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Related: information age - postmodernity - society - industrial revolution
A post-industrial society is a proposed name for an economy that has undergone a specific series of changes in structure after a process of industrialization.
Such societies are often marked by:
- A rapid increase in the size of the service sector, as opposed to manufacturing,
- An increase in the amount of information technology, often leading to an "information age". Information, knowledge and creativity are the new raw materials of such an economy. The concept of the informational revolution is relevant.
Post-industrial society has often been a term of criticism, with many seeking to restore industrial development. Increasingly, however, citizens are seeing abandoned old factories as sites for new housing, shopping, recreational, and commercial development opportunities. This however does not imply that there has been a decrease in manufactured goods, as many factories now use machines instead of a human workforce.
The concept of the post-industrial society is linked with the work of Daniel Bell. Here are some of his observations from the 1970s:
- A post-industrial society is one in which the majority of those employed are not involved in the production of tangible goods .
- What is characteristic of post-industrial society is not just the shift from property or political criteria to knowledge as the base of power, but the character of knowledge itself .
However, Bell used Colin Clark's three-sector model, which did not distinguish between, say, retailing, personal care services and telecoms or information technology. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-industrial_society [Dec 2005]
Late modernity (or liquid modernity) is a term for the concept that some present highly developed societies are continuing developments of modernity.
A number of social theorists (Beck 1992, Giddens 1991, Lash 1990) critique the idea that some contemporary societies have moved into a new stage of development or postmodernity. On technological and social changes since the 1960s, the concept of "late modernity" proposes that contemporary societies are a clear continuation of modern institutional transitions and cultural developments.
Anthony Giddens doesn't dispute that important changes have occured, but he says that we haven't really gone beyond modernity. It's just a developed, radicalized, 'late' modernity - but still modernity, not postmodernity.
Zygmunt Bauman who introduced the concept of liquid modernity wrote that its characteristics are the privatisation of ambivalence and increasing feelings of uncertainity. It is a kind of chaotic continuation of modernity. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_modernity [Feb 2006]
The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (1976) - Daniel Bell
The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in Social Forecasting (1976) - Daniel Bell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Bell's prophetic 1976 forecast of the Information Age and how it would radically alter the social structure. With a new introduction by Bell.
In 1976, when Daniel Bell first published The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, he predicted a vastly different world-one that would rely upon an economics of information, as opposed to the economics of goods that had existed up to then. Bell argued that the new society would not displace the old one but rather overlay it in profound ways, much as industrialization continues to coexist with the agrarian sectors of our society.
In Bell's prescient vision, the post-industrial society would include the birth and growth of a knowledge class, a change from goods to services, and changes in the role of women. All of these would be based upon an increasing dependence on science as a means of innovation; as a means of technical and social change.
The Coming of Post-Industrial Society remains an important book for a whole new generation of politicians, economists, intellectuals, and students.
About the Author
Daniel Bell is the author of several books, including The End of Ideology and The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, which were listed among "The 100 Most Influential Books Since the War" by the Times Literary Supplement. He is a scholar-in-residence at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
See also: post-industrial - mass society - sociology - culture theory
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