Volume and control: the transition from information to power

Elad Segev*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How does information become power, who gains and who loses, and what are the implications of this process? As much of the information we produce today is available to very few global companies and governments it is crucial to develop new concepts and modify the existing theories on information and power. Drawing on the political economy of communication, sociology and information science literature, this paper introduces an analytical framework to understand the mechanisms through which information is turned into power and their social and cultural implications. Volume is defined as the informational resources–the amount and diversity of information and the people producing it. Control is described through two competing and complementary mechanisms: popularization (information relevant to most people), and personalization (information relevant to each individual person). The main argument is that the ability to transform information into power requires controlling the interaction between the growing volume of people and information by balancing popularization and personalization mechanisms. This framework is then applied to demonstrate Google’s monopoly of knowledge, its PageRank algorithm, and its inevitable commercial and cultural biases around the world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-257
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Multicultural Discourses
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • Google algorithm
  • Information and power
  • monopoly of knowledge
  • network customization
  • popularization and personalization
  • volume and control


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