Abstract - The Information Society 10(3)

Reading "all about" computerization: How genre conventions shape nonfiction social analysis

Rob Kling

The unstated, but critical, social assumptions that underlie social analyses ofcomputerization are examined. Many articles and books in the literature are written within the conventions of specific genres. The conventions of these genres limit the kinds of ideas that authors can explore and communicate effectively. Five genres are examined: technological utopianism, technological antiutopianism, social realism, social theory, and analytical reduction. There will be a large market for social analyses of computerization in the 1990s. Technological utopian analyses will most likely dominate the popular and professional discourse. The empirically oriented accounts of social realism, social theory, and analytical reduction are will likely be less common a nd less commonly seen and read by computer professionals and policy makers. Even though they are more scientific, these genres do not seem to appeal to many scientists and engineers.

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