[Air-l] An information society or a controlled society?

Eric GEORGE egeorge at uottawa.ca
Mon Jan 5 08:28:56 PST 2004

An information society or a controlled society?
Developments on the debate on computerization

Paris, June, 30, July, 1 and 2


The quarterly review Terminal and the CREIS association have been involved
for more than twenty five years in the debate on the social implications of
computerization. Indeed, from computerization and society to an information
society, the last twenty five years or so have been marked by a general and
accelerated spread of the different computer tools and their
interconnections. This debate needs to be extended and in part renewed.

The social representation of information and communication technologies has
changed. It no longer seems to be such a separate part of society. It has
stopped being the Orwellian instrument of oppression so strongly criticized
in the 80¹s. IBM imperialism has been forgotten, that of Microsoft does not
scare many and intrusive files have become part of everyday life through
the marketing talent of marketing and business people. Informatic has been
Œdomesticated¹, so they say. The multimedia interfaces of the PC have lost
the harshness of the terminals of yesteryear and surfing on the Internet
has become child¹s play, while at the same time, hardware and software
continue to force new organisational norms on the worker and on the
citizen. Thus, in the age of electronic commerce and the Vitale health
card, there is an ever-general consent to reveal bits and pieces about
oneself in exchange for a service. Since September 11, public security
issues legitimise more and more coercive files of the population, which
obviously goes against any idea of privacy but which is considered socially

What is more, as in the history of the different network technologies
(railways, electricity, water, telephone, Š) the Information and
Communication Technologies have been called upon to help a society where
social and technical progress have never been more out of touch with each
other. With the spread of the Internet to the general public since 1993,
the equality myth is now being served up to us again. Thus, bringing a
solution to the Œdigital divide¹, which threatens the third and fourth
world together, would lead to settling the problems that face society such
as, among others, social inequality, alienating work forms, indiscriminate
access to culture and narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor, the
North/South imbalance or yet again the flaws of democracy. However, over
and above the chatter, new forms of social contestation of an international
nature are emerging such as the anti-globalisation movement or even more
specifically the free software movement.

So, it is necessary for all those who are there to make sure that public
and private liberties are respected as much as for those who analyse more
widely the social insertion process of the ICT to compare their questioning
to the means of production, diffusion and appropriation of informatics.
Such is the aim of the 13th symposium of the CREIS, in partnership with
Terminal review: examine how the critical issues addressing the
computerization of society these last twenty five years have altered or
still have to alter. When and how did we go from computer science and
society to an information society, what does this drift mean from a
political, economic or social point of view and why, from the G8 to the
televised news, is so much to be said about the information society?

An analysis rooted in recent history would seem to shed light on the
different areas in question. The expected contributions, through the issues
of computerization, will tackle:

- The new work dimension (flexibility, control, Š)
- The internationalisation and financing of the economy
- The development of public services (education, health, culture,Š)
- Public and private liberties and social control
- The citizen¹s new use of democracy
- Public policy of expending the information society
- North/South relations


Pierre Berger, ASTI, France
Jacques Berleur, FUNDP, Namur, Belgique
Mariella Berra, CREIS, Università di Torino, Italie
Dominique Desbois, TERMINAL, Paris, France
Michèle Descolonges, Sociologue, France
Eric George, CREIS, GRICIS, Université d¹Ottawa, Canada
Thomas Lamarche, TERMINAL, Université Lille 3, France
Yves Lasfargue, OBERGO, France
Meryem Marzouki, Lip6/PolyTIC-CNRS, IRIS, Paris, France
Armin Murmann, CREIS, IES, Genève, Suisse
Daniel Naulleau, CREIS, Université P&M Curie, Paris, France
Robert Panico, CREIS, IUT de Valence, France
Chantal Richard, CREIS, Université Paris-Nord, France
Jacques Vétois, TERMINAL, France


Maurice Liscouet, CREIS, IUT de Nantes, France
Daniel Naulleau, CREIS, Université P&M Curie, Paris, France
Robert Panico, CREIS, IUT de Valence, France
Chantal Richard, CREIS, Université Paris-Nord, France
Jacques Vétois, TERMINAL, France
Geneviève Vidal, CREIS, Université Paris-Nord, France


Papers will be selected on the basis of 3 or 4 pages abstracts.
Communications will be in French or in English (format RTF, Times New
Roman, 12). They will be sent to electronic colloquium secretariat
(le.creis at wanadoo.fr), before January 20th, 2004

Colloque CREIS ­TERMINAL 2004
Département d¹Informatique Maison de la pédagogie
Université Paris VI
4 Place Jussieu
F 75252 Paris Cedex France

Tel /Fax: + 33 1 44 27 71 13
E-mail : colloque at creis.sgdg.org

I wish to receive the
colloquium program


Colloquium languages : French and English

CREIS - Centre de coordination pour la Recherche et l¹Enseignement en
Informatique et Société: http://www.creis.sgdg.org
Revue Terminal: http://www.terminal.sgdg.org


Département de Communication/Department of Communication
Université d'Ottawa/University of Ottawa
Chercheur, Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire sur
la communication, l'information et la société (GRICIS)

More information about the Air-l mailing list