Societatea informaţională este societatea în care producerea şi consumul de informaţie este cel mai important tip de activitate. Informaţia este recunoscută drept resursă principală, tehnologiile informaţiei şi comunicaţiilor sunt tehnologii de bază, iar mediul informaţional, împreună cu cel social şi cel ecologic – un mediu de existenţă a omului.

Dimensiunile societăţii informaţionale şi a cunoasterii (SIC)

  • Socială – se aplică asupra îngrijirii sănătăţii şi protecţiei sociale, democracraţiei sociale. (telemedicina, teleactivităţi, telelucru, telealegeri,teleasigurare, etc.).
  • Educaţională – dezvoltă competenţa de concepţie şi de lucru în regim informatizat, gestionarea intelegentă a proceselor (educaţie şi învăţămînt la distanţă, biblioteci virtuale,e-Teaching,e-Learning).
  • Ambientală – care are impact asupra utilizării resurselor şi protecţiei mediului înconjurător.
  • Culturală – care are impact asupra conservării şi dezvoltării patrimoniului, dezvoltării industriei (muzee, galerii de arta pe internet,digitizarea informatiei:manuale digitizate,digitizarea patrimoniului national si international).
  • Economică – care dezvoltă noi paradigme ale economiei digitale şi ale economiei bazată pe cunoaştere (e-Comerţ, e-Banking, e-Learning,e-Money,e-Trading,achitare pe internet,afacere pe internet, etc.).
  • Dimensiuni ale S.I.
  • Tehnologică – infrastructură, servicii, aplicaţii
  • Economică – noua economie digitală
  • Politico– administrativă – guvernare electronică
  • Socială – calitatea vieţii
  • Culturală – interacţiunea cultură-tehnologie
  • Juridică – legislaţie specifică

You are reading this page on the Internet. You may also have a digital camera, a mobile phone, an MP3 player. These are all “information society” products, made possible by the convergence of computer, telecommunications and media sciences. In just one generation, information and communications technologies (ICTs) have revolutionised the way we live, learn, work and play. They have radically recast the ways in which people, industry, governments and society interact.

Information society is seen as the successor to industrial society. losely related concepts are the post-industrial society (Daniel Bell), post-fordism, post-modern society, knowledge society, Telematic Society, Information Revolution, and network society (Manuel Castells).

One of the first people to develop the concept of the information society was the economist Fritz Machlup. He was notable for being one of the first economists to examine knowledge as an economic resource. Machlup’s key work was The Production and Distribution of Knowledge in the United States (1962), which is credited with popularizing the concept of the information society. Shortly before his death he completed the third in a series of ten planned volumes collectively called Knowledge: Its Creation, Distribution, and Economic Significance. He distinguished five sectors of the knowledge sector: education, research and development, mass media, information technologies, information services.

Peter Drucker has argued that there is a transition from an economy based on material goods to one based on knowledge. In 1959, Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker. Drucker was interested in the growing effect of people who worked with their minds rather than their hands. He was intrigued by employees who knew more about certain subjects than their bosses or colleagues and yet had to cooperate with others in a large organization.

Marc Porat distinguishes a primary (information goods and services that are directly used in the production, distribution or processing of information) and a secondary sector (information services produced for internal consumption by government and non-information firms) of the information economy. Porat uses the total value added by the primary and secondary information sector to the GNP as an indicator for the information economy. The OECD has employed Porat’s definition for calculating the share of the information economy in the total economy (e.g. OECD 1981, 1986). Based on such indicators the information society has been defined as a society where more than half of the GNP is produced and more than half of the employees are active in the information economy.

For Daniel Bell the number of employees producing services and information is an indicator for the informational character of a society. What counts is not raw muscle power, or energy, but information. Bell outlined a new kind of society – the post-industrial society. He argued that post-industrialism would be information-led and service-oriented. Bell also argued that the post-industrial society would replace the industrial society as the dominant system. There are three components to a post-industrial society, according to Bell:

  • a shift from manufacturing to services
  • the centrality of the new science-based industries
  • the rise of new technical elites and the advent of a new principle of stratification

Alain Touraine (the originator of the term “post-industrial society”), already spoke in 1971 of the post-industrial society.

“The passage to postindustrial society takes place when investment results in the production of symbolic goods that modify values, needs, representations, far more than in the production of material goods or even of ‘services’. Industrial society had transformed the means of production: post-industrial society changes the ends of production, that is, culture. (…) The decisive point here is that in postindustrial society all of the economic system is the object of intervention of society upon itself. That is why we can call it the programmed society, because this phrase captures its capacity to create models of management, production, organization, distribution, and consumption, so that such a society appears, at all its functional levels, as the product of an action exercised by the society itself, and not as the outcome of natural laws or cultural specificities” (Touraine 1988: 104)

Jean-François Lyotard (well-known for his articulation of postmodernism after the late 1970s and the analysis of the impact of postmodernity on the human condition.)

Lyotard has argued that “knowledge has become the principle force of production over the last few decades“. Knowledge would be transformed into a commodity. Lyotard says that postindustrial society makes knowledge accessible to the layman because knowledge and information technologies would diffuse into society and break up Grand Narratives of centralized structures and groups. Lyotard denotes these changing circumstances as postmodern condition or postmodern society.

Radovan Richta coined the term technological evolution, a theory about society’s replacement of physical labour with mental labour.

Richta (1977) argues that society has been transformed into a scientific civilization based on services, education, and creative activities. This transformation would be the result of a scientific-technological transformation based on technological progress and the increasing importance of computer technology. Science and technology would become immediate forces of production.

Nico Stehr (1994, 2002a, b) says that in the knowledge society a majority of jobs involves working with knowledge. “Contemporary society may be described as a knowledge society based on the extensive penetration of all its spheres of life and institutions by scientific and technological knowledge” (Stehr 2002b: 18).

For Stehr knowledge is a capacity for social action. Science would become an immediate productive force, knowledge would no longer be primarily embodied in machines, but already appropriated nature that represents knowledge would be rearranged according to certain designs and programs (Ibid.: 41-46). For Stehr the economy of a knowledge society is largely driven not by material inputs, but by symbolic or knowledge-based inputs (Ibid.: 67), there would be a large number of professions that involve working with knowledge, and a declining number of jobs that demand low cognitive skills as well as in manufacturing (Stehr 2002a).

Also Alvin Toffler argues that knowledge is the central resource in the economy of the information society: “In a Third Wave economy, the central resource – a single word broadly encompassing data, information, images, symbols, culture, ideology, and values – is actionable knowledge“ (Dyson/Gilder/Keyworth/Toffler 1994).

Source :


Europe’s Information Society

SUSAN CRAWFORD,The Origin and Development of a Concept: The Information Society*