Archive for the ‘Networked society’ Category
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.
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 theory, organizational 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.
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.
Manuel Lima, senior UX design lead at Microsoft Bing, explores the power of network visualisation to help navigate our complex modern world.
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.
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.