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Information Society

Although highly topical and extensively researched across several disciplines, the topic information society presents certain challenges. Not only does the term support various families of meaning, but also the very existence of an information society is a subject of scholarly controversy. Even among those who believe in the concept—perhaps a majority now—its origins, nature, and policy implications are hotly contested. Disclaimers aside, however, this entry attempts to locate the main empirical and normative currents in the global information society debate. The idea matters to those attempting to grasp the role of scientific information in society because information society theory postulates that information itself has become the foundation of the economy of a handful of highly developed contemporary societies.

Origins and Accounts of the Information Society

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