Presently, as Professor of Media and Information Policy at MSU, my research is focused on developing my concept of the Fifth Estate, with support from a variety of courses, including a collaboration with the DTU. In addition, I continue as a Co-Principal Investigator on the UK FCO supported Global Cyber Security Capacity Project, where my work is focused on cultural and social dimensions of cyber security.
Prior to coming to MSU, my role as Founding Director and Professor of Internet Studies at the OII at the University of Oxford was my most challenging and rewarding collaborative and international research experience. The Institute’s Web site provides an excellent overview of the research, collaboration, teaching, and what we coined ‘net-working’, before collaborative network organizations became commonplace. www.oii.ox.ac.uk
Prior to joining the OII, I pursued research on the social aspects of information and communication technologies at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. I remain associated with the School as an Emeritus Professor.
While at Annenberg, I took a leave for a Fulbright Scholarship in the UK, and later to serve as National Director of the UK’s Programme on Information and Communication Technologies (PICT) from 1993 to 1996. PICT was a social science research programme dedicated to shaping policy and practice, supported primarily by grants from the Economic and Social Research Council of Britain to six university research centres, at Brunel, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sussex, Westminster,and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~wdutton/pict.htm
Post-PICT, I consulted for the Economic and Social Research Council to develop a proposal for a new research intiative on “The E-Society” that would follow earlier programmes, such as PICT and The Virtual Society? Programme. This proposal enabled the ESRC to support new social and economic research aimed at understanding the restructuring of practices and institutions in the digital age from 2002 in two three-year phases to 2007.
However, my first truly collaborative experience was with an NSF-supported Evaluation of Urban Information Systems (URBIS), conducted by the Public Policy Research Organization (PPRO) at the University of California, Irvine, in the late-1970s. The team was led by Ken Kraemer, who remains at Irvine, and included the late Rob Kling, Jim Danziger and myself, along with John Leslie King, Walt Scacchi and others, such as Dick and Linda Hackathorn were also central to this ‘Irvine Group’. This project led me away from the study of urban politics and policy – the focus of my graduate study – to focus my work on the social and political aspects of information and communication technologies.