Developing the region in the information age : information society technologies in Ireland and Europe
This thesis aims to contribute to a better understanding of regional development in the 21st century by looking at the effects of policy and the reality behind adapting to the information age. This work investigates four broad themes, the first of which takes a theoretical standpoint that lies at the interface between institutional and neo-classical approaches to development. These approaches are compared in reality through the different development policies chosen by the European Commission and the Irish Government. I use the Regional Information Society Initiative (RISI) as a vehicle of analysis to gauge the 'institutional turn' in EU policy making. This involves a comparison with policies in Ireland which have long favoured a more neo-liberal approach. The second pillar of my work provides empirical evidence, contrary to technological determinists, that physical space and infrastructure is as, if not more, important in the information age as it was prior to it. This is closely related to the third theme which the national statistics of Ireland's Celtic-cyber-tiger and shows that Ireland after a period of rapid development is more divided socially and spatially than ever before. My final theme attempts to better define development in the information age by unearthing more concrete definitions for both 'information society' and 'information economy' and identifying the correct policies necessary for both.