Social informatics as a concept: Widening the discourse

Zdenek Smutny
  • Journal of Information Science, July 2016, SAGE Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1177/0165551515608731

What are the different concepts of social informatics and what are their methodological foundations?

What is it about?

This article introduces and further discusses the origin, historical development and basic methodological grounding of American, Russian, British, Norwegian, Slovenian, German and Japanese approach, which were historically named or classified as social informatics.

Why is it important?

All the approaches to social informatics are discussed and their differences as well as their similarities are pointed out.


Zdenek Smutny (Author)
University of Economics, Prague

This contribution examines the different concepts known as social informatics that have historically been separate. The paradigm that is preferred worldwide (based on Kling) is well described and often promoted, with a strong base both in the USA and Europe. This article, however, introduces lesser-known paradigms. Two paradigms originated in the era of the USSR and have so far been employed chiefly in post-Soviet countries, including Russia. These paradigms have been neglected in English-written scientific literature, mainly because of the limited number of articles available in English. Other lesser-known paradigms are German and Japanese concepts of social informatics.

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