modern science. Her considerable lifetime achievements—the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize, the only woman to be awarded the Prize in two fields, and the only person to be awarded Nobel Prizes in multiple sciences—are studied by schoolchildren across the world. When, in 2009, the New Scientist carried out a poll for the “Most Inspirational Female Scientist of All Time,” the result was a foregone conclusion: Marie Curie trounced her closest runner-up, Rosalind Franklin, winning double the number of Franklin’s votes. She is a role model to women embarking on a career in science, the pride of two nations—Poland and France—and, not least of all, a European Union brand for excellence in science.
Making Marie Curie explores what went into the creation of this icon of science. It is not a traditional biography, or one that attempts to uncover the “real” Marie Curie. Rather, Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, by tracing a career that spans two centuries and a world war, provides an innovative and historically grounded account of how modern science emerges in tandem with celebrity culture under the influence of intellectual property in a dawning age of information. She explores the emergence of the Curie persona, the information culture of the period that shaped its development, and the strategies Curie used to manage and exploit her intellectual property. How did one create and maintain for oneself the persona of scientist at the beginning of the twentieth century? What special conditions bore upon scientific women, and on married women in particular? How was French identity claimed, established, and subverted? How, and with what consequences, was a scientific reputation secured?
In its exploration of these questions and many more, Making Marie Curie provides a composite picture not only of the making of Marie Curie, but the making of modern science itself.
Metabolizing Capital outlines a critical ecological framework to guide the theorization of writing and rhetoric in the dynamic contexts of Web 3.0 and environmental crisis.
The rise of the global cloud and the internet-of-things have ushered in a new stage of the internet that marks a transition from the celebrated user-generated content of Web 2.0 to the data-driven networks of Web 3.0. As social media networks have expanded, so has the amount of writing and communication we do online. This has created several valuable sub-layers of data and metadata about consumer-citizens that corporations and governments now routinely collect, store, and monetize. This frenzy to collect more data is contributing to several problematic social and environmental concerns as flows of information and capital dangerously accelerate how energy and matter move through ecosystems at every scale.
This book explores the planetary consequences of Web 3.0 and the vital role that writing and data production play in accelerating capital circulation, from concerns raised by the growing energy demands of the information industries, to growing streams of electronic waste, to the growing socioeconomic tensions arising as a result of information monopolies.
A posthuman, Marxist analysis of digital culture and writing, Metabolizing Capital contributes to and challenges current understandings of rhetorical agency and actor networks. Combining scholarship from writing studies, rhetoric, and composition with research in metabolic ecology, information theory, media studies, cognitive psychology, history, and new materialism, this book should be of interest to scholars in writing studies as well as others who study digital culture, ecological literacies, the history of writing and information, big data, and environmental concerns related to electronics and the information industries.
When we make phone calls and use computers, electronic devices mediate how we communicate. In each instance, we exchange symbols and information just as we have since humans began speaking and writing. What, then—besides economy of space and time—differentiates electronic communications from ordinary speech and writing?
The difference, Mark Poster argues, is the profound effect electronic mediation exerts on the very way we perceive ourselves and reality. To help decode the linguistic dimensions of our multiple forms of social interaction, he plays upon Marx's theory of the mode of production—the shift to late capitalism has a parallel in the shift from the mode of production to that of information.
Enlisting poststructuralist theory, he links four modes of communication with four poststructuralists: TV ads with Baudrillard, data bases with Foucault, electronic writing with Derrida, and computer science with Lyotard. Mode of Information points the way to a poststructuralist strategy for writing history, a framework well suited to unearthing structures of domination and the means to their disruption.
"An informed, insightful, provocative account of phenomena that have transformed virtually every area of public and private life on our time."—Robert Anchor, American Historical Review
"The importance of Poster's book is unmistakable for he skillfully negotiates between and juxtaposes two wide theoretical domains—electronically mediated communications and poststructuralist theory—about which much has been written, but hardly with the acumen that he brings to bear in a long-awaited critical rapprochement."—Charles J. Stivale, Criticism
In The Modern Invention of Information: Discourse, History, and Power, Ronald E. Day provides a historically informed critical analysis of the concept and politics of information. Analyzing texts in Europe and the United States, his critical reading method goes beyond traditional historiographical readings of communication and information by engaging specific historical texts in terms of their attempts to construct and reshape history.
After laying the groundwork and justifying his method of close reading for this study, Day examines the texts of two pre–World War II documentalists, Paul Otlet and Suzanne Briet. Through the work of Otlet and Briet, Day shows how documentation and information were associated with concepts of cultural progress. Day also discusses the social expansion of the conduit metaphor in the works of Warren Weaver and Norbert Wiener. He then shows how the work of contemporary French multimedia theorist Pierre Lévy refracts the earlier philosophical writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari through the prism of the capitalist understanding of the “virtual society.”
Turning back to the pre–World War II period, Day examines two critics of the information society: Martin Heidegger and Walter Benjamin. He explains Heidegger’s philosophical critique of the information culture’s model of language and truth as well as Benjamin’s aesthetic and historical critique of mass information and communication. Day concludes by contemplating the relation of critical theory and information, particularly in regard to the information culture’s transformation of history, historiography, and historicity into positive categories of assumed and represented knowledge.
We live in the age of Big Data, awash in a sea of ever-expanding information—a constant deluge of facts, statistics, models, and projections. The human mind is quickly desensitized by information presented in the form of numbers, and yet many important social and environmental phenomena, ranging from genocide to global climate change, require quantitative description.
The essays and interviews in Numbers and Nerves explore the quandary of our cognitive responses to quantitative information, while also offering compelling strategies for overcoming insensitivity to the meaning of such information. With contributions by journalists, literary critics, psychologists, naturalists, activists, and others, this book represents a unique convergence of psychological research, discourse analysis, and visual and narrative communication.
At a time of unprecedented access to information, our society is frequently stymied in its efforts to react to the world’s massive problems. Many of these problems are systemic, deeply rooted in seemingly intransigent cultural patterns and lifestyles. In order to sense the significance of these issues and begin to confront them, we must first understand the psychological tendencies that enable and restrict our processing of numerical information.
Numbers and Nerves explores a wide range of psychological phenomena and communication strategies—fast and slow thinking, psychic numbing, pseudoinefficacy, the prominence effect, the asymmetry of trust, contextualized anecdotes, multifaceted mosaics of prose, and experimental digital compositions, among others—and places these in real-world contexts. In the past two decades, cognitive science has increasingly come to understand that we, as a species, think best when we allow numbers and nerves, abstract information and experiential discourse, to work together. This book provides a roadmap to guide that collaboration. It will be invaluable to scholars, educators, professional communicators, and anyone who struggles to grasp the meaning behind the numbers.
The Ontogeny of Information is a critical intervention into the ongoing and perpetually troubling nature-nurture debates surrounding human development. Originally published in 1985, this was a foundational text in what is now the substantial field of developmental systems theory. In this revised edition Susan Oyama argues compellingly that nature and nurture are not alternative influences on human development but, rather, developmental products and the developmental processes that produce them. Information, says Oyama, is thought to reside in molecules, cells, tissues, and the environment. When something wondrous occurs in the world, we tend to question whether the information guiding the transformation was pre-encoded in the organism or installed through experience or instruction. Oyama looks beyond this either-or question to focus on the history of such developments. She shows that what developmental “information” does depends on what is already in place and what alternatives are available. She terms this process “constructive interactionism,” whereby each combination of genes and environmental influences simultaneously interacts to produce a unique result. Ontogeny, then, is the result of dynamic and complex interactions in multileveled developmental systems. The Ontogeny of Information challenges specialists in the fields of developmental biology, philosophy of biology, psychology, and sociology, and even nonspecialists, to reexamine the existing nature-nurture dichotomy as it relates to the history and formation of organisms.
This book examines the scrambling phenomena in German and Korean from the perspective that different ordering possibilities are motivated and constrained by interactions among syntactic, semantic, and discourse principles. Using Optimality Theory, Optimizing Structure in Context demonstrates how these principles from different modules of grammar interact and thus resolve conflicts among themselves to yield the most optimal output, that is, a sentence with a particular word order, in a given semantic and discoursal context. This way, it explains various meaning-related effects associated with scrambling such as definiteness effect and focus effect. While developing constraints in the discourse domain, it also proposes a new model of information structure based on basic discourse features. By expanding the core idea of constraint interaction in Optimality Theory to interactions 'between' modules of grammar as well as 'between', this book provides a model of interface theory.
The Political Economy of Expertise is a carefully argued examination of how legislatures use expert research and testimony. Kevin Esterling demonstrates that interest groups can actually help the legislative process by encouraging Congress to assess research and implement well-informed policies.
More than mere touts for the interests of Washington insiders, these groups encourage Congress to enact policies that are likely to succeed while avoiding those that have too great of a risk of failure. The surprising result is greater legislative efficiency. The Political Economy of Expertise illustrates that this system actually favors effective and informed decision making, thereby increasing the likelihood that new policies will benefit the American public.
Kevin M. Esterling is Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside.
How does the government decide what’s a problem and what isn’t? And what are the consequences of that process? Like individuals, Congress is subject to the “paradox of search.” If policy makers don’t look for problems, they won’t find those that need to be addressed. But if they carry out a thorough search, they will almost certainly find new problems—and with the definition of each new problem comes the possibility of creating a government program to address it.
With The Politics of Attention, leading policy scholars Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones demonstrated the central role attention plays in how governments prioritize problems. Now, with The Politics of Information, they turn the focus to the problem-detection process itself, showing how the growth or contraction of government is closely related to how it searches for information and how, as an organization, it analyzes its findings. Better search processes that incorporate more diverse viewpoints lead to more intensive policymaking activity. Similarly, limiting search processes leads to declines in policy making. At the same time, the authors find little evidence that the factors usually thought to be responsible for government expansion—partisan control, changes in presidential leadership, and shifts in public opinion—can be systematically related to the patterns they observe.
Drawing on data tracing the course of American public policy since World War II, Baumgartner and Jones once again deepen our understanding of the dynamics of American policy making.
Sergey Brin, a cofounder of Google, once compared the perfect search engine to “the mind of God.” As the modern face of promiscuous knowledge, however, Google’s divine omniscience traffics in news, maps, weather, and porn indifferently. This book, begun by the late Kenneth Cmiel and completed by his close friend John Durham Peters, provides a genealogy of the information age from its early origins up to the reign of Google. It examines how we think about fact, image, and knowledge, centering on the different ways that claims of truth are complicated when they pass to a larger public. To explore these ideas, Cmiel and Peters focus on three main periods—the late nineteenth century, 1925 to 1945, and 1975 to 2000, with constant reference to the present. Cmiel’s original text examines the growing gulf between politics and aesthetics in postmodern architecture, the distancing of images from everyday life in magical realist cinema, the waning support for national betterment through taxation, and the inability of a single presentational strategy to contain the social whole. Peters brings Cmiel’s study into the present moment, providing the backstory to current controversies about the slipperiness of facts in a digital age. A hybrid work from two innovative thinkers, Promiscuous Knowledge enlightens our understanding of the internet and the profuse visual culture of our time.