Status of Research on the Information Society

While it is true that ″the information society″ is a frequently heard concept and an expression in common use, the reality to which it refers is complex, and subject to many possible interpretations. What, then, can we say about the studies which attempt to define its outlines? Their immense diversity results not only from the variety of communication media in existence, but also from the multiplicity of issues for analysis, and finally, of course, from the research objectives and methods adopted.

However, it is precisely because this is a field in a perpetual state of flux that it seemed necessary to us to offer a progress report on the current state of research undertaken in the area of the information society. Clearly, we could not embark upon drawing up a bibliographical inventory with any claim to being exhaustive. As we have stated, the research subjects and reference sources are far too varied, and their number is constantly increasing. What we have undertaken is thus rather an exercise in methodology, the results of which we set forth in this publication. How should issues for analysis be defined? How should the sources of information available be classified and evaluated? How should the information thus gathered be used? Such are the main questions that we shall approach in the course of this work.

Pursuing further this line of thinking, we have selected five subjects for more detailed research. They are linked by one common characteristic: each of them represents one of the issues which UNESCO believes it is necessary to address if we are to build a information society which is just and universal. Thus, cultural and linguistic diversity, freedom of expression and Infoethics are essential components of the information society as envisaged by UNESCO. Two other issues, equality of the sexes and the situation of the people with disabilities, in our view possess symbolic value. Access for all to information technologies runs up against a number of pre-existing obstacles which we must address.



  • Bibliographic reference
  • Collation: 81 p.
  • Author(s): Boafo, S.T. Kwame
  • Publication year: 2003
  • Series Title: UNESCO Publications for the World Summit on the Information Society
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