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Title: Geography of the Information Society
Author: Ferreira, Jorge
Keywords: Information
Information Society
Geography of Information Society
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: IGI Global
Series/Report no.: Vol. II;
Abstract: All every day activities take place in space. And it is upon this that all information and knowledge revolve. The latter are the key elements in the organisation of territories. Their creation, use and distribution should therefore occur in a balanced way throughout the whole territory in order to allow all individuals to participate in an egalitarian society, in which the flow of knowledge can take precedence over the flow of interests. The information society depends, to a large extent, on the technological capacity to disseminate information and, consequently, the knowledge throughout territory, thereby creating conditions which allow a more balanced development, from the both the social and economic points of view thus avoiding the existence of info-exclusion territories. Internet should therefore be considered more than a mere technology, given that its importance goes well beyond the frontiers of culture and society. It is already a part of daily life and of the new forms of thinking and transmitting information, thus making it a basic necessity essential, for a full socio-economic development. Its role as a platform of creation and distribution of content is regarded as an indispensable element for education in today’s society, since it makes information a much more easily acquired benefit.”…in the same way that the new technologies of generation and distribution of energy allowed factories and large companies to establish themselves as the organisational bases of industrial society, so the internet today constitutes the technological base of the organisational form that characterises the Information Era: the network” (CASTELLS, 2004:15). The changes taking place today in regional and urban structures are increasingly more evident due to a combination of factors such as faster means of transport, more efficient telecommunications and other cheaper and more advanced technologies of information and knowledge. Although their impact on society is obvious, society itself also has a strong influence on the evolution of these technologies. And although physical distance has lost much of the responsibility it had towards explaining particular phenomena of the economy and of society, other aspects such as telecommunications, new forms of mobility, the networks of innovation, the internet, cyberspace, etc., have become more important, and are the subject of study and profound analysis. The science of geographical information, allows, in a much more rigorous way, the analysis of problems thus integrating in a much more balanced way, the concepts of place, of space and of time. Among the traditional disciplines that have already found their place in this process of research and analysis, we can give special attention to a geography of new spaces, which, while not being a geography of ‘innovation’, nor of the ‘Internet’, nor even ‘virtual’, which can be defined as one of the ‘Information Society’, encompassing not only the technological aspects but also including a socio-economic approach. According to the last European statistical data, Portugal shows a deficit in terms of information and knowledge dissemination among its European partners. Some of the causes are very well identified - low levels of scholarship, weak investments on innovation and R&D (both private and public sector) - but others seem to be hidden behind socio-economical and technological factors. So, the justification of Portugal as the case study appeared naturally, on a difficult quest to find the major causes to territorial asymmetries. The substantial amount of data needed for this work was very difficult to obtain and for the islands of Madeira and Azores was insufficient, so only Continental Portugal was considered for this study. In an effort to understand the various aspects of the Geography of the Information Society and bearing in mind the increasing generalised use of information technologies together with the range of technologies available for the dissemination of information, it is important to: (i) Reflect on the geography of the new socio-technological spaces. (ii) Evaluate the potential for the dissemination of information and knowledge through the selection of variables that allow us to determine the dynamic of a given territory or region; (iii) Define a Geography of the Information Society in Continental Portugal.
ISBN: 978-1-59904-885-7
Appears in Collections:FCSH: DGPR - Artigos em revista internacional com arbitragem científica

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