Two societies: duality contradictions and integration: a progress report on South Africa

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International Information and Library Review

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Taylor & Francis


University of Cape Town

This paper examines the extent to which the South African Library and Information Science (LIS) agenda maps to the national agenda for the reconstruction and development of the country, which is geared to the elimination of poverty and inequality. The nation has been described as comprising two societies: the one modern and well developed, the other characterised by masses of people living in dire poverty. The mandate of LIS in South Africa includes supporting and stimulating the technological and information development of all communities and providing effective LIS education to meet this goal. The government has embraced the concept of the Information Society, emphasising the link between economic growth and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and has pointed to the need for information literacy education. We present a critique of the fit between LIS policies and practices (including the curriculum) and the needs of an emerging democracy and its development goals, challenged by the duality of globalisation and marginalisation.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Information and Library Review on 2 December 2013, available online: