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Computer technology, large-scale social integration, and the local community

Calhoun, Craig (1986) Computer technology, large-scale social integration, and the local community. Urban Affairs Review, 22 (2). pp. 329-349. ISSN 1078-0874

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Identification Number: 10.1177/004208168602200208


Computers and new communications technologies are widely expected to contribute to "decentralization" of society. While they may contribute to population deconcentration, however, they offer major increases in capacity for centralized control and coordination of social action. Computerization facilitates further development of large-scale bureaucratic organizations and, thus, at least potential economic and political centralization. The existence of such large-scale forms of social integration is not incompatible with face-to-face community life, as some dystopian visions have presumed. The issue is one of balance between indirect (organizationally and technologically mediated) relationships and direct primary and secondary ones. Renewed attention to variations in pattern and extent of social integration is needed as a complement to attempts to describe demographic and economic-functional changes in urban life. This calls for a conceptual framework that elucidates the roles of both direct and indirect relationships, and does not presuppose the exclusive virtue or eventual complete predominance of either. Such a framework is outlined briefly here and illustrated through discussion of possible social consequences of widespread telecommuting.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1986 SAGE Publications
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2012 15:07
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 23:29

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