Toward a Mapping of the Effective Environment


Direct all correspondence to: David L. Altheide. Regents' Professor, Arizona State University, School of Justice Studies, Tempe, AZ 85287-0403; ATDLA@ASUACAD.


Communication and social order are the consequences of reflexive activity. The expansion of information technology into more areas of social life challenges social theorists to account for the contribution and impact of these technologies and accompanying logic on a host of social activities. An “ecology of communication” is a sensitizing concept to clarify how information technology and communication formats operate in the effective environment and are intertwined with activities, in some cases adding new activities, while in other instances changing them. The nature and significance of an ecology of communication for social order, increasing resistance, is illustrated with surveillance and control operations in testing and marketing, especially through “barcodes.”