Provides an accessible overview of all major and foundational thinkers on the information society: Daniel Bell, Manuel Castells, Herbert Schiller, Jürgen Habermas, and Anthony Giddens.
Popular opinion suggests that information has become a distinguishing feature of the modern world. Where once economies were built on industry and conquest, we are now instead said to be part of a global information economy. In the first edition of Theories of the Information Society Frank Webster set out to make sense of the information explosion, taking a sceptical look at what thinkers mean when they refer to the information society and critically examining all the post-war theories and approaches to informational development. In this new and thoroughly revised edition the author brings his work right up-to-date both with new theoretical work and with social and technological changes - such as the rapid growth of the internet and accelerated globalisation - and re-assesses the work of key theorists in light of these changes. This book is essential reading for students of contemporary social theory and anybody interested in social and technological change in the post-war era.
1. Introduction 2. The Idea of an Information Society 3. The Information Society as Post-Industrialism Daniel Bell 4. Information, Restructuring and Globalisation 5. Informational Capitalism Manuel Castells 6. Information and Advanced Capitalism Herbert Schiller 7. Information Management and Manipulation: Jurgen Habermas and the Concept of the Public Sphere 8. Information, Reflexivity and Surveillance Anthony Giddens 9. Information, Postmodernism and Postmodernity 10. Conclusion: Is There an Information Society? Bibliography.