U036946.pdf (6.07 MB)
Imagining the "information society": The case of Taiwan.
thesisposted on 2015-11-19, 08:55 authored by Chien-san. Fang
Centring on information technology (IT), this thesis examines two broad but related areas of interests: ideological formations and material movements. Starting from a historical survey it contrasts two visions of 'information society' (IS), and then goes on to depict the social background from which these visions arise. It is found that since the 1960s the capitalist world system has been undergoing crisis, and it becomes especially obvious in the 1980s that IT has been playing a crucial role in restructuring capitalism. As such, the concept of IS and practical functions subsumed by IT have important implications for (semi-)peripheral countries . As one of the widely claimed economic 'miracles' Taiwan's recent developmental trajectory is particularly useful for realising how IT functions and how dominant ideas about 'IS' disseminate. Benefiting from selling IT, Taiwan's experience cannot be said to have constituted a successful story supporting the modernisation theory. Rather, the developmental process she has so far gone through fits the arguments of the world-system approach. Taiwan's quick rise to seize IT for expanding her economic base tells a very good example as how the international capital, the state, and the national capital cooperate and clash. In contrast, Taiwan's records of using IT for production, transmission or consumption are rather poor. This reflects her position in the world system in general, however, it is a necessary result considering that her economic structure is based on small business. On the side of ideological representations, this study confirms the dominant pattern of IT coverage in the popular media (newspapers). Though the newspapers have not yet produced a coherent articulation of different elements of the idea of 'IS', it relays uncritically the established (the government and the business) perspectives on IT and 'IS'. The protesting or suspicious opinions about them are therefore contained in marginal places like the environmental movements or expressed in science fictions.
Date of award1990-01-01
Author affiliationMedia and Communication
Awarding institutionUniversity of Leicester