Abstract - The Information Society 25(4)

Community Informatics and Information Systems: Can they be Better Connected?

Larry Stillman and Henry Linger

There is an ongoing debate in Community Informatics about the need for a stronger conceptual and theoretical base in order to give the field disciplinary cohesion and direction. By investigating the body of reflective thinking in Information Systems, researchers in Community Informatics can develop a more rigorous theoretical context for their work. Information Systems can be considered as a fragmented adhocracy that allows many intellectual communities to co-exist under its umbrella. A sympathetic reading of Information Systems offers an opportunity to Community Informatics, in spite of its different orientation, to address both social and technological issues in its theoretical framework. This framework would be based on a common language that expresses a shared ontology and epistemology with Information Systems. Such a framework then allows Community Informatics to fully address its information systems problem solving agenda as well as its community problem solving activities. Strengthening this dual agenda will allow Community Informatics to work effectively with both the technical and social design and implementation problems. But it also provides Community Informatics with an opportunity to contribute to a discourse within Information Systems in order to broaden the traditional Information Systems concept of organisation and social action.


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