Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


In the last couple of years the terms knowledge society and information society are used as labels for a fundamental change of society (Stehr 1994, but see already Bell 1973) In its more technocratic interpretation it links to the idea of 'modernisation', suggesting that a revolutionary but 'natural' change of society from industrial society to post-industrial society is taking place in which information and knowledge are becoming the main productive source in the economy and society. Information and knowledge are getting the status of the primary resource, like energy and raw materials in the industrial society, or farming land in the agricultural society.
In the literature, many different definitions of the information society are used. The information society can be defined in terms of technological, economic, occupational, or cultural characteristics. These characteristics then are assumed to distinguish the information society from earlier social configurations. E.g., using an economic definition, one may argue that information societies are characterized by an information sector, which is larger than the other economic sectors in terms of value added, and in terms of employment. In this project, we adopt a different approach, and conceptualize the information society as a society in which new communication networks are emerging, as new coordination mechanisms, supplementing the set of existing one's. Consequently, the information society is more complex than earlier societies, and characterized by even more unexpected behaviour and unintended consequences.

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Record Number: 7060 / Last updated on: 2005-09-30
Category: PROJ