Information Technologies and Social Change

Information Technologies and Social Change

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2255-3.ch409
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There are turning points in human history changed the destiny of humanity: Representing the transition from hunting-gathering to agriculture, Agricultural Revolution or the Neolithic Revolution. French Revolution that took place in 18th century and the Industrial Revolution providing the transition from the agricultural economy to industrial economy. From 19th century, Information Revolution, the whole world has experienced the effects of it in varying degrees. Information Science and technologies have become areas that their communities give the greatest importance for them and they make maximum investments to them in the globalized world conditions. As Daniel Bell describes, Industrial society left its place to Post-industrial society which is an Information society in a sense.
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Classical sociology seeks social change in the relationship between social structures. Accordingly, an element of social structure affects the another structure by changing. Institutions such as religion, economy, family, and education create a social stability. As the first sociologists of modernity, Simon, Comte, Durkheim, Marx, Spencer and, Weber, in order to discover the laws of social change, try to produce information from social phenomenons. Thus, an extensive literature occurs on the issue. In this context, theoretical approaches such as structuralism, conflict theories, evolutionism, functionalism and so on. can be mentioned (Comte, 2001; Weber, 2000; Durkheim, 2006).

In addition to these grand theories, with the development of communication technologies, theories about the culture created by these tools and its impact on human behavior and society remain. Studies on the impact of communication technologies on society and human relations gained momentus especially between the two world wars. Theoretical approaches such as Syringe Model, Limited Effects Approach, Usages and Gratifications Approach and so on. Approaches such as Criticism of Culture Industry of the Frankfurt School is important for literature. However, the approaches expressed in this literature deal with the impact of information and culture transmitted via information technologies on human. It is criticized that information and culture transmitted by the media and the mass media deactivate the society and the society is forced to consume a culture which is not produced by itself.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cultural Structure: Spiritual aspect of social structure emphasizing human relationships.

Culture Industry: Industrialization of culture and commodification of cultural products.

Information Technologies: The tools that are generating, accumulating, and, protecting information.

Social Change: The change of social structure, culture and, social behaviors in a society.

Modernity: The name of values system emerged in the 17th century in Europe.

Mass Culture: A form of culture produced by the culture industry.

Social Structure: A set of organized relationships in a society.

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