Archive for November 23rd, 2010
PRIVACY (Politics & Psychology) – Blog post 5
As my previous readings within Politics have led me to identify the areas of globalization and security as paramount in relation to the issue of privacy I have extended my reading to specific books focusing on this concepts.
Globalisation, Competitiveness and Human Security (1997) – Cristobal Kay ,states that globalisation can include political negotiations, cultural trends and increased internationalisation of economic activities. It is also the process whereby enterprises become interdependent and interlinked globally via strategic allegiances and international networks. The book discusses changes occurring on a global level. Such changes are beyond the influence and henceforth the control of any individual person, community or even the government. It is therefore logical to link these dynamics to society experiencing feelings of insecurity over many related issues, including that of loss of privacy. After the end of the Cold War in 1989, which was predominantly viewed as a positive outcome as it reduced the fear of global military conflict which would have threatened peace and security, many political and economical reforms were instigated within developing countries and at the global level there was an overwhelming sense of security due to the dissolution of the threat of nuclear war. However it has been purported that there are new specific threats to human security, many of which have international or global dimensions as their root causes can be traced to events and processes occurring outside of their territories, namely globalisation and competitiveness. The UNDP (1994):23 produced a list which delineates all aspects of human security; on that list under political security was violation of human rights – privacy connotations. The implication is that globalisation and competiveness can be directly attributable to human development and to reduce people’s insecurities.
Globalization and insecurity – political, economic and physical challenges (2002) – Barbara Harriss-White, gave the definition of insecurity as ‘unsafe or unreliable’ and determined that there are four areas of physical insecurity which are interrelated:
- Threats to persons, property and/or environments
- Economic and political autonomy of states
- Instability, particularly of market
- Vulnerability – a susceptibility to damage, closely but not completely aligned with poverty and inequality
This book also discusses globalization as a political process, whereby the main forces producing it have moved away from industry and weapon production towards instead, technology, information and communications, and financial control of everything else. It is suggested that it is the political project that causes insecurity via poverty, regulation of health and the reworking of national politics.
For the psychology part of my independent disciplinary review this week I have been reading : Self – Presentation Impression Management and Interpersonal Behaviour (1995) – Mark R. Leary. Self-presentation deals with the ways in which human behaviour is affected by people’s concerns with their public impressions. The norm would be that individuals would prefer that others perceive them in a flattering light rather than in an undesirable manner. Thus people may act in a certain way in order to make an impression on someone e.g. the job applicant in an interview. It is determined that generally people’s concerns with others’ impressions constrain their behavioural options and so individuals would be reluctant to conduct acts which would be seen as morally/ socially reprehensible in public. This is not necessarily negative though as a world where no-one cares about the opinions of others would be far more detrimental. Consider people saying or doing anything without considering the feelings of others etc. However it is possible for people to be too concerned with what others think about them which can lead to feelings of insecurity building up. The book also discusses the differences between exaggerations and lies in relation to the fact that individuals are multi – faceted and can therefore convey many different aspects of their characters, the majority of which may be genuinely true attributes, depending on the circumstances. Thus rather than lying per se, people may select the images they want others to form from their repertoire of true-self images.
There are two prevalent thinkers in relation to self-presentation: Erving Goffman who was a sociologist and wrote ‘The presentation of self in everyday life’ (1959) in which he determined that much can be gained by focusing on public behaviour, and Edward Jones (1990) ‘The study of impression’, in which he discussed management and self – presentation being an integral part of the study of interpersonal perception as it is not possible to fathom how people view each other without knowing the dynamic to self-presentation at the same time.
I will be continuing my reading further into these areas within my two disciplines as I feel that there is far more valuable information to be obtained towards the overall research.
This week, I’ve been pushing on with “Complexity: A Guided Tour”, and continued attending the Complexity lectures. Their subject matter are converging towards “in what sense do real-world distributed complex systems compute?” (e.g. ant colonies or the Web). This is very relevant to my key theme of collaborative problem solving. It builds on last week’s introduction to cellular automata. Most fascinating was an experiment that used genetic algorithms to evolve cellular automata to perform global analysis despite being highly distributed. The results was the emergence of Feynman-diagram like particles, operating at the abstracted level equivalent to the programming level of a traditional von-Neumann-style computer. Obviously, computation has been a key theme throughout, so there’s a happy overlap with the theory of computation COMP6046 lectures. I’ve enjoyed the introduction to information theory and Shannon entropy, and have chosen Comp Thinking coursework on encryption in order to build on that. The other key ingredient this week has been thermodynamics, and this has been a happy stroll back to my time in Physics. Above all the Darwin-like obvious-yet-brilliant central observation of Boltzmann that things will always tend toward the more common state – hence the mighty 2nd law of TD. So, several really engaging themes have been weaving together. Looking forward to what comes next.