Over the past twenty years research on the evolving relationship between GIS and Society has been expanding into a wide variety of topical areas, becoming in the process an increasingly challenging and multifaced endeavor. The SAGE Handbook of GIS and Society is a retrospective and prospective overview of GIS and Society research that provides an expansive and critical assessment of work in that field. Emphasizing the theoretical, methodological and substantive diversity within GIS and Society research, the book highlights the distinctiveness and intellectual coherence of the subject as a field of study, while also examining its resonances with and between key themes, and among disciplines ranging from geography and computer science to sociology, anthropology, and the health and environmental sciences. Comprising 27 chapters, often with an international focus, the book is organized into six sections: Foundations of Geographic Information and Society; Geographic Information and Modern Life; Alternative Representations of Geographic Information and Society; Organizations and Institutions; Participation and Community Issues; Value, Fairness, and Privacy
Chapter 4: The Social Potential of GIS
The Social Potential of GIS
The field of geographic information systems (GIS), once scorned by critical geographers as irretrievably positivist, is now being reconceptualized as a potentially liberating discourse that situates technology in social context. GIS is increasingly recognized as a technology, an activity, and a set of social relations that inserts itself into everyday life and thus embodies the social potential of other modern technologies to be both agent of control and agent of subversion. Significantly, the most sustained critical voices are just as likely to be GIS practitioners as outside observers, a transformation that points to a more constructive era of GIS activity in which GIS's social potential can be more fully realized.
Like the telephone, the radio, and the ...