VIRTUAL SPACE OF MODERN PUBLIC POLICY AND ITS FEATURES

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  • 1. VIRTUAL SPACE OF MODERN PUBLIC POLICY AND ITS FEATURES Abstract: Sergey.V. Volodenkov, PhD, Associate Professor. Political Science Faculty ofLomonosov Moscow State University. The department of public policy. E-mail: s.v.cyber@ gmail.com This article is devoted to the virtualization of contemporary public political spaceand related problems of democratic development of nations. Also in the article themanipulative role of modern media and modern information security issues space. Keywords: virtual politics, mediatization policy, political communication,simulacra, political manipulation, public opinion, distribution of power. Experts point virtualization trend of public policy in the field of politicalcommunication and political governance for a long time. In modern political practice tointeract with the community and the impact on the public consciousness different virtualstructures that used as a tool to influence the political processes and management usedmore intensively. With the development of the traditional media in the 20th century in politicalpractice formed a universal approach, in which the vertical communication from thegovernment to the masses began to line up on the basis of a specific virtual models, whichare necessary for the formation of public repose about the real political process, andbroadcast these models in the public consciousness through the mass media. In this virtualmodel itself may not correspond with the real actors that she should represent. That oftenhappens, especially in the political manipulation of public opinion. Many different experts in the field of political communication and politicalscientists speak about the role of the media in creating and broadcasting in the publicconsciousness of this kind of virtual models. 1
  • 2. In the 20th century, the political practice forms a stable trend, which is linked tomediatization and the virtualization of modern public policy, and, therefore, politiciansand political parties. Even the founders of the theory of the information society are among the first to callattention to the tendency of policy mediatization. The idea that the media are beginning tosubstitute for the political parties, lobbyists and political organizations, as well as theconcept of forming media and political systems have been widely used not only for thetheoretical analysis of the political processes, but also for the direct implementation. The role of political communication in the formation of useful and profitable formedia elite or deytokratii, which, according to K. Deutsch, monitors real politicalinstitutions and power arrangements, virtual models, neo-Marxists have written (Adorno,M. Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse, G. Schiller, Habermas), which considered creation ofan effective system of ideological and political domination of capital as a foundation ofstability in modern capitalist society. The media in this system act as instruments of ideological control over the workingclass. The result is a necessary control over the working population of the capitalist elite,which controls the media. In this connection, according to Herbert Marcuse, only by destroying the traditionalmedia, and especially television, can undermine stability and destruction of the currentpolitical system in the modern capitalist society, as in this case the ideological control overpeoples minds will be eliminated, and the contradictions of the system will destroy itthemselves1. Herbert Schiller also believed that political communication plays a key role inensuring the stability of modern society, helping to shape these political myths, with whichit is possible to preserve the domination of the political elite in the modern state. Also famous postmodernist Jean Baudrillard wrote about virtual models-simulacrumthat can represent even what actually does not exist. It is no accident his work "simulacraand simulation" was so well known and has gained popularity worldwide.1 Markuze G. One Dimensional Man. M., AST, 2009 2
  • 3. In fact, society today is controlled by means of mass communication and lives in thecommunications space, woven of many stereotypes, myths, illusions, simulacra, which canbe combined into a single class of virtual models. In fact, the entire current politicalstruggle "for the minds" takes place in the communications space, and the first is theimpact on the public mind, to work with it and create an attractive image, sometimes nothaving anything to do with real actors and policies designed to address the needs andexpectations of the general public2. The more attractive is an image - so it is consideredsuccessful and the more expensive it is valued in the market, whether the market economicor political. And here we see one of the greatest challenges to the democratic development ingeneral. In fact, the population of democratic societies as a source of power, no longer formsa real democratic institutions and selects one from the political market for virtual models,the brightest, but not always the most effective and the public interest. As a result, today many people do not live in the real world, but in thecommunication space, within which the various virtual constructs that define the life ofmost people, forming the world around them, including the world of political, based onthese virtual structures. With full confidence this trend can be attributed to public policy. Today, modern public policy is also becoming more and more mediatizing andvirtual. In fact, in the framework of current public policies for social control of the mainactivities carried out at the level of operating a constructed artificial images or simulacra,reproducing and translates the meaning, inadequate actual current events, to use theterminology of Jean Baudrillard, from their creation to their translation the publicconsciousness. In this case, according to Baudrillard, ideology is also no longer exists,it also replaces the simulation. These virtual simulation broadcasts mainly through themass media and communication. Such a virtual design increasingly affect real political processes, not only replacingreal space for the general public, but also actively shaping it, including directly to theauthorities.2 In fact, the entire modern public policy is built on competing in the political space of several virtual brands, which oftenchange without a change of the real people behind these brands. 3
  • 4. The leading role of virtual models in political management was pointed by thedeputy head of the Russian Presidential Administration Vladislav Surkov, who, speakingto the students of the Centre Party education and training of the party "United Russia", inFebruary 2006, noted that with the development of democracy, the struggle for the mindsof information escalates and «as the force of the development of democracy is replaced bythe power of words»3. In a visual graphical scheme replacing real political actors virtual designs can bedepicted as follows: Really existing political R object Virtual model of tha real subject, V which forms for PR affection to reach aims of the political campaign Broadcasting virtual model to target groups by media Object of the PR influence (target audiences of the political O campaign) Fig.1. Substitution pattern of the real subject of the political campaign of his virtualimage for the organization of information impact on the target audience Work on the construction or correction of the virtual image of the subject of apolitical campaign and its further broadcast is one of the key activities within any modernpolitical campaigns, without which it is impossible to form an idea of the necessarypolitical subject of target audiences, and, therefore, public opinion on the political subject. Modern media, acting as the main channels of mass communication with targetaudiences are now high enough capacity for active influence on the perception of thecitizens as a separate political phenomena and events and their relation to politics in3 http://www.kreml.org/media/111622794 4
  • 5. general. Largely depends on the position of the media position of most members of thepublic on a particular political issue. And that is why the media called the fourth power. The media, whose interests theyrepresent, holds depending on what point of view the interpretation of an event byjournalists and media can shape about one and the same event completely different modelof perception in the public mind. Particularly important role in this process has traditionally played a TV. It is nocoincidence known Russian expert in the field of political psychology E.B. Shestopalidentifies television as a key media outlet that is used for political governance in modernstates. According to E.B. Shestopal, «not even the most surprising thing is that the worldspopulation today is controlled by the TV remote control, and the fact that the governmentitself believes only in what is read in the daily papers or see in TV news.» Position of E.B. Shestopal is sustained by data from recent surveys conducted by thePublic Opinion Foundation (FOM), according to which more than 71% of Russiasconfidence in television as a source of information and news from the TV news finds 86%of Russians4. N. Anokhin, who notes that television plays a major role in political campaigns inRussia, holds a similar position. TV has a great potential for the formation of voter outlookand management. A necessary condition for the creation of this situation is the dominantposition of a channel and maintenance of the media for political purposes5. It is the media today to form a picture of the world society, which makes them themain instrument of political control and channel public consciousness. Media obtain information, select it, choose the way of translation, spread indesignated by the same media available to quickly and easily readable form themselvesher comments. In fact, the media formed today a full production cycle of production andconsumption of information across the entire states. In addition, at a time when the flow of information is huge, diverse andcontradictory, it depends on the media to which the events, processes, policies will be4 http://infox.ru/authority/mans/2010/09/02/Rossiyanye_vyeryat_T.phtml5 Anokhina N.V. Influence of the media on voting behavior: the main approaches / / Sociology, 2005, № 1. 5
  • 6. brought to the attention of the public as to what criteria will inform the public about this orother socially relevant facts as and in whose interests they are lit and commented on. And society readily uses information products prepared by the media. According toC. Butler, «the public buys its opinions as buying milk, because it is cheaper than usingyour own cow. Only here the milk is consists mainly of water.» Thus, there are fantastic opportunities for the media in the political control andmanipulation of public opinion, including in politics. It is no coincidence, Eric Frommbelieved that political manipulation deprives a person of the ability to create a full pictureof the world; substitutes its abstract mosaic biased unrelated facts6. M. Parenti on the role of media in contemporary society wrote this: «The media aretaken most of the information and misinformation, which we use to assess the socio-political reality. Our attitude to the problems and phenomena, even the approach to what isconsidered a problem or phenomenon largely determined by those who control the worldof communications»7. In other words, the socially significant problem is the fact that is determined by themass media. In a world there are a lot of events, but the events in terms of public interest,they are only through the media, which are themselves determined that the value tosociety, and what is not, attracting a mass audience to the entry and saying nothingunwanted. In fact, in the social, public and political sectors is "really" exists for a massaudience just what is reflected in the media, only that it exists in cyberspace. Ifinformation about the event, phenomenon or process was not broadcast to a mass audiencethrough the media, then the event, phenomenon, process simply does not exist to thesociety. If this is not news - it means that at all. In connection with this default acts nowone of the most powerful tools to manipulate public consciousness. In essence, through the media in the public mind to be substantially transformedunderstanding of reality, which is the main effect of the manipulative effects. R.Boretsky6 Fromm E. Running away from freedom. M., AST, 20097 Parenti M. Democracy for a few. Moscow, 1990. - / / Quote. On Zuladze AM Political manipulation or Conquestof the crowd. - M.: Publishing house «University», 1999. 6
  • 7. writes, «under the manipulation of propaganda is to be understood the deliberate rejectionof the mass consciousness of reality»8. For example, the essence of modern manipulation is not even the process of forminga choice of a politician or political party during the election campaign, but to construct areality in which the electorate is perceived elected institutions and the elective procedureas the only legitimate and effective form of expression of the will of the people, recognizethe conditions, standards and rules set by the ruling political elite, even if this is the modeis not supported. In addition to managing mass audience awareness about current events media alsoextensively used for the formation of a definite attitude of society to cover the event (eventrating as determined by the media, and can range from very negative to approving andenthusiastic). In addition through the media in the society set certain standards, norms andbehaviors, as well as mass preferences beneficial to the subject of manipulation, formedstereotypes of political reality and the corresponding installation, political consciousnessas a whole, and to implement well-defined political values. Thus, V. Samokhvalova wrote in this connection: «The consciousness of mass manis structured through a few, but firm injects allegations which, endlessly broadcastingmedia, form a kind of invisible frame of the control of opinion, statutes, restrictions, whichdefines and regulates the response, assessment, behavior of the public»9. In turn, according to Lerner, the modern man, «there is a complete jumble ofconcepts and no correlation of events. The only system, in which it is able to substitute theindividual facts, is a system of stereotypes, already established in his mind. This system iscentered on competition and struggle, where the concepts of good and evil, are taken asgranted»10. In fact, most people have a need for ordering of the political chaos that they seearound them, and therefore simple and clear stereotypes models, which are proposed bymanipulators, are highly demanded by society.8 Boretsky R. In the Bermuda Triangle TV. M., 1998.9 Samohvalova V. «Mass man» - reality of the modern information society (materials of conference, «The problemof man: a multidisciplinary approach»). M., 1998.10 Lerner M. The development of civilization in America. Moscow, 1992 7
  • 8. Speaking about the role of the media in the political control of public opinion, weshould also pay attention to this area of the media, which is directly linked to theformation of virtual models, like the creation of myths about which famous Americanexpert in the field of political propaganda and the author of "Propaganda Technique in theWorld war "H. Lasswell, Taps myths in political propaganda critical role, gave thefollowing definition: «The political myth is a set of ideas that the masses are willing toconsider as true regardless of whether they are true or false in reality.» Known Russian political scientists V.P. Pugachev and A.I. Solovyov alsounderscore the importance of political myths when exposed to public opinion, noting thatthe technology of political manipulation are usually based on a systematic introductioninto the mass consciousness of social and political myths 11 - the illusory ideas, claimingcertain values and norms, and perceived primarily on faith, not rational, criticalcomprehension12. A similar opinion about the very important role of political myths in themanagement of public opinion was expressed by the well-known expert, Herbert Schiller,who in his "handlers consciousness" has identified five key social myths that ensure stableoperation the U.S., as well as existing in the American political system and the state publicorder13: Until recently, the virtual images have been created by the necessary broadcastcontent in the mainstream media in the mass media. Today, this approach is still dominantin the implementation of information activities in the political management of publicconsciousness. However, in todays world of information and communication revolution, coming upwith new ways and channels of mass communication, especially the Internet, which canaffect change in the traditional models of mass communication in the politicaladministration.11 Under such myths, the creation of which is an aim of manipulator, the American sociologist D. Lasswell implies aset of ideas that are ready to consider the mass as true regardless of whether they are true or false in reality.12 V.P. Pugachev. A.I. Solovev. Conduction in political scienxe. Moscow, 200013 Shiller G. Consciousness manipulators. Moscow, 1980 8
  • 9. It can be stated that at present available to the new technologies of communicationsubstantially changed and will change in the technologically advanced democracies andmethods of influence on public opinion in the modern political campaigns are increasinglypenetrating the major aspects of society, transforming modes of communication within it,and between the public and the authorities, changing behaviors as communicators andaudiences communication, inevitably and certainly leads to a significant change ofmethods and models of modern political campaigns. And today we can put a number of questions, the answers to which will help tounderstand the role of new forms of political communication, which they will play in thenear future. At first, attention is drawn to the fact that new media can directly affect change inour perception of reality. The well-known American theorist in the field of masscommunication P. Heyer consider that the storage and transmission of information are notneutral, but «a way of organizing and transferring our knowledge of the worlds mostpowerful influence on the nature of the world and the way we perceive the world» 14.Thisrepresentation is largely consonant with the known maklyuenovsky expression «themedium is the message» (means of communication - the message). In turn, another proponent of media theory, a renowned expert R. Deyberet in hisbook "Parchment, printing and hypermedia: Communication in the transformation of theworld order," writes that «... because the communication is a vital part of human existence,to the extent any changes in modes of communication have a significant impact on thedistribution of power within society, to change individual and social consciousness as wellas to review the public values»15. In addition, the traditional models of mass communication suggest asynchronouscommunication (mostly vertical information society from top to bottom). In this massitself is regarded as an amorphous, unstructured, do not communicate with each other a14 Heyer P. Communications and History: Theories of Media. Knowledge, and Civilization. - N.Y.:Greenwood Press, 1988.15 Deibert R.J. Parchment, Printing, and Hypermedia: Communications in World Order Transformation. - N.Y.:Columbia University Press, 1997. 9
  • 10. collection of individuals. In addition, in the classic sense of the mass of non-social - thereare no boundaries between the social, religious, demographic identity. Certainly, the structuring of the masses there, and even showed some Lazarsfeldstructured around mass public opinion leaders. However, it is not easy to determine thebasis and structure of the signs in a traditional society in practice. If we look at the current online community, it cannot be called a mass, even thoughthe audience of many millions of Internet users. First of all, the Internet community is structured perfectly level horizontal links andnot the kind of amorphous mass communication model that developed in the framework ofthe classical theories of political communication. Operation of numerous thematic communities in online space structures an Internetusers in groups, which can in most cases clearly identify the social, demographic,religious, and other characteristics, which also highlights the online community as aseparate phenomenon of modern society. Thus, we can say that the internet community is not the mass in the traditional sense,and the classical concept of the masses needs to update its huge audience of online users,and the domination of the online space of horizontal communication between the users ofthe traditional model of asynchronous media communication, in our opinion, will not workor will work with the same unexpected result that, in our opinion, will inevitably lead tothe need for changes in patterns of mass political communication. In other words, traditional channels of mass communication do not have thenecessary impact on the online community, or else have it in a specific way, which is notfully understood. The very question of how traditional media affect the online communitytoday is virtually absent in the political discourse. In the result of the study of modern experience of communication in the onlineenvironment, we can make the assumption that at the level of horizontal connections in thehorizontal communication there appears it’s own web content, which is different frombroadcast through traditional media. As a result, the perception of various processes, events and subjects of politicsbegins to vary significantly with the view, which is formed in the traditional model of 10
  • 11. mass communication. It is no coincidence, in our view, the ratings of various politiciansand parties, as well as treats them in the offline and online spaces differ substantiallytoday, that is, we observe the differentiation of people according to their ideas concerningreality. Yet famous Italian philosopher Umberto Eco predicted the division of societyinto two groups according to the method of information consumption: those who watchTV only, that is ready to receive the images and ready judgment on the world, ready toconsume information product without critical evaluation of information obtained, andthose who will able to select and process information via computer. Thus begins theseparation of cultures that existed in the Middle Ages, between those who are able to readthe manuscript and was therefore critical to comprehend the religious, philosophical andscientific questions, and those who were brought up solely through images in the cathedral- selected and approved by their creators16. And with the increase in the number of Internet users who refuse to use theinformation through traditional channels of communication, differentiation in thesubmissions, including and political, on the part of society that consumes data from onlinesources, and of society, traditionally committed to the classical channels of masscommunication will increasingly grow. Taking into account the fact that in the off-state dominates the space through amonopoly on the mainstream media, and network exists counting the fact that in the off-state dominates the space through a monopoly on the mainstream media, but there iscompetition in the network and there today the state has a dominant position, it can beconcluded that the differences in views offline and online users are becoming even moreserious. Competition and is today the state has a dominant position, it can be concludedthat the differences in views offline and online users are becoming even more serious. Thus, we can assume that the information and communication revolution and thedevelopment of new technologies and means of communication are directly alters the massperception of reality, including political reality, which has a direct effect on the already16 Eko U. «From Gutenberg to the Internet: the text and hypertext». Fragments from a public lecture at MSU / / New LiteraryReview. - 1998. - № 32. 11
  • 12. effective political management of society through traditional instruments, setting statesand political institutions, the problem of developing new approaches to politicalcommunication with the masses. And an underestimation of the effects of introduction ofmodern information and communication technologies in everyday life can be a powerfulfactor in the destabilization of the political system associated with a sharp drop in theefficiency of the classical models of mass management of public opinion. In addition, today we can predict that in the near future, we may face the problem ofthe division of society into two groups with respect to the representations of the sameprocesses, events, and politicians. And what are the political consequences of this divisionwill contribute to our future, is a key issue that will require careful study. And we have yet to identify and analyze the long-term trends in the publicconsciousness that are associated with the introduction of the modern practice of newtechnologies of mass communication. One thing is clear - the political process andpolitical governance, focused on the use of the traditional channels of masscommunication, will have more and more transformed as the emergence and spread ofnew and new media channels of political communication in the Internet space. Another important issue is who will form the virtual reality and create virtualmodels in online space by which political control by the masses is made today. Whiletraditional media are controlled by the so-called media elite and, in many cases, publicinstitutions of government has a monopoly on the implementation of public informationand the impact on society, then who will compete today in the dominant political forces inoffline online space, how will this be competition and whether it is to the exclusion ofalternative suppliers of information and monopolization of online resources and channelsof communication, just as today monopolized offline media communications? It is no coincidence famous founder of the concept of post-industrial society D. Bellbelieved that major political risk in the development of information and communicationtechnology is considered that the political elite in control of the media and moderninformation resources, can manage the distribution of information or concealing importantinformation from the company, or vice versa, spreading, including illegal, information 12
  • 13. relating to the private lives of unwanted opponents. In any case it is a manipulation ofpublic opinion on a large scale through the management of information. How, in turn, said the famous German expert and political scientist Klaus VonBaima, «having important information means having power, to be able to distinguishbetween the important information from unimportant means to have more power, theability to distribute important information in its directing or conceal it means to have adual power»17. According to Russian political scientist M.N. Grachev, activity of a minority whichhave control over information resources, create uneven access18to information fromdifferent social groups, as subservient to "observed" majority will have to be satisfied withthe information biased to select appropriate services at the direction and under the controlof the ruling minority, seeking "dose" degree own "visibility" in order to get out of asituation of information risk, can be a real threat to the online space. If the monopoly of media online resources and communication channels of stateinstitutions in the online space can not be achieved, to what political implications in termsof the redistribution of power in society, it can lead to? Who will compete in the new virtual environment with the traditional institutions ofgovernment in terms of the creation of images, symbols, patterns, and simulacra? How thiswill affect the political stability of the whole? And here we see another potential threat: in accordance with the law Ashby, onevariety can be defeated only by great diversity. If the state does not create their ownsymbols and meanings, there is a risk that it will be engaged in external subjects in theirown interests. And subjects with high diversity will be able to compete in the online spacewith traditional institutions of power, influence and undermining their own symbols fillingonline, meanings and simulacra.17 Politikwissenschaft: eine Grundlegung. Bd. 2. Stuttgard; Berlin; Köln; Mainz: hrsg von Klaus Beume. 198718 Particular relevance to this problem gets Russian conditions of uneven development of modern information andcommunication infrastructure, the opportunities which now have access to the most residents of large cities, and the number ofregions, such as the Far East, where access to the Internet is much more expensive than in the European part of the country. 13
  • 14. Obviously, the subject has a more diverse arsenal of tools to communicate withtarget audiences, has a distinct advantage when working in the information space,compared with the subject, limited in the choice of means, channels and communicationtechnologies, which, undoubtedly, is a threat to the position of information security acrossthe whole country, which does not develop modern communication technology. In this regard, today to ensure information security and protection from externalinfluence state must, in our view, be engaged in development practices in the online spaceand increase their diversity. Therefore, we believe that a well-developed communications infrastructure Instituteand active in its use of public-political management is today one of the critical conditionsfor political stability and security of the state19, as in the absence of its owncommunication infrastructure and the skills to use it for the information of its owncitizens, any State puts itself at risk of losing control over their own information space,which may lead in a globalized world to a very serious consequences. It is no coincidence, in response to potential threats in the online space in the U.S.since 2009 as part of the U.S. armed forces rapidly formed Joint Cyber Command (UnifiedUS Cyber Command), subordinate to the United States Strategic Command, and the NavyUnited States January 26, 2010 years created special cyber forces CYBERFOR20. Shortlybefore that, a similar unit, consisting of military and communications units have beencreated and the U.S. Air Force.21. In the U.S. a few years there are two structures of the Ministry of Defense - JointGroup on operations in the global network (Joint Task Force-Global Network Operations,JTF-GNO) and the Joint Command of the structural components of the network war (JointFunctional Component Command - Network Warfare, JFCC-NW). First solves questionsof the immediate safety of the Pentagons computer networks. Second activity issuppression of activity of hostile U.S. states on the Internet and other electronic networks.19 In this case, it is appropriate to talk about ensuring national security in general. It is no accident in October 2008, the U.S.intelligence services began to consider Twitter as a possible site for a contact of terrorists:http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/mobile.pdf2020 http://www.dni.ru/news/2010/1/27/184248.html21 http://hi-tech.tochka.net/198-v-ssha-sozdali-kibervoyska 14
  • 15. Their task includes hacking enemy computer networks and secure electroniccommunications of the Ministry of Defense22. As you can see, today Americans pay serious attention on security in online space atthe state level. Of course, there are other problems associated with online space, require carefulconsideration by the scientific community. Some of the issues associated with thedevelopment of Internet technologies and their impact on the offline space are justbeginning to put or are not yet set at all. We have considered only a very small part of theissues that arise in connection with the rapid development of new forms of politicalcommunication. However, even a small part of the analysis of the threats and challengesthat accompany the information and communication revolution on a world scale, leads usto the conclusion that the serious study of questions as to what effect a revolutionarychange will have on the modern state, the society, the redistribution of power within it, therole of traditional media, as well as the transformation of the classical models of thepolitical management of society and mass consciousness. REFERENCES: 1. Anokhina N.V. Influence of the media on voting behavior: the mainapproaches // Sociology, 2005, №1. 2. Boretsky R. In the Bermuda Triangle TV. М., 1998. 3. V.P. Pugachev. А.I. Solovev. Conduction in political scienxe. М., 2000 4. LernerМ. The development of civilization in America. М., 1992 5. MarkuzeG. One Dimensional Man. М., AST, 2009 6. ParentiМ. Democracy for a few.М., 1990. –// Quote. OnZuladzeА.М.Political manipulation or Conquest of the crowd. – М.: Publishing house «University»,1999. 7. SamohvalovaV. «Mass man» — reality of the modern information society(materials of conference, «The problem of man: a multidisciplinary approach»). М., 1998. 8. FrommE. Running away from freedom. М., AST, 200922 http://nvo.ng.ru/forces/2009-12-11/14_kibervoiska.html 15
  • 16. 9. ShillerG. Consciousness manipulators. М., 1980 10. EkoU. «From Gutenberg to the Internet: the text and hypertext». Fragmentsfrom a public lecture at MSU // New Literary Review. - 1998. - № 32. 11. Deibert R.J. Parchment, Printing, and Hypermedia: Communications inWorld Order Transformation. - N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 1997. 12. Heyer P. Communications and History: Theories of Media. Knowledge, andCivilization. - N.Y.: Greenwood Press, 1988. 13. Volodenkov S.V. Virtual space of a policy and its features //Observer, 2011,N6. 16