Current Issue
Next Issue
Call for Papers
About IRIE


MSN Search

Issue No. 013

Vol. 13 - Sep 2010
Intercultural Infomation Ethics

It is well known that information and communication technologies have permeated all corners of the world. Images of farmers in Bangladesh or members of a native tribe in Africa wielding mobile phones have become common place. Moreover, the Internet has continued to penetrate deeper and deeper into the everyday world of ordinary people, so much so that it is fast becoming an ubiquitous medium present in different cultural contexts. In this issue, we have invited researchers and scholars to investigate ethical issues that arise from the interplay arising from this very fact.

An inevitable result of the global penetration of the Internet and the mobile phone (in fact the two technologies are fast merging into one device only) is that presuppositions of the world's cultures could clash with those accompanying these technologies. This has given rise to an emerging field called "intercultural information ethics," where the cultural presuppositions of the world's cultures are seen as an important factor in consideration of ethical theorization and the search for ethical guidelines.

In fact intercultural information ethics has been with us for quite some time, thanks to the works pioneered by Rafael Capurro, Charles Ess, Makoto Nakada, Lü Yao-Huai, and others. IRIE has addressed the subject for the first time in 2004 with its second issue publishing the proceedings of the International ICIE Symposium 'Localizing the Internet'.

As the technologies are developing fast, and as the world is changing rapidly, there is a need to look further at intercultural information ethics, both in theoretical formulation as well as in how the cultures respond to the technologies. How does it affect people's relationships, customs, their language and every day's beliefs? And vice versa: do these have (different) effects on the net and its development.

In terms of theory, many questions still remain: How are we to come to terms with the age-old philosophical problem of universalism and particu-larism? In other words, are values embedded in the use of information and communication technologies culture specific or are they universal? Or are there some values that are specific to time, place and culture, and are there some others that are more universal? Does the term 'universal' admit of degree, so that one can be more 'universal' than another?

As the various parts of the world are undoubtedly being bound together more tightly, one part can certainly learn from others. Thus we are happy that we can present in this issue papers from different countries on different continents, some of them co-authored across different cultural backgrounds.

Yours sincerely,

the editors.

Vol. 13 (full journal)
edited by Soraj Hongladarom and Johannes Britz
pdf-fulltext (1.005 KB)


On "Intercultural Information Ethics"
by Soraj Hongladarom and Johannes Britz
Language: English

Information Ethics in a Different Voice, Or: Back to the Drawing Board of Intercultural Information Ethics
by Karsten Weber
Language: English
abstract:   Within the information ethics community one can observe a mainstream discussion including some fundamental presuppositions which appear to be something like dogmas. The most important of these dogmas seems to be that we must create a new kind of intercultural information ethics. It is often argued that (comparative) studies have shown that different cultures, according to culturally determined norms and values, react in different ways to the impacts of ICT; it is stressed that an intercultural information ethics must take these cultural particularities into account. But in the paper at hand it shall be argued that taking cultural differences into consideration does not create a necessity to invent a new intercultural information ethics. On the contrary it shall be claimed that we already know several intercultural ethics which only have to be applied to ICT and its impact to societies.

NEKAMA Men Living Different Lives on the Internet
by Ryoko Asai
Language: English
abstract:   At present, a huge number of people join in online games or SNS. With increasing the number of its users, online communication with invisibility and anonymity has generated a new type of communicators in Japan; those are referred to as "Nekama" and have communication based on the Japanese gendered linguistic system, in online communities. "Nekama" means a male participant who represents himself as a female in the cyber space. Whereas, he naturally spends his daily life as a male and most of them are heterosexual in the real space. Doing "Nekama" enables a male participant to free from traditional gender role. However, the existence of "Nekama" can bring up gender issues in the cyber space. Because they fill the lack of information about who they are with gender images and the Japanese women's language. Therefore, "Nekama" release himself from fixed gender order in the real space, and at the same time he reproduces and strengthens gender order in the cyber space.

Winny and the Pirate Bay: A comparative analysis of P2P software usage in Japan and Sweden from a socio-cultural perspective
by Kenya Murayama, Thomas Taro Lennerfors, Kiyoshi Murata
Language: English
abstract:   In this paper, we examine the ethico-legal issue of P2P file sharing and copyright infringement in two different countries - Japan and Sweden - to explore the differences in attitude and behaviour towards file sharing from a socio-cultural perspective. We adopt a comparative case study approach focusing on one Japanese case, the Winny case, and a Swedish case, the Pirate Bay case. Whereas similarities in attitudes and behaviour towards file sharing using P2P software between the two countries are found in this study, the Swedish debate on file sharing has been coloured by an ideological and political dimension, which is absent in the Japanese context. This might indicate that Swedes have been more interested in issues of right and wrong, and the creation of political subject of piracy, while the Japanese are more interested in their own individual well being.

The 'Good Life' in Intercultural Information Ethics: A New Agenda
by Pak-Hang Wong
Language: English
abstract:   Current research in Intercultural Information Ethics (IIE) is preoccupied, almost exclusively, by moral and political issues concerning the right and the just (e.g., Hongladarom & Ess 2007; Ess 2008; Capurro 2008) These issues are undeniably important, and with the continuing development and diffusion of ICTs, we can only be sure more moral and political problems of similar kinds are going to emerge in the future. Yet, as important as those problems are, I want to argue that researchers' preoccupation with the right and the just are undesirable. I shall argue that IIE has thus far overlooked the issues pertaining to the good life (or, individual's well-being). IIE, I claim, should also take into account these issues. Hence, I want to propose a new agenda for IIE, i.e. the good life, in the current paper.

Informational Existentialism! Will Information Ethics Shape Our Cultures?
by Gonçalo Jorge Morais Costa and Nuno Sotero Alves Silva
Language: English
abstract:   The evolution of philosophy and physics seem to acknowledge that "informational existentialism" will be possible. Therefore, this contribution aims to comprehend if Heidegger existentialism can enrich the bound between information theory and the intercultural dialogue as regards to information. Even so, an important query arises: why specifically Heidegger's philosophy? Because it highlights an intercultural dialogue namely with East Asian and with Arabic philosophy, which is also consistent with the debate concerning the potential value and contribution of information theory to the intercultural dialogue. Therefore, this manuscript intends to understand if information is shaping worldwide cultures as a consequence of its existence.


 Home ] [ Current Issue ] Next Issue ] Archive ] Call for Papers ] About IRIE ]

Copyright © 2006-2010 International Review of Information Ethics - all rights reserved
Privacy Policy, Legal Statement and Impressum