Saturday, June 26, 2010

Theories of the Information Society, by Frank Wester, 2002

Theories of the Information Society, by Frank Wester, 2002

Quality and Quantity

"Reviewing these varying gedinitions of the information society, what becomes clear is that they are either or both underveloped or imprecise. Whether its is a technological, ecobomic, occupational, spatial or cultural conception, we are left with highly problematic notions of what constitutes, and how to distinguish, an information society.

It is important that we remain aware of these difficulties thought as a heuristic device, the term information society has some value in exploring features of the contemporary world, it is too inexact to be acceptable as a definitive term. For this reason, throughout this book, though I shall on ocassion use the concept and acknowledge that information plays a critical role in the present age, I shall express suspicion as regards information society scenarios and remain sceptical of the view that information has become the major distinguishing feature of our times.

For the moment, however, I want to raise some further difficulties with the language of the information society. The first problem concerns the quantitative versus qualitative measures to wich I have already alluded. My earlier concern was chiefly that quaantitative approaches failed to distinguish more strategically significant information activity from that which was routine and low-level and that this homogenisation was misleading. Here I want to re-raise the quality/ quantity issue in so far as it bears upon the question of whether the information society marks a break with previous sorts of society" (page 21)

"One ought not to imagine that theoretical knowledge´s primacy is limited to leading-edge innovations. Indeed, it is hard to think of any technological applications in whic theory is not a prequisite of development. For instance, road repair, house construction, sewage disposal or motor car manofracture are each premised on known theoretical principles of material durability, structural laws, toxins, energy consuption and much more" (27)

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