It is widely accepted that IT is a key factor in the major social transformations taking place in the late twentieth century, but the nature of this link is the subject of dispute, and remains poorly understood. Better theory is needed to increase our understanding in this area, and in this paper, we offer a contribution. Drawing from the work of the sociologist Anthony Giddens, a conceptual scheme is developed which links the globalizing tendencies of modern society to associated transformations at the level of the individual. IT is deeply implicated in these changes, and the role of IT in social transformation is illustrated in the paper using empirical work on the transforming potential of geographical information systems for forest management in India. We emphasize the importance of the links between IT and social transformation, and conclude with a discussion of the broader applicability and limitations of the conceptual scheme.