Repression, Panic and Euphoria

Brian Winston studied how new communication technologies have been received by Society. He investigated telephone, radio, television, computers, satellites and the Internet. Winston found two phenomena that regularly recurred:

  • The political potential was repressed
  • The technological change was dramatized

communication_technologies

According to Winston new forms of communication always integrates in Society so that they enhance, or at least not seriously affect, the fundamental power relations. Repression of the political potential means that rules and manners changes to preserve the old systems, in practice through increased bureaucracy and control.

The technological change is also dramatized. New technology appears either as plunging the society straight down into the pit, or as a savior solving all the problems. Descriptions are either black or white – all nuances are absent. Railroad threatened to tear the soul in pieces or it would link the world together. Radio could either seduce teenagers with it’s nasty music or educate the common people. Television was either a Boob Tube or a University at home. Internet is the world’s largest library, or a gathering place for shady terrorists, crooks and pedophiles.

Since Demoex is a product of new communication technology, we have experienced both of these phenomena. The radical potential was repressed by the other parties. They refused to participate so that the experiment could not be implemented as intended. The potential was also repressed by imposing silence, both in the City Council, the public debate and in the high school where it started.

The change was also dramatized. Demoex became a hype. Newspapers wrote a lot when the experiment was new, which created expectations impossible to live up to. When the new technology falls into the everyday life we find that Demoex has not been the core of the local political life as intended. On the other hand, the experiment did not become a den of racists and populists as the politicians feared. The threats and promises were exaggerated, both panic and euphoria are unfounded.

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