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The Information Society


New Media. Work and Employment in The Knowledge-Based Economy Consumers ... 'Information Society' is a term of policy and politicians, of journalists and the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Information Society

The Information Society
  • Ian Miles and Lawrence Green
  • PREST and CRIC
  • University of Manchester
  • http//

Information Society
this course will address
  • Alternative Approaches to Information Society
  • Information Technology
  • Transformations of Information Society
  • Services and the Information Society a new
    Industrial Revolution?
  • Electronic Commerce
  • New Media
  • Work and Employment in The Knowledge-Based
    Economy Consumers and Domestic IT
  • Policies for Information Society
  • (IT, IS and International Development)
  • (Popular Visions of Information Societies)

Whats going on? perspectives differ - does it
make sense to talk of Information Society?
  • All sound and fury - not really much serious
  • A lot of action, but no strong common themes
  • A lot of action, but the ground-rules stay the
  • A lot of change, some of the fundamentals
  • A lot of change, shaking the ground-rules
  • Immense change in the ground-rules themselves

(No Transcript)
Different Foci for Information Society Accounts
?Cultural products Content Signs Bits Media
Culture Content of Information, society of signs
Telecommunications new IT Convergence Computers
Volume of Information, Scale of Information
Evolution Diffusion of Information Technologies
A useful clustering - into 3 groups of accounts
Is this a phenomenon that mainly involves just a
few economic sectors or a few social practices -
or is it something much more generally
  • Sociocultural change - postmodernism, risk
    society, etc.
  • Economic, managerial change - postFordism,
    tertiarisation, Machlup/Porat approaches, etc.
  • Sociotechnical, technological change IT

  • Its not just a social scientific concept
  • Information Society is a term of policy and
    politicians, of journalists and the public
  • Thus meanings and discourses are fluid!

EU on The Information Society -
  • Most people agree that we are living in a
    revolutionary period in which the impact of the
    new information and communications technologies
    is as profound, if not more so, than the era of
    steam or the arrival of electrification. They are
    steadily changing the ways in which we live and
    work, transforming our societies.
  • While others have talked of "information
    super-highways," Europeans prefer the concept of
    the "information society". This term more
    accurately reflects their awareness that there
    are very broad social and organisational changes
    which have to be confronted as a result of the
    information and communications revolution.

Principles of EU IS Policy
  • 1.Market forces must drive progress to the IS.
    This means opening up information services and
    infrastructure to competition
  • 2.Universal service must be ensured together with
    network interconnection and the interoperability
    of services and applications throughout the
    Union. Similar measures are needed in other
    regions ...
  • 3.The job of financing the IS lies chiefly with
    the private sector
  • 4.Cultural and linguistic diversity should be
    protected and promoted
  • 5.Personal privacy must be protected and
    information must be communicated and processed
    securely and confidentially
  • 6.Cooperation should be developed with less
    economically advanced countries, particularly
    with neighbouring countries in CEE.
  • 7.Economic operators must be made aware of the
    new opportunities which the Information Society
    presents for them
  • 8.Similar awareness is needed among the general
    public. People need .access to
    appropriate training throughout all
    education levels..

Evolving Ideas of IS
  • See Duffs book for origins of terms, debates
    about interpretation
  • Websters book focuses on broader sociocultural
    accounts of the current epoch (but not
  • Here, lets examine an important variety of the
    information sector thesis.

An Exercise in three groups
  • A Cultural/ Sociological perspective
  • B Economic/ Business Perspective
  • C Sociotechnical/ Technological Perspective

The Task is, from the perspective allocated, to
  • Explain what are the top three to five aspects of
    Information Society that would make this a useful
  • Why are these aspects important
  • What is the usefulness of this understanding of
    Information Society To whom? For what?

Results of exercise
  • Approach
  • Top Items
  • Why?
  • What use?

Post Industrial Society US...
Europe Generally Positive Eurocriticism
  • Employment, Value-added in Agriculture ?Industry
    ?Services march through the sectors to the
    tertiary sector
  • Food?Goods ?Services driven by shifts in demand
  • compensates for job loss in manufacturing through
  • new service class
  • end of ideology

Information Society Japan ........ US
..... Europe Europessimism
  • a quaternary sector the information sector
  • evocation of information-intensity across
    conventional sectors
  • dynamic new information sectors rising
  • information workers knowledge classes rising
  • end of hierarchy . end of history!

The Information Sector Approach
  • Pioneered by Machlup colleagues focus on
    knowledge much quantification but little
  • Major impact of the Porat analysis, aided by
    striking aggregated presentation in terms of a
    single category of information workers.
  • Endlessly recycled.

Porats Picture
4 sector aggregation of US workforce
Agricultural ? Industrial ? Information
50 40 30 20 10 0
Info Serv Mfg Agr
1860 1880 1900 1920 1940 1960 1980
OECD/Porat Information Occupations
  • Information Producers
  • Scientific Technical
  • Market Search/Coordination
  • Information Gatherers
  • Consultative Services
  • Information producers nec
  • Information Processors
  • Administrative Managerial
  • Process Control
  • Supervisory
  • Clerical Related
  • Information Distributors
  • Educators
  • Communication Workers
  • Information Infrastructure
  • Information Machine Workers
  • Postal Telecommunications

Problems with an Information Sector Approach
  • Information Occupations are not the only
  • Information Occupations are specialised and
    visible ... but are they more significant?
  • Problems of Classification (a) Boundary
    Cases (b) Heterogeneity
  • Problems of Periodisation or is information
    society a trend rather than a stage?

Useful Information Approaches
  • Knowledge economy analyses (often informed by
  • Measuring Flows
  • Mapping different types of information activity

Information Maps (Harvard, Houghton)
Comm Info services services Info and
comm Info equipment products
Houghton Information Map
EITO View of European Information Business, 1993
UK Green Paper Estimates
  • 1 incorporates only figures extracted from the
    Annual Census of Production, oriented to tangible
    products and national income and product
    accounts, not to services or to gauge the size
    and growth of manufacturing industries. 22,000
  • 2 adds data from Business Monitor series of the
    ONS, that include parts of the software and
    services industries 33,500 million.
  • 3 includes also broadcasting and
    telecommunication services, using data from
    regulatory and administrative agencies (OFTEL,
    the BBC etc.). 51,000 million.
  • 4includes new and most dynamic segments -
    Enhanced Networks and Digitised Content. Revenues
    assessed by consulting industry data. at least
    54,500 million.

IT/GDP vs GDP per capita, 1993
GDP per cap
30 20 10 0
IT Exp as of GDP
0 0.5 1
1.5 2 2.5
IT Expenditure as share of GDP (1997)
0 2 4 6 8
A Sociotechnical Approach to the Information
  • New knowledge of effecting transformations ? new
  • a new heartland technology
  • dramatic change in availability of a core element
    of production
  • new production equipment changed logic
  • new production processes of production
  • new final products

changes in demand and in consumption
patterns CORE IT ----------IT-EMBODYING
Information Society
  • All sectors process information
  • New Information and Communication Technologies,
    new forms of traded information, new
    communications services
  • Potential for change in role and style of
    information processing in all sectors

Change in information-processing across all
  • Innovation in and around Information
    Communications Technologies
  • New processes of production, new products Labour
  • Changed use of factors of production
  • Changes in organisational structure
  • Changed linkages between organisations

This course...
  • will explore this approach, and see how far it
    can get us
  • but we should not assume that it is the whole
    story as well as important changes such as
    globalisation, geopolitics, demography, there are
    developments that reflect other approaches to
    information society.

Grouping Perspectives
Whats Your View? 1
  • Distribute ten points across the three options
    for (each of) the following statement(s)
  • 1 Information Society is a term that is
  • a) mainly a political construct
  • b) a useful social scientific idea
  • c) too vague to be of much use.

Whats Your View? 2
  • Distribute ten points across the three options
    for the following statement
  • 2 Information Society is
  • a) mainly a matter of incremental change
  • b) a major industrial revolution, such as for
    example electrification
  • c) as major a transformation as the move from
    agricultural to industrial society.

Whats Your View? 3
  • Distribute ten points across the three options
    for the following statement
  • 3 Information Society is
  • a) mainly a matter of technological change
  • b) mainly a matter of economic and business
  • c) mainly a matter of social and cultural change.

Whats Your View? 4
  • Distribute ten points across the three options
    for the following statement
  • 4 Information Society is
  • a) predominantly about increasing human liberty
    and welfare
  • b) predominantly about social control and
  • c) a balance of the above, which will only be
    determined by policy and strategy

Whats Your View? 5
  • Distribute ten points across the three options
    for the following statement
  • 5 Information Society is
  • a) predominantly likely to increase social and
    economic equality
  • b) predominantly likely to decrease social and
    economic equality
  • c) likely to increase some inequalities,
    decrease others (e.g. within, between nations)