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The information society and ICT policy: a critique of the mainstream vision and an alternative research framework

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This article presents a brief history of the Information Society and a research framework that is intended to address the challenges of ensuring that information and communication technologies are applied in ways that are enabling and responsive to the varied contexts in which people live their lives. ICT policies have come to be reasonably well-accepted as components of broader development policy initiatives, but there is much debate about how best to underpin these initiatives. Insights arising from research that is critical of the mainstream vision of the Information Society are rarely influential in such debates. I consider some of the reasons for this and whether there may now be an opportunity to re-enter some of these debates, particularly those in which it is clear that there are many important issues that reappear on the ICT policy agenda. The article highlights some of the most difficult outstanding questions around the promotion of investment in ICTs in support of sustainable development goals and offers an alternative research framework arising out of a UNESCO-sponsored workshop. It also offers an assessment of the likelihood that greater attention will be given to measures that support more differentiated information or knowledge societies. I conclude that there are signs of learning and an awareness of unequal power relationships that may contribute to a shift in priorities towards a more context sensitive research framework that could be of value to those who are preoccupied by efforts to improve the material conditions of people’s lives.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/24990/1/The_Information_Society_and_ICT_Policy_%28LSERO%29.pdf

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