Mapping the Information Society Literature: Topics, Perspectives, and Root Metaphors

Isabel Alvarez, Brent Kilbourn


This article concerns the Information Society literature and is set in the context of teaching and learning about it, particularly in educational technology settings. In spite of the infancy of the Information Society phenomenon, a large literature has emerged in recent years that discusses its nature. Not surprisingly, the literature does not present a uniform view; rather, there are differences of opinion as to the nature and significance of the Information Society. We argue that the literature constitutes an educational problem for those teaching and learning about this complex territory. The discussion visits the complexity by constructing a comprehensive map that charts 1) topics, 2) perspectives, and 3) root metaphors. Mapping the literature helps both teachers and learners find their way in a potentially confusing field of study. Special emphasis is devoted to root metaphors - philosophical views about the nature of reality that in turn help teachers and learners become more sensitive to critical, underlying features of the Information Society discussion. We argue that some root metaphors are more helpful than others for understanding literature about the Information Society.

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