Informed Consent: Information Production and Ideology

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Scarecrow Press, 2003 - Political Science - 171 pages
How many Americans are homeless? Although taking a census may sound simple, ensuring an accurate count is the least of its problems. Census takers in all walks of life exercise great care in determining what information is to be collected, how it is to be recorded, and how the findings are ultimately to be presented. But who decides which evaluation frameworks and indicators are to be used? Do all concerned-census takers and respondents view those indicators in the same manner? Do institutional and social imperatives outweigh individual bias and perspective? And if so, is that really what we want? Informed Consent analyzes the interplay between ideology and information. Through extensive research on how information about the homeless is generated and interpreted, Lisa Schiff offers both hard evidence and a convincing argument for questioning "how service providers create forms and clients complete them, how advocates administer surveys and public agencies compile counts." At the same time, she explores the day-to-day implications of her findings by demonstrating how competing understandings affect prevailing ideologies, which in turn affect our attempts at social change.
 

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Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
DEFINITIONS AND PREMISES
7
INFORMATION PRODUCTION IN CONTEXT
28
IDEOLOGY THE DOMINATING CONCEPTIONS OF HOMELESSNESS
58
MECHANISMS CONNECTING IDEOLOGY AND INFORMATION PRODUCTION
88
CONCLUSION
108
Interview Subjects
117
Key Elements of the Field of Homelessness
119
History of Homelessness in San Francisco
135
Research Method
143
Interview Questions
153
Transcription Conventions
155
BIBLIOGRAPHY
157
INDEX
165
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
171
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

\Lisa Schiff is currently an Information Engineer at Interwoven, Inc. She has studied social aspects of information in many disparate areas, from information access to information system evaluation and design. She has also been involved in projects promoting the creation, sharing and use of information, especially in the realm of community education.

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