Global network society thesis

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Van Dijk does not go that far; for him these units still are individuals, groups, organizations and communities, though they may increasingly be linked by networks. The network society goes further than the information society that is often proclaimed. Castells argues that it is not purely the technology that defines modern societies, but also cultural, economic and political factors that make up the network society.

Influences such as religion, cultural upbringing, political organizations, and social status all shape the network society. Societies are shaped by these factors in many ways. These influences can either raise or hinder these societies. For van Dijk, information forms the substance of contemporary society, while networks shape the organizational forms and infra structures of this society. The space of flows plays a central role in Castells' vision of the network society. It is a network of communications, defined by hubs where these networks crisscross.

Castells puts great importance on the networks and argues that the real power is to be found within the networks rather than confined in global cities. This contrasts with other theorists who rank cities hierarchically. Van Dijk has defined the idea "network society" as a form of society increasingly organizing its relationships in media networks gradually replacing or complementing the social networks of face-to-face communication. Personal and social-network communication is supported by digital technology. This means that social and media networks are shaping the prime mode of organization and most important structures of modern society.

Van Dijk's The Network Society describes what the network society is and what it might be like in the future. The first conclusion of this book is that modern society is in a process of becoming a network society. This means that on the internet interpersonal, organizational, and mass communication come together. People become linked to one another and have access to information and communication with one another constantly.

It asserts that paper means of communication will become out of date, with newspapers and letters becoming ancient forms for spreading information. New media is the concept that new methods of communicating in the digital world allow smaller groups of people to congregate online and share, sell and swap goods and information.

It also allows more people to have a voice in their community and in the world in general.

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The most important structural characteristic of new media is the integration of telecommunications technologies. The second structural new media characteristic of the current communications revolution is the rise of interactive media. Interactivity is a sequence of action and reaction. The downloaded link or the supply side of web sites, interactive television and computer programs is much wider that the uplink or retrieval made by their users. The third, technical, characteristic of new media is digital code. The network society is a social structure based on networks operated by information and communication technologies based on microelectronics and digital computer networks that generate, process and distribute information via the nodes of the networks.

The network society can be defined as a social formation with an infrastructure of social and media networks enabling its prime mode of organization at all levels individual, group, organizational and societal. Increasingly, these networks link all units or parts of this formation. In western societies, the individual linked by networks is becoming the basic unit of the network society.

The two network societies: Economy and Society: Vol 28, No 4

In eastern societies, this might still be the group family, community, work team linked by networks. In the contemporary process of individualisation, the basic unit of the network society has become the individual who is linked by networks. This is caused by simultaneous scale extension nationalisation and internationalisation and scale reduction smaller living and working environments [13] Other kinds of communities arise.

Daily living and working environments are getting smaller and more heterogenous, while the range of the division of labour, interpersonal communications and mass media extends. So, the scale of the network society is both extended and reduced as compared to the mass society. The organization of its components individuals, groups, organizations is no longer tied to particular times and places.

Aided by information and communication technology, these coordinates of existence can be transcended to create virtual times and places and to simultaneously act, perceive and think in global and local terms. A network can be defined as a collection of links between elements of a unit. The elements are called nodes, units are often called systems.

The smallest number of elements is three and the smallest number of links is two. A single link of two elements is called relationship. Networks are mode of organization of complex systems in nature and society. They are relatively complicated ways of organizing matter and living systems.

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The characteristic of units and elements, among them human individuals, and the way they are made up, are not the focus of attention. So, networks occur both in complicated matter and in living systems at all levels. Networks are selective according to their specific programs, because they can simultaneously communicate and incommunicate, the network society diffuses in the entire world, but does not include all people. In fact, in this early 21st century, it excludes most of humankind, although all of humankind is affected by its logic and by the power relationships that interact in the global networks of social organization.

Networks are not new. What is new is the microelectronics-based, networking technologies that provide new capabilities to an old form of social organization: networks. Networks throughout history had a major problem vis-a-vis other forms of social organization.

The Network Society

Thus, in the historical record, networks were the domains of the private life. Digital networking technologies enable networks to overcome their historical limits.

The Impact of the Internet on Society: A Global Perspective

They can, at the same time, be flexible and adaptive thanks to their capacity to decentralize performance along a network of autonomous components, while still being able to coordinate all this decentralized activity on a shared purpose of decision making. Networks are not determined by the industrial technologies but unthinkable without these technologies. In the early years of the 21st century, the network society is not the emerging social structure of the Information Age: it already configures the nucleus of our societies.

There is an explosion of horizontal networks of communication, quite independent from media business and governments, that allows the emergence of what can be called self-directed mass communication. It is mass communication because it is diffused throughout the Internet, so it potentially reaches the whole planet.

It is self-directed because it is often initiated by individuals or groups by themselves bypassing the media system.


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  • Introduction.

The explosion of blogs, vlogs, podding, streaming and other forms of interactive, computer to computer communication set up a new system of global, horizontal communication Networks that, for the first time in history, allow people to communicate with each other without going through the channels set up by the institutions of society for socialized communication.

The network society constitutes socialized communication beyond the mass media system that characterized the industrial society. But it does not represent the world of freedom sung by the libertarian ideology of Internet prophets. The network society is also manifested in the transformation of sociability. Yet, what we observe is not the fading away of face-to-face interaction or the increasing isolation of people in front of their computers. We know, from studies in different societies, that are most instances Internet users are more social have more friends and contacts and re more socially politically active than non users.

Moreover, the more they use the Internet, the more they also engage in face to-face interaction in all domains of their lives. Similarly, new forms of wireless communication, from mobile phone voice communication to SMSs, WiFi and WiMax, substantially increase sociability, particularly for the younger groups of the population. The network society is a hyper social society, not a society of isolation.

People, by and large, do not face their identity in the Internet, except for some teenagers experimenting with their lives. People fold the technology into their lives, link up virtual reality and real virtuality; they live in various technological forms of communication, articulating them as they need it. However, there is a major change in sociability, not a consequence of Internet or new communication technologies but a change that is fully supported by the logic embedded in the communication networks. This is the emergence of networked individualism, as social structure and historical evolution induce the emergence of individualism as the dominant culture of our societies, and the new communication Technologies perfectly fit into the mode of building sociability along self-selected communication networks, on or off depending on the needs and moods of each individual.

So, the network society is a society of networked individuals. Guardian thinking on cities has used central place theory to define 'urban systems' as constituting national urban hierarchies that can be 'regulated' Bourne But this is to incorporate leading national cities in this town-making process, with hinterlands becoming 'regional' and ultimately 'national' for the top city rather than strictly local. A key limitation of central place theory is that it treats cities as large towns in violation of our thesis V i.

I am not arguing that cities do not have local hinterlands but that they are not to be defined as simply the towns with the largest hinterlands. It is necessary to consider cities beyond this one particular relational theory.