This Special Issue places in the foreground issues associated with the design and use of digital technologies and information systems in civil society. The idea for a Special Issue of Interacting with Computers emerged from two workshops held during 2003: ‘Can there be a social movement informatics?’, Leeds Metropolitan University in May and ‘Design for Civil Society’ at HCI 2003 (Dearden and Walker, 2003) in Bath. Together these workshops provided an initial opportunity for researchers and practitioners to come together to explore issues associated with civil society and social movement use of information and communications technologies (ICT).

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We now know that the ways in which technologies are designed, implemented and used are intimately related to context (e.g. Button and Harper, 1993; Orlikowski, 1992;,Kyng and Mathiassen, 1997; McCarthy et al., 1997; Brown and Duguid, 2000; Kling, 2000). Much research...

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