The last decade has seen a shift in media from a world where a small, professional group produces news, opinion and entertainment to one where a much broader set of the population is involved making and sharing media. This shift has had important implications for the news business and for social change, with social media a part of popular protests around the world. The most important shift may be yet to come: a shift in civics, where participation in the public sphere is less about engagement with government institutions and more about individuals and groups using media, markets and code as well as laws to seek change. Ethan Zuckerman’s talk will explore contemporary anxieties about “”a crisis in civics”” and look at the idea that civics is changing along with digital media to become more participatory and inclusive, but harder to understand and predict.
The Bellwether Lectures are a new series of flagship public lectures being organised by the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. The series brings world-leading intellectuals to Oxford to lecture on the social implications of the Internet, and its role in shaping our economic, political, and social future.
There will be two of these lectures per academic term, and six lectures per year.
About the speakers
Ethan Zuckerman is director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT, and a principal research scientist at the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the distribution of attention in mainstream and new media, the use of technology for international development, and the use of new media technologies by activists. Zuckerman co-founded international blogging community Global Voices, which showcases news and opinions from citizen media in over 150 nations and thirty languages. Through Global Voices and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where he served as a researcher and fellow for eight years, Zuckerman is active in efforts to promote freedom of expression and fight censorship in online spaces. He also founded Geekcorps, a technology volunteer corps that sends IT specialists to work on projects in developing nations, with a focus on West Africa. Previously he helped found Tripod.com, one of the web’s first “personal publishing” sites. He received his bachelor’s degree from Williams College, and, as a Fulbright scholar, studied at the University of Ghana at Legon.