Over the past two decades, the Internet has revolutionized the spread of information across the world. Much like the printing press of the Renaissance, the Internet has enabled access to a wealth of ideas and facilitated infinitely greater communication for millions of people. As Benedict Anderson has argued, Gutenberg’s press and the ideas it helped to spread played a major role in establishing the many national identities of Europe, and eventually today’s modern nation-states, out of the ashes of the Roman Catholic–dominated Middle Ages. Twenty-one years since the launch of the World Wide Web, the Internet is already starting to have a similarly dramatic effect. In the West, the Internet has made social activity and research far easier than ever before possible. Elsewhere in the world, the effect is even greater. In China, the Internet is playing a major role in rapid commercialization and industrialization, while social networks are giving citizens an increasingly prominent voice against an authoritarian regime, undermining the constant pressure of strict government censorship and propaganda. In India, rapidly expanding mobile networks are connecting hundreds of millions in remote areas to each other and to government officials, ensuring the effectiveness of the bureaucracy and the endurance of the world’s largest democracy.
"The Internet and the Sociopolitical Development of Nation-States,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2012
, Article 20.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2012/iss1/20