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Policy approaches to developing the region in the Information Age: evidence from Ireland and Europe

Patrick Collins


This paper interrogates the use and application of the term 'Information Society' in policy-making circles and beyond. It analyses how the concept has been employed both in Brussels and Dublin as a catchall term in relation to social and economic transformations bought about by new technologies. It traces the co-evolution of theory and policy making from its origins in industry to its more recent application in the social sphere. The European Commission's Regional Information Society Initiative was seen as a significant shift in EU policy of enabling regions to adapt to the information age. The institutional approach to developing the region from the 'bottom-up' came from 'Brusselsdown' and ran in conjunction with other regional and national programmes. This approach is then contrasted with the Irish development model which is characterised by the presence of large foreign-owned technology operations and what can best be described as a neoliberal-inspired approach to development in the information age.

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