Thirty years ago, one writer complained that ‘to admire technology is all out of fashion’. Today excited claims are made for the impact that these technologies are having on social, political and economic life. But how are we to assess these claims? This book critically interrogates many of the prevailing ideas and offers a fresh perspective on this new ‘digital age’. Reshaping Communications: Provides an alternative and more grounded account of the complex interplay between new technology and information structures and changes in society; Illuminates the fundamental continuities as well as changes in socioeconomic and political processes; Draws on an interdisciplinary perspective

‘Information Society’ Theories

‘Information society’ theories

‘The axial principle … is the centrality of theoretical knowledge and its new role, when codified, as the director of social change … If one compares the formal properties of postindustrial society with those of industrial and preindustrial society … the crucial variables … are information and knowledge.’

(Bell, 1980: 501 and 504)

From Information ‘Sector’ to ‘Society’

Not least because of the complex role of formal and informal communication processes which underpin any scientific or sociological research endeavour, the initial temporal and spatial origins of the information society idea are a matter of some dispute. In any case, given the varying uses and definitions of the key term, not to mention those of parallel notions such as informatisation or indeed post-industrialism, any ...

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