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Book Title: The Rise of the Network Society: The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Volume I|
Date of issue: August 15th 2000
ISBN 13: 9780631221401
The author of the book: Manuel Castells
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 14.83 MB
Read full description of the books The Rise of the Network Society: The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Volume I:The Rise of the Network Society is the first part of a three-volume work on sociology. It was first published in the late 1990s, and the second edition was published in 2010. Within those past twenty years, these books have become some of the most cited in modern sociology and communications theory.
Castells attempts to define and analyze the radical changes within society since 1970. What does he include as part of this radical change? This includes, but is not limited to redefinition of the perceptions of time and space, increased adherence to the idea of a universal connective identity, and its conflict with particular anti-pluralist beliefs - political extremism and religious fundamentalism. He also focuses on the structural economic changes of the past thirty years, such as new modes of production, and the increased power of 'capital' against 'labor'.
All of these things are caused by the disruptive power of technology on social structures - mainly, the rapid development of information technology which began in the 1970s in the United States.
The first two chapters are economic boilerplate about the increase in global trade flows in the last half of the 20th century. productivity growth - he claims that this derives from activity which past macroeconomic methods are unable to quantify. He characterizes the new post-industrial economic structures as 'informational' - those which find ways to acquire data using new technologies, or make use of this new data. The new economy is also characterized by increased integration of the international financial sector - the downside of this is seen in the continuing financial crises from 2007-8 onward.
Chapter three analyzes the political economy of the 'network society', and the organizational structures which made this economy possible. This extends to both corporate and governmental structures. Corporations rely more on external networks of suppliers and move towards vertically integrated supply chains. For governments, direct intervention in not only infrastructure, but economic policy has also become a trademark of those economies which have best adapted to the informational revolution. Here, he makes a comparison between the managerial structures of China, South Korea, and Japan.
Chapter four goes over the service economy, and the new relationships between capital and labor. The further connection between international markets has increased the mobility and reach of 'capital', and thus the location of jobs - although the majority of workers are not yet quite so mobile. Although automation has not yet advanced to the point where human labor becomes unprofitable, many workers have seen their employment move away from traditional patterns and more towards part-time employment. However, those workers who are best suited to a 'knowledge economy' with fluid analytic skills, familiarity with technology, etc., will find employment anywhere they choose.
Chapter five focuses on the effects of new forms of communications media on culture. Here he summarizes his views into an idea called 'real virtuality', and the effective transmission of human experiences from one person to another - whatever that means.
The last two chapters discuss how the new media alter our perceptions of time and space itself. This is some vague stuff, with space changing around networks of cities and hubs. Time also changes with the increased speed of capital and information flows, and each millisecond becomes more important in certain fields. There's also talk about changing sleep schedules, as some try to stay connected to the world as often as they can.
Now this is an extremely truncated version of a part of Castells' argument. Parts of it are well-constructed, especially the part on technology's impact on economic structures. I had also heard complaints about Castell's uniquely bad prose style, but it seems decent in this volume. Maybe they're referring to another one in the trilogy. However, the parts on time and space lack coherent definitions and are so vague that it is easy to misinterpret them. Still, those parts which are good are brilliant, and it's easy to see why Castells has engendered so much attention. The rest of his works go on more interesting roads, but I'm still skeptical about whether to approach them.
Read information about the authorCastells is a sociologist especially associated with information society and communication research.
The 2000–09 research survey of the Social Sciences Citation Index ranks him as the world’s fifth most-cited social science scholar, and the foremost-cited communication scholar.
A student radical, he fled from Spain to Paris in the early 1960s to escape from Franco´s fascist regime. In France he quickly established a reputation as a seminal thinker with his path breaking book "The urban question: a Marxist approach" (1972).
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