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Computerization and Social Transformations

Rob Kling
Science, Technology, & Human Values
Vol. 16, No. 3 (Summer, 1991), pp. 342-367
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/689919
Page Count: 26
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Computerization and Social Transformations
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Abstract

This article examines the relationship between the use of computer-based systems and transformations in parts of the social order. Answers to this question rest heavily on the way computer-based systems are consumed -not just produced or disseminated. The discourse about computerization advanced in many professional magazines and the mass media is saturated with talk about "revolution," and yet substantial social changes are often difficult to identify in carefully designed empirical studies. The article examines qualitative case studies of computerization in welfare agencies, urban planning, accounting, marketing, and manufacturing to examine the ways that computerization alters social life in varied ways: sometimes restructuring relationships and in other cases reinforcing existing social relationships. The article also examines some of the theoretical issues in studies of computerization, such as drawing boundaries. It concludes with some observations about the sociology of computer science as an academic discipline.

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