A Pattern Language for Communication Revolution
624 pp., 7 x 9 in, 31 figures
- Published: October 31, 2008
- Published: November 7, 2008
A new model for social change, integrating theory and practice, that shows how information and communication can be used to address urgent social and environmental problems collaboratively.
In recent decades we have witnessed the creation of a communication system that promises unparalleled connectedness. And yet the optimistic dreams of Internet-enabled engagement and empowerment have faded in the face of widespread Internet commercialization. In Liberating Voices, Douglas Schuler urges us to unleash our collective creativity—social as well as technological—and develop the communication systems that are truly needed. Inspired by the vision and framework outlined in Christopher Alexander's classic 1977 book, A Pattern Language, Schuler presents a pattern language containing 136 patterns designed to meet these challenges. Using this approach, Schuler proposes a new model of social change that integrates theory and practice by showing how information and communication (whether face-to-face, broadcast, or Internet-based) can be used to address urgent social and environmental problems collaboratively. Each of the patterns that form the pattern language (which was developed collaboratively with nearly 100 contributors) is presented consistently; each describes a problem and its context, a discussion, and a solution. The pattern language begins with the most general patterns (“Theory”) and proceeds to the most specific (“Tactics”). Each pattern is a template for research as well as action and is linked to other patterns, thus forming a single coherent whole. Readers will find Liberating Voices an intriguing and informative catalog of contemporary intellectual, social, and technological innovations, a practical manual for citizen activism, and a compelling manifesto for creating a more intelligent, sustainable, and equitable world.
It's a wonder no one has attempted this monumental project before! Doug Schuler and his collaborators have produced a visionary manual rich in insights and directly useful in any attempt to connect people and information technologies in the quest for real democracy. This is a crucial book for our time.
Langdon Winner, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute