Originally associated with visions of higher education as a common good to be made more universally available through gift-economy collaborative production, cybereducation is threatened by the colonizing interests of private, profit-generating commerce. Analogous tensions exist in cyberscience between a top-down utilization of ICT to enlist nonscientists in scientific knowledge production and bottom-up efforts by cyberactivists to make science more responsive to public needs. In a public sphere increasingly influenced by technoscience, it is crucial for cybercitizen activists to be able to draw on science to enhance the intelligence of their participatory engagement with science policy and technological decision making. Cyberliteracy—including awareness of the tensions and complexities outlined in this chapter—can help enhance the potential for positive transformations of the public sphere. Such transformations nevertheless remain always fragile and contingent.
This article has grown out of extended exchanges with Carl Mitcham and has benefited from his English-language editing.