Research Output
Daniel Bell's theory of the information society.
  Daniel Bell is recognised to be the foremost writer on the information society. The paper expounds his writings in detail, showing their development from the 1960s to the 1990s. It is argued that his position has always contained three distinguishable strands or elements: one relating to the post-industrial information workforce, a second dealing with information flows (particularly scientific knowledge), and a third concerning computers and the information revolution. Bell’s information society thesis is best understood as a synthesis of these elements. His arguments are also evaluated. It is suggested that the information economy element is not satisfactorily supported by the evidence cited and that his emphasis on theoretical knowledge may also be excessive. As regards Bell’s account of information technology, his position shifted from a technocratic preoccupation with mainframes to an uncritical enthusiasm for the micro-computer. In spite of such shortcomings, Bell’s synthetic information society thesis is the strongest available

  • Type:

    Book Chapter

  • Date:

    01 January 2010

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher


  • Library of Congress:

    HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    303 Social processes


Duff, A. (2009). Daniel Bell's theory of the information society. In B. Smart (Ed.), Post-Industrial Society, 201-232. Sage



Daniel Bell; information society; post-industrial information workforce; information flows; computers;

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