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Lecture 3

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Queen's University
SOCY 284
Ryan Martin

September 25, 2013 Manuel Castells: why should we listen to him?  Castells’ work on The Information Age merits comparison with that of Weber and Marx  No other work available that interrelates a vast range of trends and processes in such a coherent manner  The most comprehensive analysis to date on the information age  Does it uncover the ‘logic’ of change in contemporary societies? What is a ‘network’?  There are some very different concepts of ‘network’  The network is this message  the network is a social structure and changes how everything works  For Castells, networks are social structures not just technical entities  Networks are not simply a theoretical concept, whose origins can be tracked back to some original thinker. Instead, the usage of the concept of network is in the first instance metaphorical  We cannot understand the relation of two people or a small group online without considering the broader social networks in which they are connected  What is important in the word network is the word work. You need work in order to make a connection  How your use of social media requires you to constantly be doing for things, and checking for things The Internet in Context: major historical transformation in the ‘information age’  Diffusion of the IT revolution; rise of genetics Spreads around the world  Collapse of the Soviet Union and other states  End of the Cold War Restructuring of Capitalism- Post-Fordism  Globalization and the rise of the Pacific economies  Surges in Nationalism and Nation-State crisis  Crisis of Democratic Politics  Rise of Feminism and Crisis of Patriarchy  Diffusion of Ecological Consciousness  Rise of Communalism; Religious Fundamentalism  Development of Global Criminal Economy Post-Industrialism  Refers to an economic transitions from a manufacturing economy based upon services  People still have things, they are just not made her anymore  The primary economic activity and source of wealth becomes the delivery of services and not the production of material good  No one wants to make things anymore, we never think of going into productions  Agricultural Society: agriculture is the primary activity, shaped by the agricultural revolution of scientific farming  Industrial Society: manufacturing of goods is the dominant activity, created by the industrial revolution  Post-industrial society- knowledge, services and information are the dominant ecomic activity  Work becomes the production and distributions of knowledge. Those who control information and knowledge, rather, hold power that the industrial means of production Information Society  The growth of the ‘information industries’ and their relative significance within societies: education, media and communication, information machines, information services, and research (Malchup 1962)  Where information becomes the measure of value  Where information becomes the primary commodity to be exchanged  Where the majority of work is conceptualized as ‘information work’  Where the manipulation of information (in design and manufacturing) becomes central to the creation of the product  Key Ideas: that there will be an unprecedented rise in leisure and a complete revolution in social organization stemming from computerization IT and Internet Diffusion  Internet users in 1995: 40 million  Internet users in 2013: 2.405 billion  2013: 80% penetration in developed countries 35% penetration globally  Wireless: fastest diffusing technology in communications history…16 million wireless phones subscriptions in 1991…5.9 billion in 2013…  Uneven development: higher rates of adoption on some of the poorer countries where communication is particularly valued Post-Fordism and Globalization  Economic changes since the 1970s are described as a transition from Fordist to Post-Fordist models of the economy (Harvey 1990)  Fordism: rationalization of labour, mass production in large factories, hierarchical management systems, mass of workers performing routine, repetitive and specialized tasks, regulation of the economy for stability, collective bargaining, mass consumer markets…  Huge intensification in organization because of factories  Crisis! Poor profit margins after the oil crisis, industrial and social unrest development of neo-liberal agenda (low tax, flexible accumulation)  Post-Fordism: smaller batch production, downsizing through contracting out, decentralization and multi-tasking workers  Key Ideas: the 1970s crisis of capitalism produced the multinational corporation, where networks of suppliers and subcontractors are outsourced and the corporate home in world cities does the marketing The Information Age: an age defined by information  We live in an information age How did this come about?  Conventional accounts:  Restructuring of Capitalism in response to 1970s oil crisis  Military superiority of US  Castells’ Account:  IT Revolution of the 1970s  Restructuring of Capitalism and collapse of Statism: competitions for ordinary types of work will become global. Because of this we have to be mobile and flexible and prepared to move around  New Social Movements: People’s identities are not so wrapped around their characteristics but around the environment and nature  These are autonomous processes, but have converged, creating three interrelated effects:  A New Social Structure: a network society  A New Economy: a global informational economy  A New Culture: a culture of real virtuality Society in the Infromation Age: the network society  The Network Society is the emergent dominant structure in informational capitalism:  The Logic of Networks: all-pervasive restructuring of societies; i.e. a ‘new social structure’  The dominant functions and processes of a society are now organized around networks  The effect of this is that economics, politics, society and culture are all reorganized around this ‘logic’  It thus becomes imperative to be ‘connected’, as the power of networks outweighs the specific interests of any one group The economy in the Information Age: a new global techno-economy A new mode of development: informationalism  Information is now the ‘raw material’: information is used to make information  Information technology is all-pervasive: the communication of information is central to all activities  Networking logic pervades all IT systems: nodes, ties, and flows characterize all systems  Inherent flexibility of IT networks: innovation and adaptation central to IT  Technological convergence: information and communication are combined  Computerization changes every way we interact with each other Power and Identity in the Information age  The emergence of network societies produces a number of key tensions, global I scope: Opposition 1: The net (function) versus the Self (meaning)  The things we are enables to do inter terms of searching for information  This clashes with the self—traditions of identities and the notion of self Opposition 2: Space Flows (network) versus Space of Places (localities of every day life)  People who can operate ITC receive all the advantages  The clash between your physical environment and the fact that you can escape this through virtual reality Opposition 3: Connection (interacting) versus disconnected (interacted)  If you are really connected you are must more powerful socially  This is applied to entire nations, if some nations are not ready to switch over they are kind of shut out of the global economy  Information Zones Live/Tame Zones: Live/Wild  Spaces of advanced production and consumption; middle-class suburbs; the  Space of radical ideas and images; ‘information-bourgeoisie’ universities, art schools, multi-ethnic populations; ‘new media’ middle class Tame: Stable identities Wild: Transient populations Dead/Tame Zones Dead/Wild Zones  Small towns, unfashionable suburbs,  Downwardly mobile, unemployed, manual worker, traditionalist homeless, underclasses, ethically mixed, urban Tame: stable but threatened Wild: Fluid, Social disorganized  Concentrations of information  Peoples neighbourhoods are organized based on technologies Timeless Time  Our experience of time is historically, socially and culturally shaped  Shifts in technology change our experience of time  Temporal organization by moon, agricultural cycles, weather, solar clock  Reorganization of time thought mechanical technologies—‘clock time’, production time, time-is money, work and leisure time and so on  Speed essential for financial transactions; compressions of time info fractions of a second for financial transactions  Timeless Time: Where tome as a sequence is replaced by ‘future valuations’ of time in finance, and computational speed beyond our perce
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