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Archive for the ‘Networked society’ Category

The Civic Organization and the Digital Citizen: Communicating Engagement in a Networked Age

The powerful potential of digital media to engage citizens in political actions has now crossed our news screens many times. But scholarly focus has tended to be on “networked,” anti-institutional forms of collective action, to the neglect of advocacy and service organizations. This book investigates the changing fortunes of the citizen-civil society relationship by exploring how social changes and innovations in communication technology are transforming the information expectations and preferences of many citizens, especially young citizens. In doing so, it is the first work to bring together theories of civic identity change with research on civic organizations. Specifically, it argues that a shift in “information styles” may help to explain the disjuncture felt by many young people when it comes to institutional participation and politics. The book theorizes two paradigms of information style: a dutiful style, which was rooted in the society, communication system and citizen norms of the modern era, and an actualizing style, which constitutes the set of information practices and expectations of the young citizens of late modernity for whom interactive digital media are the norm. Hypothesizing that civil society institutions have difficulty adapting to the norms and practices of the actualizing information style, two empirical studies apply the dutiful/actualizing framework to innovative content analyses of organizations’ online communications-on their websites, and through Facebook. Results demonstrate that with intriguing exceptions, most major civil society organizations use digital media more in line with dutiful information norms than actualizing ones: they tend to broadcast strategic messages to an audience of receivers, rather than encouraging participation or exchange among an active set of participants. The book concludes with a discussion of the tensions inherent in bureaucratic organizations trying to adapt to an actualizing information style, and recommendations for how they may more successfully do so.

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Knowledge Sharing over Social Networking Systems

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Previous research has focused heavily on community communications as they occur in e.g.
communities of practice. Still, as indicated by the concept of networked individualism, contacts are becoming more networked in nature and group membership is transient. The research presented here yields to the call of Garton et al to move away from the study of communication taking place only in groups and to also investigate the potential of computer-mediated communication to support interaction in unbound and sparsely-knit social networks. As a consequence, in chapters 5 and 6, I’ve adopted a research method which takes the relationship between people as the basic unit of analysis. In conclusion, as work practice in Western economies is evolving towards knowledge work, and knowledge work rests heavily on knowledge sharing, the combination of networked individualism and knowledge sharing seems a relevant subject of study.

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Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age

This book is an exploration of the new forms of social movements and protests that are erupting in the world today, from the Arab uprisings to the indignados movement in Spain, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US. While these and similar social movements differ in many important ways, there is one thing they share in common: they are all interwoven inextricably with the creation of autonomous communication networks supported by the Internet and wireless communication.

In this timely and important book, Manuel Castells – the leading scholar of our contemporary networked society – examines the social, cultural and political roots of these new social movements, studies their innovative forms of self-organization, assesses the precise role of technology in the dynamics of the movements, suggests the reasons for the support they have found in large segments of society, and probes their capacity to induce political change by influencing people’s minds.

Based on original fieldwork by the author and his collaborators as well as secondary sources, this book provides a path-breaking analysis of the new forms of social movements and offers an analytical template for advancing the debates triggered by them concerning the new forms of social change and political democracy in the global network society.

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Leer tambiénRedes de indignación y esperanza : los movimientos sociales en la era de Internet

Written by Giorgio Bertini

December 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

The Autopoietic State: Communication and Democratic Potential in the Net

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The relationship between the practice of democracy and the use of new information technologies is dependent upon the technologies of communication and information, rules regarding the use of those technologies, and the nature of the entity making rules regarding those technologies. Since today developments in all three of these areas are turbulent, this article looks to social theory that deals with turbulence and chaos as a way of understanding the democratic potential in the qualitatively  different network society. The streams of literature drawn upon include second-order cybernetics and chaos theoryorganizational sociology, and the literature on the state. The concept of the autopoietic state is developed as a basis for determining appropriate communication policy principles for maximizing the democratic potential in the network environment.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

November 21, 2012 at 11:13 am

Networked: The New Social Operating System

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Daily life is connected life, its rhythms driven by endless email pings and responses, the chimes and beeps of continually arriving text messages, tweets and retweets, Facebook updates, pictures and videos to post and discuss. Our perpetual connectedness gives us endless opportunities to be part of the give-and-take of networking.

Some worry that this new environment makes us isolated and lonely. But in Networked, Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman show how the large, loosely knit social circles of networked individuals expand opportunities for learning, problem solving, decision making, and personal interaction. The new social operating system of “networked individualism” liberates us from the restrictions of tightly knit groups; it also requires us to develop networking skills and strategies, work on maintaining ties, and balance multiple overlapping networks. Rainie and Wellman outline the”triple revolution” that has brought on this transformation: the rise of social networking, the capacity of the Internet to empower individuals, and the always-on connectivity of mobile devices. Drawing on extensive evidence, they examine how the move to networked individualism has expanded personal relationships beyond households and neighborhoods; transformed work into less hierarchical, more team-driven enterprises; encouraged individuals to create and share content; and changed the way people obtain information. Rainie and Wellman guide us through the challenges and opportunities of living in the evolving world of networked individuals.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

September 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm

The meaning of network culture

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Whereas in postmodernism, being was left in a free-floating fabric of emotional intensities, in contemporary culture the existence of the self is affirmed through the network. Kazys Varnelis discusses what this means for the democratic public sphere.

Not all at once but rather slowly, in fits and starts, a new societal condition is emerging: network culture. As digital computing matures and meshes with increasingly mobile networking technology, society is also changing, undergoing a cultural shift. Just as modernism and postmodernism served as crucial heuristic devices in their day, studying network culture as a historical phenomenon allows us to better understand broader sociocultural trends and structures, to give duration and temporality to our own, ahistorical time.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

February 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

The Power of Networks: Knowledge in an age of infinite interconnectedness

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Manuel Lima, senior UX design lead at Microsoft Bing, explores the power of network visualisation to help navigate our complex modern world.

Listen to the full audio: http://www.thersa.org/events/audio-and-past-events/2011/the-power-of-networks-knowledge­-in-an-age-of-infinite-interconnectedness

Written by Giorgio Bertini

January 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Networked Society ‘On the Brink’

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In On The Brink we discuss the past, present and future of connectivity with a mix of people including David Rowan, chief editor of Wired UK; Caterina Fake, founder of Flickr; and Eric Wahlforss, the co-founder of Soundcloud. Each of the interviewees discusses the emerging opportunities being enabled by technology as we enter the Networked Society. Concepts such as borderless opportunities and creativity, new open business models, and today’s ‘dumb society’ are brought up and discussed.

Written by Giorgio Bertini

November 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Twenty reasons why it’s kicking off in cyberspace

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Read also: The Youth Crisis – Twenty reasons why it’s kicking off everywhere

In February the Newsnight economics editor Paul Mason very succinctly laid out the radically different nature of recent popular uprisings across North Africa, the Middle East and Europe compared to earlier political movements, and the economic and sociological reasons behind it. This incisive blogpost rang true for many of those involved in those social movements, articulating, as it did, a new sentiment and new political priorities amongst those populations. The short article sketched out a more cohesive image which the media in general was missing, partly through structural failings, but largely because events were unfolding at speed and trying to drag the chaotic events into an understandable analysis was difficult.

Running alongside the (still unfolding) Arab Spring, informing and shaping and being shaped in turn by those events, was a developing online conflict with major similarities; young, optimistic graduates who saw societies in more generalised terms of “power”, highly networked, informal and decentralised decision making processes and a deep cynicism and mistrust of traditional power elites and political ideologies. In the last month especially we’ve seen a series of events and developments that are changing the game of cyber-war (and cyber-class-war).

Written by Giorgio Bertini

June 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm

The Network Society: A Cross Cultural Perspective

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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.

What defines the collective research effort presented in this book is the conviction that the network society, while presenting some fundamental, common features in all contexts, takes very different forms depending on the cultural and institutional environments in which it evolves. We would like, as our contribution to the understanding of a world in the making, to break with the ethnocentrism of many visions of the network society (or information and knowledge society in another terminology), which often assimilate the rise of this society to the cultural and organizational unification of a globalized world, usually reproducing the social forms and values of the United States or Western Europe.

Written by Giorgio Bertini

May 11, 2011 at 8:35 pm

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