© Copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved. Editions Blair
What is the site about?
Cyberaction for Social Change - a public service featuring the writings and ideas of Prof Thomas L Blair, a specialist in international urban affairs and Internet Sociology.
At a time when social tensions mount in ever-expanding metropolises and our habitat is under severe threat, I believe we can use the Internet to better effect in sharing information and ideas in the search for solutions.
My days are spent fulfilling that purpose. Sometimes it's applying my skills to studying and reporting on key issues of social conflict and change. On other occasions I'm Internet-researching for solutions to the way we use and often abuse our environment and human habitat. These days I often work with professionals and policy makers on race equality and diversity issues.
These experiences have shown me how important it is to propose alternative solutions to today's crises of spirit and consciousness. And what medium is best suited to this purpose than the Internet, this century's key instrument of mass communications?
Why this website?
One extraordinary effect of the Internet is that it gives everyone of us a chance to create content on the World Wide Web.
In addition, millions can now communicate and organise themselves for social action and change. There is an element of social networking but there is also a growing determination by citizens to usher in a new era of digital democracy.
In keeping with this trend, Cyberaction for Social Change is a work in progress. My aim is to create a niche in cyberspace -- an electronic library of my mainly printed works and favourite sources on the problems and prospects of social change.
What's involved in making the transition?
To be sure, dreams don't become realities without forethought and hard work. That's why I have tried to follow a step-by-step process of transformation from print to the Internet. This is a technique you may wish to try, too.
What are some practical goals of Cyberaction?
But let's be clear - Cyberaction for Social Change is no other-worldly escape from the cut and thrust of "real-life". Launching an informative website into cyberspace is not a paltry excuse for terrestrial inaction
My skills in sociology, internet research, and online journalism are grounded in reality. I've helped community leaders gain access to better housing and social services in London 's slums; led consultancy projects to relieve poverty and water shortages in Africa and Asia ; and lobbied academics, professionals and policymakers to be more responsive toward public concerns.
In this spirit I use my cyberspace persona to broadcast my goals and skills to a wider audience of Internet communicators and cyberorganisers.
Why this public service by an online academic and cyberactivist?
This aim of passing on accumulated wisdom, information and knowledge, and even debatable opinions, is not without precedent. In the US , where the internet is more entrenched, the critical websites of academics and writers have triggered thought and action for public service.
Noam Chomsky of MIT, a linguistics scholar with wide ranging political interests, has placed his knowledge at the service of pressure groups critical of the state terror of the United States. Adam C Powell of the University of Southern California is pioneering the application of the Internet to media communications. The website of Abdul Alkalimat of the University of Toledo shares his scholarship and observations on the African American experience in a divided society.
What is my personal view?
For myself, I have chosen the Internet to share knowledge, information, ideas and experiences. This strategic choice stems from an over-riding conviction: the free flow ideas by word and image is a basic human right and attains its deepest meaning in the resolution of material disparities in equality and equity.
T.L. Blair, BA, MA, PhD, FRSA
I like to think of myself now as a scholarly cyberactivist, and edit and publish the premier Internet news magazine on changing Black Britain. But I began my professional life as a sociologist/planner, research and public policy analyst with special abilities in project formulation and appraisal. I hold university degrees at undergraduate, masters and PhD levels.
Formerly Professor of Social and Environmental Planning, at the Polytechnic of Central London (now the University of Westminster), I have taught at academic institutions in the USA and The Netherlands, and lectured in France, Italy, Nigeria, and Indonesia. I have also served international organisations such as Habitat programme of the United Nations, the World Health Organisation, and acted as research consultant for the Council of Europe. I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and author of numerous books and professional articles.