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Open Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule [Paperback]

Shanthi Kalathil , Taylor C. Boas
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 26, 2002 0870031945 978-0870031946

As the Internet diffuses across the globe, many have come to believe that the technology poses an insurmountable threat to authoritarian rule. Grounded in the Internet's early libertarian culture and predicated on anecdotes pulled from diverse political climates, this conventional wisdom has informed the views of policymakers, business leaders, and media pundits alike. Yet few studies have sought to systematically analyze the exact ways in which Internet use may lay the basis for political change. In O pen Networks, Closed Regimes, the authors take a comprehensive look at how a broad range of societal and political actors in eight authoritarian and semi-authoritarian countries employ the Internet. Based on methodical assessment of evidence from these cases —China, Cuba, Singapore, Vietnam, Burma, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt —the study contends that the Internet is not necessarily a threat to authoritarian regimes.

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Open Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule + The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (Vintage)
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Editorial Reviews


"[A] fascinating and extremely useful new book..." —Nicholas Thompson, New America Foundation, Washington Monthly, 1/1/2003

About the Author

Shanthi Kalathil is associate in the Information Revolution and World Politics Project at the Carnegie Endowment. A former Hong Kong-based journalist, she has written extensively on Asian politics in the information age. Taylor C. Boas is pursuing a Ph.D. in political science at the University of California, Berkeley. Previously he worked at the Carnegie Endowment in the Information Revolution and World Politics Project.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (December 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870031945
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870031946
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,946,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book, Difficult Read April 4, 2003
By Bill
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are interested in this subject, it is certainly a book that you want to read. It provides an excellent analysis of the situation. In the `90's the irrational exuberance of the economic potential of the Internet created the dot-com bubble. There is also an inflated perception on what the Internet means socially, a condition that still exists. This book is a pin that pops that bubble.
One warning, this book is not a page-turner. At times the way in which the authors deliver the information is somewhat dry. This made the book difficult to read at times. This is not to suggest a fault, you just need to be prepared for what you are about to read.
If you are looking for a fun filled read, this is not the book for you. If you are looking for a book that delivers factual information and insights on the implications of the Internet on closed regimes, then this should definitely be part of your library.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a disturbing possibility October 20, 2004
This was an important book for me because it made me realize that national governments can separate economic freedom from political freedom and that national governments could encourage the former while also discouraging the latter. The book looks at the use of the internet in and by eight semi-authoritarian and authoritarian nations. One conclusion that can be reached is that such governments can be adept in their use of the Internet. A more complete review of the book can be found on the Resource Center for Cyberspace Studies web page for book reviews.
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