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

The ‘Atoms and Bits’ of Informational Capitalism

The ‘atoms and bits’ of informational capitalism

‘I'm optimistic about the impact of new technology. It will enhance leisure time and enrich culture by expanding the distribution of information … It will relieve pressure on natural resources because increasing numbers of products will be able to take the form of bits rather than manufactured goods. It will give us more control over our lives … Citizens in the information society will enjoy new opportunities for productivity, learning and entertainment.’

(Gates, 1995: 250)

‘Despite universal primary and secondary education in OECD countries, one person in six is functionally illiterate – unable to fill out a job application, excluded from the rapidly changing world that demands new skills in processing information.’

(UNDP, 1999: 37)

‘It's ...

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