Week 8: Networks

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In his writing, Castells core argument revolves around the concept of networks, the network society and social networks, which have evolved through the informational paradigm and lead to social transformation and the emergence of a new social structure involving shared communication between cultures.

In this reading I found it interesting how the author makes some clear connections with concepts studied in preceding lectures and tutorials including the convergence and mediation associated with time and space and the transcendence of barriers associated with these latter two concepts (time and space). It is noted that “technologies are increasingly diffused” (Castells 2005, p.7) or rather there is a convergence of communication and information technologies which support the emergence of the new social structure of the network society.

Castells also notes the “two emergent social forms of time and space” which “characterize the network society” (Castells 2005, p.36). Like previous authors such as Moores and Scannell, Castells highlights the ability of technological evolution to enable the possibly of simultaneous practice and time sharing in networked spaces. However it is interesting to note how the author furthers these concepts by demonstrating their ability to foster a networked society and a culture of shared communication.  Castells notes the importance of communication as the cornerstone of the network society: “The culture of the network society is a culture of protocols and communication between all cultures in the world, developed on the basis of a common belief in the power of networking and of the synergy obtained by giving to others and receiving from others” (Castells 2005, p.40).

The concepts of convergence and mediation associated with time and space in the creation of social networks and communication amongst cultures can be seen in examples such as YouTube as noted by Rizzoe in her writing “Programming Your Own Channel” and the Apple iPod. File sharing, and downloading different types of media, both of which can be undertaken on these devices, as well as the concept of mobility which is enabled through devices such as the Apple iPod, is an example of the changing communication and social networks “encouraging new forms of interaction” (Rizzoe 2007, p.129) and shaping cultural forms of practices associated with older basic technologies such as the analog television.

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