Trandall6’s Blog

Week 7: Castells, The Network Society

Posted on: April 28, 2009

Castells, M 2005, The Network Society: A Cross Cultural perspective, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham UK.


Hi guys this week I will be talking about the Castells reading. The author is addressing the labelling of today’s society as belonging to the “information age”, exploring the horizontal or vertical organisation of society and the effect that communication technologies are having on society.


The author argues that we now live in a network society meaning our social structure consists of people communicating with technology. These networks consist of nodes, the things communicating such as a computer, and flows, the information travelling between the nodes. Previously people lived in a society based on vertical top down communication due to technological limitations. For example getting a message to someone hundreds of kilometres away would have been done by a runner, therefore it would have been practically beneficial to organise from a higher positioned centre. However when more advanced communication technology exists horizontal, network communication is the most efficient way of organising society as the changing of nodes as little effect on the network as a whole. The existence of these technologies in today’s society has the effect of the decentralisation for power. I have even witnessed this in my life time with the declining popularity of broadcast media as a result of the creation of technologies such as YouTube. Moreover I believe this raises questions of political implications.


The author explains that these networks influence geographical area as it now is defined by its role in the network. An example of this would be an American call centre in India. However the author argues that a networked society would not lead to a “multicultural melting pot”, explaining that people that belong to a certain group use this as their sense of identity and fight to emphasise their uniqueness despite belonging to the same network as others. I feel that this has negative consequences, for example an immigrant may come to Australia to be better positioned in the network and find themselves being discriminated against.


The author presents the main thesis towards the end of the text, which is that the overall culture of a networked society should consist of protocols of communication between these different groups within the network, as throughout history people have benefitted from communication with others. Furthermore it is explained that when people occupy the same social space that can not communicate with each other negative events arise. While I feel that the author argued the thesis quite convincingly I do not completely agree with it. I tend to lean more towards the melting pot theory of a networked society. This is because by emphasising differences the author’s communication aspirations could be difficult to achieve. Overall the fact that we are moving a horizontal network type of organisation never occurred to me and it is something that I find exciting.


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  • trandall6: Thanks alot for that comment. I had never even considered the potental loss of data which could occur under such a model. Like you said, differnet per
  • indie69: Excellent part 3. You make some great points and bring up ideas that I hadn't thought of before. Different perspectives. The one thing I'd point o
  • indie69: Thanks for the comment on my blog. You've challenged some of my ideas, too. But really I just agree with you on the subscription model with the only r


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