Commercialization or Cultural Diversity – The Internet and Its Political-Economic, and Socio-Cultural Contexts


Ping Shaw


Internet, Critical political economy of communications, Cultural studies


Economic, technological and policy concerns have been the lead ing issues in the field of new information and communication technologies. Different from these approaches, this paper attempts to construct a framework based on critical communication theory to study the internet. Since critical communication theory, including many divergent viewpoints, is not a coherent theory system, this paper selects two approaches with different basic assumptions – criti cal political economy of communications and cultural studies – to examine the social cultural phenomenon in cyberspace. The first sec tion explores the basic assumptions and content of critical political economy and cultural studies. The second section looks at the studies of the internet from the two approaches. The final section provides some suggestions based on the two approaches for future studies.