The early History of the internet in Wales

Dr Rhys Jones’ work is currently being written as a chapter for the Routledge Companion to Comparative Internet Studies (forthcoming in 2015).

It focusses on the portrayal of the Internet in the English-language press in Wales, and in the Welsh-language press, 1990-1996. These are the years when the Internet could be regarded as being in its infancy. Taken as a whole across both languages, the press articles demonstrate competing and complementary discourses regarding a new technology during a relatively early stage of its enculturation: the largely technophilic attitude towards new media during this time, characterised as ‘Internetphilia’ by Patelis (2000), is critically analysed, together with elements of moral panic in some other stories.

In a comparative context, the Welsh-language press emphasises language, cultural pressures and nationhood as the key factors likely to be shaped by the internet. The English-language articles, whilst concerned about Wales as a nation, adopt the rhetoric of the ‘information superhighway’ as a key driver of economic progress.

(Alex Berry)