Public Access in Decline
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Public Access Television in the United States has undergone a serious decline. This chapter introduces the conflict between two ways of explaining the decline of public access: that of technological utopians who believe that technology itself promotes democracy and that of social constructionism and critical theorists who look first to the social shaping of technologies as embedded in relations of power and domination. The first view is important because it is often appealed to by policymakers and municipal leaders. I criticize the technological utopian view for its inherent determinism, its explanatory insufficiency and its political naivety. Technologies alone do not determine the course of social change. I briefly outline the alternative view, and later outline the plan of the book.
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