Professor Bill Dutton, Director of the Quello Center, in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, has signed a contract with Oxford University Press for a book on his concept of the Fifth Estate. He has been speaking and conducting research over the last decade on the role of the Internet in empowering a Fifth Estate that can hold other ‘estates’ accountable, including the press, as the Fourth Estate.
The book will develop the concept of the Fifth Estate, provide empirical evidence of its rise, and its implications across nearly every sector of society. While a growing tide of criticism is focused on the role of social media and the Internet in fueling everything from populism to fake news, the Fifth Estate provides a powerful response to the critics. Bill’s work shows the many strategies of individuals of the Fifth Estate for enabling greater accountability and communicative power to create a more pluralistic structure of social control not only in politics, but also, in nearly every institutional setting of everyday life.
William Dutton, incoming Director of MSU’s Quello Center, has been named the 2014 winner of the William F. Ogburn Career Achievement Award, presented by the Communication and Information Technologies section of the American Sociological Association (CITASA).
The award recognizes a sustained body of research that has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of knowledge in the area of sociology of communications or the sociology of information technology. It is named for the late William F. Ogburn, former president of the American Sociological Association (ASA).
Dutton will begin his new position as Director of the Quello Center in August, along with his appointment as Quello Chair of Media and Information Policy. The Quello Center, located in the Department of Media and Information, was established in 1998 to be a worldwide focal point for excellence in research, teaching and the development and application of telecommunication management and policy.
Dutton comes to MSU from the University of Oxford, where he is Professor of Internet Studies. He also is a Professorial Fellow of Balliol College and is the Founding Director of the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), a position he held from 2002 to 2011.
“Bill’s work over several decades has greatly expanded our understanding of Internet use and the effects of this use on society,” said Shelia Cotten, Professor in MSU’s Department of Media and Information, who chaired the William F. Ogburn Career Achievement Award selection committee. “His founding of the Oxford Internet Institute and his leadership as Director for almost a decade, in addition to his numerous research accomplishments, made him a unanimous choice for this award.”
Dutton has received numerous grants for his research and is widely published. His research interests include Internet and society, digital divides, digital choice, the Fifth Estate, network society, politics and the Internet, collaborative network organizations, research-centered computational networks and digital research.
He is the Principal Investigator of the Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS), an authoritative resource on the use and impact of the Internet in Britain and one component of the World Internet Project, an international collaboration comprising more than 20 nations. He also is a Co-Principal of Oxford’s Global Cyber Security Capacity Center, supported by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office, and was the Principal Investigator of the Oxford e-Social Science Project (OeSS), supported by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council.
Dutton will be honored with a plaque at the CITASA annual meeting Aug. 16-19 in San Francisco.
Besides Cotten, who was the 2013 recipient of the CITASA Award for Public Sociology, the other members of the award selection committee included Judy Wajcman, Anthony Giddens Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Hiroshi Ono, Associate Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University.