From Information Society to Community Service: The Birth of E-Citizenship

From Information Society to Community Service: The Birth of E-Citizenship

Benedito Medeiros Neto (University of Brasilia, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8740-0.ch007
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This chapter presents a perspective of a post-industrial society, through the development of the information society and its deployment, focusing on the possibilities of a service predominant society. The most important point of this exercise is that this approach did not happen as expected in form or time. In the past, the ICT tools were restricted to centers of competence or in organizations. Nowadays, their increasingly presence in individual lives, as well as in their human relationships, is changing social and commercial relations, the meaning of work and political participation of people in a compulsory way, unlike what had happened at the turn of agricultural to industrial Eras. New possibilities happen in a rapid manner in a society based on wealth concentration, when there is association of ICTs with the restlessness of social movements or collective protests demanding better living conditions of minority communities. The increasing information flows have led to the desire of knowledge. However, this search for the social welfare achievements has occurred in a superficial manner, leading to anxiety and depression of common and deprived citizens. A new Citizenship or, better defined, e-Citizenship emerges between their aspirations. Based on facts and observations of recent research on the impacts of ICTs in the last ten years, the approach of a community service changes the daily lives of individuals, despite its acceptance or perception, the presence of virtual media, the growing media innovation and agricultural, industrial and operational processes, as well as the claimed social movements.
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2. The 21St Century Society And Its Background

At the beginning of the second half of the 20th Century, Daniel Bell, a sociologist from Harvard, defender of postindustrial theory, especially exposed in his famous book “The Coming of Post-Industrial Society” (1973, 1991, 2001), envisioned overcoming the number of industry employees by the tertiary sector, in 1956, as the beginning of the post-industrial era. He grounded his view on the concept of post-industrial society. The post-industrialism theory gained strength, dissemination and popularity, with the work of Peter Drucker (1993), “The Age of Discontinuity” (1969).

Other scholars have called our society with a surprising variety of terms, including knowledge society (UNESCO, 2005), age of information and network society (Castells, 1999, 2001) global village (McLuhan, 1996), telépolis (Echeverría, 1999), surveillance society (Lyon, 1995 and 2001), interconnected society (Martin, 1980), interconnected intelligence society (Tapscott, 1996).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Literacy: The cognitive and social phenomenon that represents the new abilities related to appropriation of ICTs in the contemporary society.

Information Literacy: The person’s competence to note his needs and constant pursue, evaluate and use information to fulfill them and contribute with other people.

Community Service: A community that performs its objectives by someone or a group of people for the benefit of the public or its institutions.

E-Citizenship: A kind of citizenship that leads the individuals to search the regulation of human rights as citizens in an information society or under its evolution.

Collective Intelligence: A shared intelligence that emerges from the collaboration, collective efforts, and competition of many individuals, e that appears from the consensus decision-making.

Cyberdemocracy: The democracy that is the “mainstreaming of diversity, communication and cooperation approach,” that is, the idea of rights, freedom and collective intelligence in open and/or virtual spaces.

Appalachia: A geographic and cultural region of the Mideastern United States. The population in media is portrayed as suspicious, backward, and isolated.

Family-Centricity: The belief that family is central to wellbeing and that family members and family issues take precedence over other aspects of life.

Ethnocentric: A belief that one’s own culture is superior to other cultures.

E-Government: The government form in which access to information, communication and knowledge acquisition become collaborative and ubiquitous, performed in a network society.

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