MIoIR Services Innovation Research

  Knowledge Economy and Information Society - seminar 1

1. Introduction – Alternative Approaches to “Knowledge Economy" and

“Information Society”

Introduction to the course and subject area. Basic foundations: Why have the concepts of Knowledge Economy and Information Society become important, where do they originate? What are the main orientations adopted by commentators? What are the virtues and limitations of various approaches?


ALL of these are relevant sources for later seminars, so don’t worry if you have not read them today!

Two books presenting their own overviews of different approaches to Information Society 

¨ Frank Webster 1995 Theories of the Information Society Routledge

¨ A Duff, 2000, Information Society Studies London: Routledge

Some major efforts to explain and describe developments 

¨ J R Beniger, 1986, The Control Revolution Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press

¨ Manuel Castells 1997 The Network Society London: Blackwells

¨ Daniel Bell 1972 The Coming of Post-Industrial Society Basic Books

¨ Carlota Perez, 1983, Structural Change and Assimilation of New Technologies Futures 15 no 5 pp357-375

Useful resources: 

¨ The Information Society Journal: http://www.slis.indiana.edu/TIS/index.html (full text versions of all articles are available via the University library website (enter a periodicals search for ‘The Information Society’ and follow the links)



Seminar question/exercise:

‘What are the main features of Knowledge Economy and Information Society –and how do the two differ - in terms of Technological; Economic; Occupational; Spatial; and Cultural factors?

What are the sociocultural, socioeconomic, and sociotechnical approaches?

What are their  strengths and weaknesses?

Try doing Google and Google Scholar search on these and related terms.  Try a search engine that groups "hits" into related categories.  What can you learn from:

  •  The number of "hits" generated?
  • When they appear (are their trends? particular events?)  Where they come from?  Whom they come from?
  • What is the content?  (apart from the sorts of groups that Clusty comes up with, you can look to see what happens when you add other terms into the search - for example "technology", "inequality", "economic growth", "culture"...