Howard Part 1
Howard spends the latter half of the first chapter attempting to define and flesh out his argument regarding “political culture.” Unfortunately he starts several sentences with “political culture is…” and never categorically defines what he considers political culture. Howard really likes the idea that political culture should include some mental and material schemata. He argues that it is those who are in charge of creating the material and cultural schemata that are a part of the new information technology and digital democracy can ultimately empower as well as limit the entire political structure. Howard spends a great deal of time explaining the different organizations and leaders of the organizations that were responsible for the beginnings of “political hypermedia.” I feel that he ultimately sees the promise and/or demise of political hypermedia resting in the hands of these companies who are mining our personal data while at the same time providing us with “unbiased” political information.
I think this view of political culture isn’t the best analytical tool due to its lack of finite definition. I feel it is difficult to examine political culture critically if we cannot draw a line between who is ultimately involved and who is not. I think it is because of the new information technology that even Howard is having difficulty deciding this. Ultimately I think he has a bit of a cynical view regarding political hypermedia, but tries hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps if he had made it more clear if he thought political hypermedia would bring to good or bad to the future of political culture, his ideas would hold more analytical power. However, this may just be a personal preference of mine. Some may enjoy his uncertainty and use it as a launching pad for debate.