Access Denied in the Information Age

Access Denied in the Information Age

Access Denied in the Information Age

Access Denied in the Information Age

Synopsis

Who is going to reap the rewards of new information and communication technologies? Focusing on a theme of exclusion, Access Denied in the Information Age dispels the myths of the information society. The authors here take a few steps back from the hype and consider the real place of these new technologies in society.

Excerpt

It was to be expected that a new millennium should bring with it a flurry of observers claiming that we stand on the threshold of a new society. We have not been disappointed. The media excitement at the fantastic financial speculation on the high-tech and internet stock market is but one instance cited to support this claim. This new society is labelled variously the information society, the knowledge society, the knowledge economy or, as this book chooses for no particular reason, the ‘information age’. The contributors to this book examine various features of today’s world, and find little evidence of a new information society.

Yet it is the information age, we are assured, because the key commodity for the twenty-first century is information. The technological developments of the last two or three decades mean that information can be moved around the world at speeds qualitatively (as well as quantitatively) different from the transport of goods. The consequences are economic and political: the information industries need no longer be located within a confined geography, and thus may seek out labour wherever it is most profitably available; governments may need to adopt different approaches to their relationship with business, while at the same time deploying new technologies to make this new information more widely and equitably available.

The contributors to this volume take a somewhat different view of the current period. The technology of communications has undoubtedly developed rapidly over the last two or three decades, and with it, the ways in which it is used have also changed. Yet there is a huge conceptual leap to be made before it is possible to argue that this is leading to a new kind of society, one in which existing social relations and orders are turned upside down. The chapters here instead stress that . . .

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