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Abstract

Amid social and political upheavals and economic uncertainties and the increasingly pivotal role of information and communications technologies in society, the information systems (IS) field is perfectly positioned to address the social and technical implications stemming from these developments. One can find such discussions in historical and philosophical papers that have always attracted IS researchers’ attention but that have not received a formal channel to grow and thrive. The history and philosophy department of the Communications of the Association for Information Systems provides such a channel. By providing an avenue to analyze historic events and past successes and failures and to encourage new philosophical thinking for the present and the future, the history and philosophy department seeks to achieve what Peter Keen (1991, p. 27) once prognosticated: for the IS field to be at the “forefront of intellectual debate and investigation about the application of IT across every aspect of…society”. With this lofty goal in mind and to encourage a shift towards writing more historical and philosophical research, I describe these two intricately related genres of research that are distinct from the hypothetico-deductive research that crowds the pages of our journals but that perhaps hold the most potential for moving the IS field towards becoming an intellectually and socially influential discipline.

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