Role of Social Culture in Evaluation of Internet Policies: The Case of Everyday and Resistant Culture in Greece

Role of Social Culture in Evaluation of Internet Policies: The Case of Everyday and Resistant Culture in Greece

Panayiota Tsatsou (University of Leicester, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-847-0.ch040
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Abstract

This chapter discusses the role of social culture in the evaluation of ICT policies and specifically of Internet policies. It draws on the case of the Greek Information Society and on the exceptionally low levels of Internet adoption in the country, exploring the role of social culture in the ways in which Internet users and non-users in Greece evaluate Internet policies and the role of these policies in their decision to adopt the Internet or not. The chapter reports on the findings obtained from surveying 1,000 Greek users and non-users of the Internet in 2007. It finds that social culture and, more specifically, everyday culture and people’s resistance to Internet technologies influence significantly their evaluation of Internet policies, explaining to a certain degree the picture of low Internet adoption in Greece. The first section introduces the scope and aim of the chapter, while background information on the main trends in the Greek Information Society is provided in the section that follows. In the third section, the chapter takes a decision-making perspective and discusses policies in the Information Society of the country, so as to understand better the context in which policy initiatives receive evaluations that derive from social culture. Then, the chapter reports on the main empirical findings obtained from a survey. The survey finds that a culture of resistance is dominant in Greece, with non-users uninterested and in no need to use the Internet. Non-users in particular seem to identify themselves with established traditions and settings of life, thinking that the Internet may put their work, personal and moral status at risk. On the other hand, the survey finds that Greek people are generally dissatisfied with national Internet policies. The modelling analysis shows that social culture and specifically people’s values and culturally-driven perceptions of Internet technologies do influence the ways in which Internet users and non-users evaluate Internet policies. These findings can provide recommendations for policy-makers in the field as well as insights for researchers who aim to conduct comparative research or envisage looking at other countries’ ICT policies and social cultures.
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Background: Key Traits Of The Greek Information Society

This section illustrates how the Greek Information Society is positioned within Europe3 as well as the features that make the Greek case an interesting case for study.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Culture: A complex set of meanings, habits, values and behaviours adopted by one or more social formations.

Greece: South European country of 11 million population. It has been globally known for its culture, philosophy and science in the ancient times.

Information Society: The development and adoption of Information and Communication Technologies and related socio-economic, political and cultural changes linked to the establishment of new forms of information and means of communication

Regulation: A more technical and complicated term than policy. It represents the enforcement of policy decisions and visions by regulatory bodies through state enforcement, state intervention and any form of social control initiated by the state.

Resistant Culture: Part of social and not only culture, being constituted by a subject’s tendency to resist to messages, objects or phenomena it comes across. It has been used to explain people’s dismissal of technological artefacts.

Policy: A set of long-term and multi-faced decision plans made by state and other policy authorities, aiming to address various aspects and challenges of social living.

Everyday Life: The context and the experience of living that all human beings are subject to. An instance of how and where social culture is shaped, accommodated and developed, making itself visible.

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