Theories of the Information Society
OverviewInformation has come to be regarded as a symbol of the age in which we live. Talk nowadays is frequently of an information explosion', an information technology' revolution, even of an information society'. But just what is an information society and how are we to make sense of it? This book sets out to examine and assess a variety of images of the information society'. Frank Webster sceptically examines what thinkers mean by an information society', and looks closely at different approaches to informational developments. He provides critical commentaries on the major postwar theories: Daniel Bell's ideas on a post-industrial' information society', Anthony Giddens' thoughts on the growth of surveillence and the expansion of the nation state, Herbert Schiller's insistence that information both expresses and consolidates the interests of corporate capitalism; Jurgen Habermas' account of the diminishment of the public sphere', Jean Baudrillard's thoughts on postmodernism and information, and Manuel Castell's depiction of the information city'. Each theorisation is subjected to close scrutiny and is tested against empirical evidence to asses its worth. The author concludes that, while there has undoubtedly been an information explosion, it is premature to conceive of an information society'. We should rather emphasise the informationisation' of established relations.
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