The Information Revolution and Ireland
book review in Information Research, Volume 10 No 3 April, 2005
An anthropological perspective on the current information revolution using examples from Ireland and elsewhere to discuss contemporary social, political and cultural changes, while placing those changes in their historical context. This book provides an anthropological perspective on the technological revolution that we are all experiencing. It places the current information revolution in its historical and social context. Whether there is a new economic, political and social order emerging or not, and whether the new order is beneficial or detrimental to citizens, all agree that significant changes are taking place. Often it seems as though we are all bystanders, watching change take place but having very little participation in the process. The central issue in this book is that technology, including the new information and communications technology linked with the Information Society, is not a force external to society and beyond the control of society; it is an integral part of society and individual behaviour. The book's aim is to encourage individuals to contribute to policy so that the society that emerges is one that citizens have chosen, not one imposed on them.
The book encourages discussion and thought rather than proclaiming conclusions, and discusses theoretical issues in the context of everyday life. The book deals with global issues in a highly readable way and uses Irish and other examples to provide a perspective that complements the dominant North American discourse. Examples include discussion of new technologies and political transformation in Ireland; new technologies, the Irish Diaspora and virtual communities; as well as peripheral societies and social transformation. This book will be applicable to courses in Information Studies as well as Social Studies of Technology. It will also be relevant for anyone interested in the impact of the global information and technology revolution on societies and the challenges facing citizens living in information intensive and information dependent societies.