Posts Tagged ‘castells’
This volume explores the patterns and dynamics of the network society in its cultural and institutional diversity. By network society, we refer to the social structure that results from the interaction between social organization, social change, and a technological paradigm constituted around digital information and communication technologies. We start from a rejection of technological determinism, as technology cannot be considered independently of its social context. But we also emphasize the importance of technology as material culture by focusing on the specific social processes related to the emergence of this new technological paradigm. Thus, while several chapters focus on the social uses of the Internet, this is not a study of the Internet. Instead, observa- tion of the practices of the Internet is our entry point to understand the diffu- sion of networking as an organizational form and to examine the complex interaction between technology and society in our world. Using an historical parallel, the equivalent would be to study the diffusion and uses of the electri- cal engine and the electric grid to understand the development of industrial society.
The Interaction between Information and Communication Technologies and the Network Society – a process of historical change
Societies evolve and are transformed through a complex interaction of cultural, economic, political, and technological factors. In any given society, the available range of technological processes becomes organised into technological paradigms around a nucleus that enhances the performance of each individual one. Informationalism is the technological paradigm that currently provides the basis for a new type of social structure known as the network society. This social structure consists of information networks that are driven by information technologies and has become the dominant form of social organisation at the present time. Informational development is the result of both cultural and technological innovation and the process of innovation itself essentially depends on the existence of free, high quality university and research institutions within the context of a free society. Under informationalism, freedom, science, and power all come together and are interrelated in a “virtuous circle”
This article presents a set of grounded hypotheses on the interplay between communication and power relationships in the technological context that characterizes the network society. Based on a selected body of communication literature, and of a number of case studies and examples, it argues that the media have become the social space where power is decided. It shows the direct link between politics, media politics, the politics of scandal, and the crisis of political legitimacy in a global perspective. It also puts forward the notion that the development of interactive, horizontal networks of communication has induced the rise of a new form of communication, mass self-communication, over the Internet and wireless communication networks. Under these conditions, insurgent politics and social movements are able to intervene more decisively in the new communication space. However, corporate media and mainstream politics have also invested in this new communication space. As a result of these processes, mass media and horizontal communication networks are converging. The net outcome of this evolution is a historical shift of the public sphere from the institutional realm to the new communication space.
The twenty-first century of the Common Era did not necessarily have to usher in a new society. But it did. People around the world feel the winds of multidimensional social change without truly understanding it, let alone feeling a grasp upon the process of change. Thus the challenge to sociology, as the science of study of society. More than ever society needs sociology, but not just any kind of sociology. The sociology that people need is not a normative meta-discipline instructing them, from the authoritative towers of academia, about what is to be done. It is even less a pseudo~sociology made up of empty word games and intellectual narcissism, expressed in terms deliberately incomprehensible for anyone without access to a French-Greek dictionary.
In State, Power, Socialism, Nicos Poulantzas conceptualized a state that materializes and concentrates power and displaces the class struggle from the economic to the political arena. In the past twenty years, much has changed. We argue that economic relations have been transformed by economic globalization, work reorganization, and the compression of space, time, and knowledge transmission through an information and communications revolution. Knowledge is far more central to production, and the locus of the relation between power and knowledge has moved out of the nation state that was so fundamental to Poulantzas’ analysis.