Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
The theme of this book is to investigate the current role of media and communication technologies and their impact on everyday life for the average citizen in the European Community. Aimed at the academic and advanced students of media, communications, economics and sociology, the volume covers three main areas – inclusion and exclusion; consumption and the quality of life; and methodology and policy.
There are 17 contributors from a variety of backgrounds, including social scientists, academics and researchers from a number of European universities. The editor is currently Professor of Media and Communications at the LSE. Silverstone's research and teaching interests are wide‐ranging with particular emphasis on the relationship between media, technology and social change. As coordinator of the European Media Technology and Everyday Life Network (EMTEL), he is well qualified to edit this volume outlining the conclusions of the research project.
This volume is a result of research conducted over 3.5 years from May 2000 to October 2003, following a grant from EMTEL. The aim of the research was to investigate “the realities and dynamics of the user friendly information society in Europe” – an area of study concerned with the changes in everyday life as a result of new technology and media. The research also examines the effect of information on marginal groups in society – the information rich and the information poor. Minority, disadvantaged groups may be excluded by virtue of lack of skills, income, age, gender and disability. This book also examines the issue of developing policies to deal with communication issues. This volume is an important introduction to a new field that is growing in recognition and significance. The 251‐page volume includes a preface and a short list of abbreviations, along with a detailed index.
Consisting of three main parts, each section begins with a chapter that introduces and summarises the research and discussion in that particular area. Part 1, Inclusion and Exclusion, examines access to information and communication technologies. Access is considered to be a basic resource and crucial for engaging in and improving the quality of life for European citizens to enable equal opportunities and empowerment in all areas of life, especially employment and economic growth. The digital divide is discussed as a reflection of wider social problems, such as poverty, cultural diversity and racial tensions.
Part 2 of the book, Consumption and Quality of Life, discusses methods of living with new information and communication technologies, and includes case studies such as Katie Ward's research titled “Internet consumption in Ireland” and Maren Hartmann's interesting study on “Young peoples and new technologies”. The complicated relationship between technologies, consumptions and quality of life is discussed in Chapter 6, where criteria such as social dimensions, subjective criteria and human agency are examined. Part 3, Methodology and Policy, describes policy making in Europe and concludes with a chapter by Silverstone and Sorenson which sums up the research.
Media, Technology and Everyday Life in Europe would be suitable reading for students and academics in a number of disciplines, in particular media studies and sociology. With a European perspective, this book has a theoretical approach and it would be useful for policy makers in the European Union who are interested in the latest research into information and communication technologies. The volume covers a number of difficult concepts of relevance to academics and advanced students of sociology, politics, communications, economics and information and media studies. Overall, this is a complex, specialised and technical book useful for academics, policy makers and higher education students interested in current theories and research into media and communication issues.