Writing Out Loud: Materials for an Explanatory Theory of the Network Society

Much ink has been spilled over the effects of digital information and communication technologies on social life. Some of the most sophisticated work comes from Manuel Castells, who introduces us to the “network society.” As you read, pay close attention to how Castells takes the concept of networks and moves it beyond technology. Then answer the following questions.

Theme: Networks of Capital


  1. What does Castells think is new about the role information plays in the network society? Is it information itself or something else?
  2. List at least three ways in which the network society has changed relationships of production, consumption, power, and/or experience, according to Castells.
  3. Castells argues that the rise of the network society has changed culture dramatically. Think of a concrete example of how technology and the network society have changed the culture around you. Do you think that this change is positive? Why or why not?
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