PhD Pohle
UNESCO's policy discourse on the Information Society
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This PhD analyses the position of UNESCO in the global communication politics since the emergence of digital information and communication technologies. Assessing UNESCO’s activities in the field of communication and the diplomatic context of the last decades, the research focuses on the organisation’s policy discourse concerning the possibilities and risks brought by digital technology and the question of access to information in the ‘digital age’. It further evaluates how this discourse was influenced by the theoretical and political debates on the ‘Information Society’ and considers the impact of epistemic communities on the policymaking process. The method of argumentative policy analysis is used for the assessment of relevant UNESCO policy documents. Expert interviews with internal and external actors of UNESCO are undertaken in order to identify individual positions and thinking as epistemic communities. Grounded on an appraisal of the different ‘Information Society’ theories and the policy discourses of similar institutions, the aim of the research is to assess UNESCO’s position not only as an actor in communication politics, but also as an instigator of an alternative ‘Information Society’ concept stressing social, educational and cultural dimensions.