Recent years have witnessed a growing awareness of the extent to which ICT permeates all our society and economy, and of the wide-reaching implications this has on the structures and dynamics of the European society.

But in contrast to the wild speculation which was typical of the late 1990s environment before the bust of the so-called ‘Internet bubble’, researchers have since the turn of the decade made much progress in establishing solid evidence of the often highly complex ways in which the take-up and use of ICT has initiated, enabled or fostered process of social change. While many leading thinkers painted either utopian or dystopian scenarios in the 1980s and 1990s, what is developing now is a wellfounded understanding of the real social impacts of ICT in Europe.

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