In this work, Bridgette Wessels offers a unique insight into the ways in which core public institutions and powerful organizations develop digital communications and services within the public realm. The book draws on her ethnographic research with the London Metropolitan Police Service during their engagement in an innovative project to improve communication with the public using digital technology. As one of the largest, most advanced and highly respected police services in the world, working in a socially, culturally and demographically complex city, the Metropolitan Police Service offers a highly revealing case study of technology and the human processes which it is designed to serve. The ethnographic research is used to develop a new theoretical and conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between social action and technological change, addressing the way in which technology is socially shaped and culturally informed. The book also discusses the role of ethnography as a tool for researching complex multi-perspective, multi-sited networks of the innovation of digital technologies as forms of communication in late modern western society.
Bridgette Wessels is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sheffield, UK. Her writing and research focuses on the social and cultural dynamics of the internet and ICT.
’Digital communication services are being developed in urban contexts to support police work within communities. This insightful ethnographic study reveals the cultural dynamics involved in contestations over technological and human relationships as the police struggle to ensure that innovative technologies are used in ways that respect life, property and public safety.’ Robin Mansell, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK ’Sophisticated ethnographic research on technical innovation with an ironical result: how little the grandiose narrative of the information society actually means on the local level of police-community contacts. The book is a well-researched, sophisticated and significant contribution to several fields: the study of police-community relations; of technology, innovation and its administrative implementation; not least of how the EU (and its funding) is used in such strategies.’ Heinz Steinert, J.W.Goethe-Universitaet Frankfurt am Main, Germany 'This is an interesting exploration of the application of information technology at the borderline between police and the community and ultimately recognizes that the border is permeable...' Information Research '...this book analyses the influence of culture in the development and exploitation of digital technologies.The author reports on an ethnographic research project on how the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) might enhance service and communication through digital technology...The book explores the significance of digitally enabled engagement in three different spheres: relations of production...narratives of telematics...and participation between service providers and the public...The text is thorough and insightful...The author is to be commended for her engagement with the three key research themes and the explanation of the appropriateness of ethnographic research...This is a meticulously detailed text that should be of interest to an informed, academic