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Abstract

The authors review five paradigms from the discipline of community sociology (functionalism, evolution, conflict, interactionism, and exchange) to assess their potential utility for understanding everyday life information behavior and technology use. Their analysis considers the ways in which each paradigm defines the concepts of community, information, and technology. It also explores the insights offered by each paradigm regarding relationships between community and both information and technology. Accordingly, the authors highlight the ways in which existing information behavior and informatics scholarship draws from similar conceptual roots. Key insights drawn from this research, as well as remaining gaps and research questions, are examined. Additionally, they consider the limitations of each approach. The authors conclude by arguing for the value of a vigorous research program regarding information behavior and technology use in communities, particularly that which takes the community as the central unit of analysis. They consider key questions that could drive such a research program, as well as potentially fruitful conceptual and methodological approaches for this endeavor.