The Internet and the Spread of Minority Culture

Chapter 23, “Ensuring Minority Rights in a Pluralistic and ‘Liquid’ Information Society” and the subsequent presentation, we discussed the right of all humans to education and by extension, the Internet. In this chapter, Birgitte Kofod Olsen discusses the information society that globalization helps foster, especially with the help of the Internet; we can see the ways in which cultures, traditions, and norms become shared and ultimately, preserved using education and the Internet.

We know that access to information is increasingly easier in our society because of the Internet. We are able to receive information anywhere about anywhere and anyone; we may also see things as they are in different parts of the world and amongst different societies. For example, we can go online and see various things such as the conflicts between Israel and Palestine, the Occupy movements, or the European financial tension. We may read these stories online and discover more about them. We are in a pretty fortunate situation in Canada where we have little conflict. We peruse or skim through news articles perhaps out of interest or a desire for general knowledge of the circumstances. Different parts of the world may not be as fortunate as us. They can use Internet to gain information about their own circumstances or browse about our culture and life.

Mobility becomes a non-issue because of increased global awareness. We are able to understand more about certain areas and if we choose to, take on certain aspects of their culture. Consequently, there are those who can upload images, text, and video about their own culture, traditions, norms, and lives. As such, they are able give the world glimpses of who they are. Now, with the easy storage capabilities of the digital world, data, and information, this is crucial. We know that in the past, traditions and cultures were passed down orally from generation to generation. With the Internet, these traditions and cultures are not only passed down digitally, they have the potential to be passed between people all over the world.

With the concept of pluralism, there is a regard for diversity and a need for minorities to be represented. Obviously with digital communication and the spread of the Internet, they may be able present themselves in a meaningful way. Their cultures and traditions are easily spread and stored online for any and all to see, all but ensuring their heritage’s protection. We questioned whether or not the Internet is a right. We can see that the Internet is now a crucial tool in our lives—it’s probably not a luxury anymore because of how prevalent and important it is in our lives. Can we say that the Internet is a basic right for humans (especially minorities and the underprivileged)? Perhaps not, but its influence is undeniable and its effects might just be crucial for the spread and maintenance of cultures and traditions.

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2 Comments

  1. Let’s try a posthuman approach to it. Let’s say that we agree that we’ve moved beyond the notion of human as a discrete individual, and that to be human means to be a part of a larger society, one enabled with our technology. Does it then follow that removing those connections makes us less human? And if it does, if connection is a necessary part of being human, doesn’t preserving that connection then become a human right?

    –MH

  2. […] The Internet and the Spread of Minority Culture (engl293introtodigitalmedia.wordpress.com) […]


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