your choice your choice
11-14 may | an open interactive video broadcasting will be organized on the site. Everybody is welcome!
RSHU - House of Russian Government

Normunds Kozlovs
Sociologist. Currently he is working on the research on emerging media culture in Latvia.

Emerging New Media culture in Latvia:
prospects for democratisation of society.
Main Hypothesis is new media plays crucial role in the hands of
contra-culture movements making the final shift towards democratization of post-totalitarian society within one generation span of undisturbed welfare growth development. Current situation in Latvia in comparison to western Europe years 1945-1968 is similar. The state structures then and there as well as now and here are dominated by the same generation collaborative to the totalitarian regimes in the past and converted to free market material wealth ideals now. At the same time there is going on rapid modernization of society although often leaving huge social segments excluded. That is process of segregation into information rich and information poor. Still there are prospects provided for open society from the side of young media culture in Latvia. Concerning the social implications of modernization of society and technological development we should take into account 2 aspects: the static and dynamic, i.e. the function(s) (the open and latent ones) of technological innovation within the social system versus the capacity of technological innovation to bring about social change namely the new form of social interaction mediation. However in order to highlight the potential of social change within new media we need to look upon both aspects. Apart of open- function (i.e.comfort increasing) of technological innovation there is the latent function to maintain the social status quo. That is the simulation of change. Basically the potential of social change lies out of conventional and prescribed uses of technological innovation.
Un-governability of innovation far
reaching consequences led in the case of Soviet planned economy towards traditionalism of mass consumption patterns strengthened by forced collectivization and annihilation of individual differences. In the case of Latvian society there is special pre-caution regarding any innovations. It contributed to the cultural resistance against the Moscow planned modernization policies in the region. Besides there was main cultural threat as annihilation of Latvian language from the Russian language environment then and from English lingvironment of technological modernization of society nowadays. The specific question is different reactions of different age groups or other way stratified groups on the technologically undermined social change.
There is domestication of (military by origin) technology- bringing it to the global mass production and consumption circle within the societies of economic growth. This stage of technological development and its social implications is worth to analyze in the Latvia context of traditionalism and modernization as well as Russian and Latvian population ability to cope with innovation. At the end of this circle new technological sub-cultures are emerging and de-constructing the consuming (for comfort) and corporate (for profit) ways of use of new technology. These sub-cultures are providing new and active alternatives for technology use. As these technologies are converted from military to public use they are already kind of old or junky. In a sense de-construction of them could be named savagesation as subversion of domestication. This process is on the core of our interest. 
The respective sub-cultures are
post-civil societies that are rooted in urbanized lifestyles of cities from one hand and from other hand as communal or tribal social entities dependant on specific communication forms and solidarity. We define them through the marginal position on the outskirts of highways of resources: power (administration), knowledge (education), money (market), structural involvement in these sub-systems (organizational resources occupied by the bureaucracy of non-governmental organizations). Examples of sub-cultures: graffiti "writers", radio pirates, hackers, zines publishers, underground film producers, vinyl record DJ groups and garage music scenes (more and more computerized and digitized), video and TV installation artists, web-masters, net-activists, etc. 
From the commonwealth positions it is essential concerning
the margined persons: to provide the lacking resources in order to prevent exclusion and facilitate the growth of creative youth sub-cultures as well as prevent the spread of destructive sub-cultures (namely criminal and drug cultures). The last ones are threatening and disturbing integration of society and welfare growth. Besides these trends lead directly to strengthening of coercive and authoritarian administration style widely supported and legitimized by civil society that feels insecure. In this case contra-cultures would be outlawed as threatening and excluded out of civil society public sphere as well. The potential of new media for public participation increase and democratization could be lost.
After reaching
certain level of welfare new social movement confronts the very basis of stagnated, non-flexible and non-open institutional set-ups. That was idealist generation proposing post-material quality of life values instead of material wealth in west. There were strong demand to look upon structural continuity of this post-totalitarian transition and authoritarian style of governance and administration methods in all institutional spheres. Civil resistance and public participation in decision making movement is always new media mediated, decentralized (gaining nowadays broader influence via Internet), active user/participant instead of consumer orientated, much more inter-active in comparison to mass media linked mainstream popular culture and entertainment industries. 
Therefore new media
and its use for civil initiatives is crucial for the democratization of post-totalitarian society and prospects of new media culture impact on policies concerning public access of information and communication freedom.

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Editor - Olga Goryunova, Web-Master - Igor Gerasimenko 
Author of the project - Alexei Isaev, curator - Olga Shishko, coordinator - Tatiana Gorucheva
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