Sandra Braman

Thursday, April 12, 2007 - 5:00pm


Cinema and Television Studies Speaker Series

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Information, Policy, and Power in the Informational State

While information policy is among the most ancient forms of governance, there has been a phase change—a change of state—in the extent to which governments exercise power by deliberately, explicitly, and consistently controlling information creation, processing, flows, and use.  Changes in the law, in the subject of the law, and in how we think about the law can result in a change in the very nature of the state itself because the institutions, processes, and policies of any given political form are but a moment of stability within a much wider, more diffuse, and constantly shifting policy field. Three types of knowledge must be brought together to understand just how this change of state has come about and what it means for the exercise of power domestically and globally: In addition to knowledge of the law itself, research on the empirical world provides evidence about the policy subject (the world for which information policy is made) and social theory provides an analytical foundation. Bringing these types of knowledge together makes visible trends in the identities of the state and of its citizens; social, technological, and informational structures; the borders of those structures; and the ways in which those structures change. This talk will explore ways in which currents in information policy across traditional legal silos combine to affect society in each of these areas, looking both at the U.S. as a case and global resonances with these trends.

Sandra Braman has been doing research on the macro-level effects of digital technologies and their policy implications for over two decades.  Recent work includes Change of State: Information, Policy, and Power (MIT Press, 2006) and the edited volumes The Emergent Global Information Policy Regime (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), Biotechnology and Communication: The Meta-Technologies of Information (Erlbaum, 2004), and Communication Researchers and Policy-Making (MIT Press, 2003).


Cinema Studies Program
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