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Information centres : an essay in power Gilbert, David Edmund

Abstract

The dual concepts of 'power' and 'equality' are central to discussions of social policy In the Western World. The distribution of knowledge for the common good, with its attendant uses, is one of the controlling factors in both the conceptualisation and operation of 'power’. This essay begins with a discussion of two theories concerning the relationship of man with society, and follows with two different 'ideals' of human relationships which writers in Britain tend to support. These 'Ideals1 are transferrable to the Canadian context as Is partially illustrated by the brief discussion of 'the cultural paradigm'. The paradigm is of importance to the remainder of the essay since the experience of British, United States and Canadian Information Centres seems to be influenced by society's concept of 'human well-being'. Thus the pattern of development of Information Centres is seen in the totality of 'social policy' rather than as one part in isolation. It is emphasised that the essay Is a personal statement of the writer, all omissions and generalisations are 'his; and hence it is not to be considered as a definitive, total statement on the subject.

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