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The Ironies of Digital Citizenship: Educational Imaginaries and Digital Losers AcrossThree Decades
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Education and Adult Learning. Linköping University, Faculty of Educational Sciences. (Vuxenpedagogik och folkbildning)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0410-8241
2018 (English)In: Digital Culture & Society, ISSN 2364-2122, Vol. 4, no 2, p. 39-61Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Our everyday use of digital technologies, platforms and infrastructures is often portrayed as an autonomous technical development, guided by clever and independent innovations, rather than broad sociotechnical imaginaries that inspire parliamentary support and governance. This article will consequently shed the light on the often-overlooked structural and societal efforts that have historically shaped the digital citizen of today. For the past 70 years or so, non-formal adult education about computers and computing has been a key part of political ambitions to create a desirable future. Over time, digital technologies have also become a precondition for the enactment of citizenship. That is, ‘digital citizenship’ is increasingly positioned as a fundamental requirement for democratic participation. The purpose of this paper is to trace how the digital citizen, and its accompanying problems, has been construed over time, particularly through educational imaginaries. What problems is the digital citizen a solution to? Who has been presented as problematic, and who, subsequently, has become the primary target for educational solutions? What skills have been described as indispensable for the digital citizen during different periods in history? By using Sweden as a vantage point this paper provides both concrete examples as well as perspectives on transnational discourses. In focus for the study are discourses concerning non-formal adult education, in the form of awareness campaigns, social programmes and adult liberal education about computers aimed at the general citizenry, during three periods in time: the 1950s, the 1980s, and today. The contribution is a critical take on how the citizen has increasingly become connected to digital technologies, and how this convergence has at the same time created digital exclusion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Transcript Verlag, 2018. Vol. 4, no 2, p. 39-61
Keywords [en]
digital citizenship; popular education; participatory engagement; algorithmic governance; computer history; computer policies; educational imaginaries.
National Category
Social Sciences Media Studies Educational Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-160740DOI: 10.14361/dcs-2018-0204OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-160740DiVA, id: diva2:1357928
Available from: 2019-10-04 Created: 2019-10-04 Last updated: 2019-10-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Educational imaginaries: a genealogy of the digital citizen
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Educational imaginaries: a genealogy of the digital citizen
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis makes use of a genealogical approach to map out and explainhow and why computers and citizenship have become so closely connected.It examines the historical continuities and disruptions, and the role thatpopular education has played in this interrelation. Drawing on previousresearch in the overlap between Swedish popular education history andhistorical computer politics, this thesis adds knowledge about howimaginaries of popular education, operating as silver bullet solutions toproblems with computerization, have had important functions as governingtools for at least 70 years. That is, Swedish popular education has since the1950s been imagined as a central solution to problems with computerization,but also to realize the societal potentials associated with computers.

Specifically, this thesis makes two contributions: 1) Empirically, the thesisunearths archived, and in many ways forgotten, discourses around thehistorical enactment of the digital citizen, and the role of popular education,questioning assumptions that are taken for granted in current times; 2)Theoretically, the thesis proposes a conceptual model of educationalimaginaries, and specifically introduces the notion (and method) of‘problematizations’ into these imaginaries.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling använder sig av ett genealogiskt tillvägagångssätt för att kartlägga och förklara hur och varför datorer och medborgarskap har kommit att bli så tätt sammankopplade och vilken funktion folkbildning har och har haft i denna relation. Avhandlingen undersöker historiska kontinuiteter och avbrott i perioden från 1950-talet till 2010-talet. Genom att bygga vidare på tidigare forskning i överlappningen mellan svensk folkbildningshistoria och historisk datapolitik bidrar avhandlingen med kunskap om hur folkbildning, och föreställningar om folkbildning, fungerat som en historisk och nutida universallösning, dels för att söka förekomma förutsedda problem med datorisering, men också för att realisera samhälleliga förhoppningar förknippade med den samma.

Avhandlingens bidrag är dubbelt: 1) Empiriskt lyfter avhandlingen fram arkiverade och, på många sätt, bortglömda diskurser och folkbildningssatsningar kring datorisering och medborgarskap, samt påvisar dessas relevans för nutida föreställningar om den digitala medborgaren. 2) Teoretisk föreslår avhandlingen en konceptuell modell över framtidsföreställningar kring utbildning, samt introducerar specifikt begreppet (och metoden) ’problematisering’ i dessa föreställningar.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2019. p. 159
Series
Linköping Studies in Behavioural Science, ISSN 1654-2029 ; 214
Keywords
Popular education; non-formal adult education; computer policy; computer history; educational history; educational imaginaries; digital citizenship; problematizations; genealogy, Folkbildning; datapolitik; utbildningshistoria; datorhistoria; sociotekniska föreställningar; digitalt medborgarskap; problematiseringar; genealogi
National Category
Didactics History of Ideas Human Aspects of ICT Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-154017 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-154017 (DOI)9789176851586 (ISBN)
Public defence
2019-01-11, I:101, Hus I, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-01-23 Created: 2019-01-23 Last updated: 2019-10-09Bibliographically approved

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The full text will be freely available from 2020-08-28 15:29
Available from 2020-08-28 15:29

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