Sociology Index

Information Society

Mass Communication & Mass Society, Books on Information Society

What is Information Society? What is the role of information in human behavior, organization, and society? Sociology of the information society, in particular the social-cultural, political, and organizational aspects.

We are beginning to live in an "information economy" and an "information society" - we are entering an "information age." - Tom Forester

"Information society is enslaved in its freedom." - vpr

The crucial point about a post-industrial society is that knowledge and information become the strategic and transforming resources of the information society. - Daniel Bell

"Human societies have seen four distinct revolutions in the character of social interchange: speech, writing, printing and now telecommunication. Each revolution is associated with a distinctive, technologically-based, way of life." - The Social Framework of the Information Society, (Bell 1989).

Now we have moved into a global information economy and identify societies that have bridged the digital divide, such as the United States, Japan, Germany, and other nations with an informed way of life as information societies.

In the study of information society we try to understand the complex relationship between technological change, its effect upon social divisions, its consequences for social action and the emerging strategies for social inclusion in the Information Age.

Definitions of the Information Society: Webster bundles definitions of the information society into five categories - Technological, Economic, Occupational, Spatial and Cultural.

Geographers stress the importance of the spatial features of an information society. John Goddard identifies 4 elements in the transition to an information society:

  1. Information becomes a key strategic resource in the global economy
  2. IT and telecommunications provides the information infrastructure - networks and 'information superhighways'
  3. Growth of a 'tradable information sector' - new multimedia, on-line databases etc.
  4. 'Informatisation' of the economy. The integration of national and regional economies.

Acacia Initiative - The idea of Acacia emerged at the 1996 Information Society and Development Conference, the first event of its kind held in a developing country, South Africa, and was thus closely associated from the outset with efforts by developing countries, particularly in Africa, to ensure that their voices would help shape the Global Information Society.

End of Millennium : The Information Age, Economy, Information Society and Culture
By Manuel Castells
Description: The final volume in Manuel Castells' trilogy is devoted to processes of global social change induced by interaction between networks and identity. Castells studies empirically the collapse of the Soviet Union, tracing it back to the incapacity of industrial statism to manage the transition to the information age.

What Information Society?
by Frank Webster
Commentators increasingly talk about information as a defining feature of the modern world. Much attention is now devoted to the informatization of social life: we are told that we are entering an Information Age, that a new mode of information predominates, that we have moved into a global information economy. Many writers even identify as information societies the United States, Britain, Japan, Germany, and other nations with a similar way of life. Indeed, it appears that information has "become so important today as to merit treatment as a symbol for the very age in which we live."

Theories of the Information Society (The International Library of Sociology)
by Frank Webster - Theories of the Information Society provides commentaries on all the postwar theories of the information society--Bell, Schiller, Baudrillard, Giddens and Castells. Interest in "information" is growing in the wake of the modernity post-modernity debate. The debate suggests that the Western economic base has shifted from production/manufacturing to service and information, which has the changed the class structure and political process.

The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1986.