INFO281 Post #4: Possible Research Topics

It’s that time where I reflect back on what I’ve learned to the specific points where my interest was most piqued.  Here are the results of my searching:

  1. Cultural flow as a Western prop and detrimental to periphery nation-states.  I’m interested in discussing Andre Gunder Frank’s 1969 Dependency Theory &/OR World System Theory, especially as concerns missionary work.  A friend told me to look up a speech my Monsignor Ivan Illich, “To Hell with Good Intentions” (1968) in which the priest explains that missions have a deleterious effect on culture.  This connects to information flow–inasmuch as the North views its possession of “a better way” to do any number of things, there is always a risk of exploiting Southern or peripheral peoples.
  2. Future flows affected by virtual reality.  We haven’t really gone into this piece of information flow other than a brief bit on global flows and technology; however, I can imagine that virtual reality and its proliferation and improvement will have an interesting effect on various pieces of global flows.  What are the sociological ramifications of increased use of virtual reality in, for example, the school setting?  Will we see less movement of people (tourism)?  What effect will this have on language and culture?
  3. In a similar vein, I’d be interested in learning more about Manuel Castells’ (1996, 2009) The Rise of the Network Society and his (.  This in conjunction with Mazuko Itō and fellow MIT researchers (2010) book, Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out: Kids living and learning with new media.  Again, I’m interested in the sociological ramifications.  A networked society means multidimensional, multidirectional communication (Castell 2009), but how does this affect kids?  Are networked kids shallow adults?  Are networked kids better global citizens?


Castells, M. (2009). The rise of the network society, 2nd edition.  Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Illich, I. (1968, April 20). To hell with good intentions. [Speech]. Conference on InterAmerican Student Projects (CIASP) in CuernavacaMexico.  Retrieved from

Itō, M, et al. (2010). Hanging out, messing around, and geeking out: Kids living and learning with new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Network Society, Network Neutrality & Teacher Librarians

Grandjean, M. (2013). Social Network Analysis Visualization.  CC attribution -SA 3.0 Unported

In my reading from INFO281 (Seminar in Contemporary Issues: Globalization and Information) this week, I got a look at globalization theories.  I was particularly interested in Manuel Castells’ Network Society.  Perhaps it is because I was inundated by neoliberalism, or that I couldn’t help but equate Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire theory with Star Wars— Emperor Palpatine and the Rebel Alliance and all. Whatever the case, Castells’ Network Society theory was like a breath of fresh air, because I felt like it resonated with me.  It’s not because “technological change exercises underlying causal determination in the myriad of processes referred to as globalization” (Robinson, 2007, p. 132), although that does play a big part.  Honestly, I appreciate a theory that, rather than focusing on the economic or political pieces of globalization, sees something like advances in technology making an impact on the various, interconnected parts that make up what is, to my budding understanding, globalization.  The reason it resonates is because I, in my role as a teacher librarian, thoroughly embrace Sir Francis Bacon’s famous saying, “knowledge is power.”  Part of the theory of Network Society is the idea that the economy is knowledge based.

So how does that relate to network neutrality?  Well, the September/October 2017 issue of American Libraries includes a news article, “ALA fights for an open internet” (p. 8). Part of librarianship for any librarian is the support and championing of freedom of information: as ALA president Jim Neal notes, “Network neutrality is all about equity of access to information.”  It’s necessary to support the 2015 Open Internet Order, which puts in place rules that protect access to information.  The article’s author reminds readers that “access to the internet and other library resources empowers all to participate fully in today’s digital economy.”

The language current to most of today’s school standards focuses on students that are able to function in a digital environment, with the understanding that today’s technology does empower as it breaks down barriers to knowledge (see AASL Standards for 21st-century learners, 2007 and NGSS “The need for standards” & Monica Burns’ 2015 Edutopia article “The Common Core and digital skills development”).  All of the standards recognize the fact that successful students are prepared for life in a highly technological society.  In order to support these students, it’s imperative that knowledge is accessible, that it’s not restricted by government and commercial internet service provider interference.


American Association of School Libraries. (2007). Standards for 21st-century learners. [PDF]. Retrieved from

American Library Association. (2017, September/October). Ala fights for an open internet. American Libraries 48(9/10), p. 8).

Burns, M. (2015, July 1). The Common Core and digital skills development. Edutopia. Retrieved from

Next Generation Science Standards. (n.d.). The need for standards. Retrieved from

Robinson, W.I. (2007). Theories of globalization. In G.Ritzer (Ed.), Blackwell companion to globalization (pp. 125-143) Malden, MA: Blackwell.