Infeartainment and Technology: New Challenges for Citizenship in a Globalized World

Narayan Gopalkrishnan
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This paper examines the interface between Governance and the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the context of a globalised world. The paper will focus on the role that ICTs play in facilitating as well as diluting democratic participation and governance.

This paper will argue that the modern nation-state is increasingly under pressure from the processes of economic globalisation, facing a world characterized by sophisticated technology, monolithic corporations including the media, and increasing pressures to reduce the role of the welfare state (de-stating). As a result, it faces a number of crises: a crisis of legitimacy, a crisis of rationality, fiscal crises and motivation crises.

The concept of ‘Infeartainment’ will be presented as one that represents the use of fear by the powerful, especially in the context of the nation-state, to contain the population while also providing them with entertainment as a form of distraction. Infeartainment as spectacle and narrative, will be examined as it draws from the historical and mythological positioning of the audience and distracts their attention from key issues of their present.

The paper will further argue that ICTs are the primary conduit for Infeartainment and that, despite their tremendous potential for strengthening democracy, ICTs are easily used to dilute the democratic ideals in the name of fear. It will also delineate the basic conflict there exists between the concepts of e-democracy and the electronic republic on the one side and the interests of the powerful as well as the interests of the marginalized minorities on the other. Finally, the paper will close with an overview of some of the key focus areas for strengthening democracy within the context of Infeartainment.

Keywords: Globalization, Governance, Fear, Infeartainment, Technology, Democracy, E-Democracy
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Narayan Gopalkrishnan

Director, Center for Multicultural and Community Development (CMCD), University of the Sunshine Coast

Narayan is the Director of the Center for Multicultural and Community Development (CMCD), a research center of the University of the Sunshine Coast. CMCD focuses on research, training and consultancies around a range of issues in the areas impacting on multiculturalism and community development. As well as being the Director of CMCD, Narayan is currently the coordinator of the Bachelor of Social Science (Community Work) Degree and lectures in the areas of Community Work, Counselling and Globalisation. Narayan has extensive work experience in Australia and overseas (including India) in working on issues of diversity, cross-cultural development, aid and development and working with refugees, migrants and indigenous people. He has guest lectured at universities in several countries including Thailand, India and Uganda. Narayan has presented keynote addresses and papers at a number of international conferences. He has been training, managing projects, teaching and researching for over 15 years in Australia and overseas.

Ref: T06P0303