Castellsian Concept: The logic of Networks
The logic of networks, one of Castells’ concepts, reflects how Amazon is reinventing their business concept and strategy through on-line business. The internet, today, is also used in learning. Schools are now offering online courses to anyone. The logic of networks is incorporated by various industries because of today’s modern information age. Example: books that are now sold and purchased on the internet. This is called E-Commerce, where business is conducted using the internet. One example of a company famous in E-Commerce is Amazon. The company sells books on-line; also published articles can be read and purchased. Here lectures are done through online communication. The interaction of teachers and students are web based. This new form of social network had been accepted because of convenience and portability it gives.
Castells’s theory of network society has a central position with modern dynamics that transform the conventional everyday life. As an assumption, system-wide networked culture opens new innovative business perspectives for various industries in constructing their business concepts and objectives. New foundation of higher communication technology shows how society is witnessing change. Network becomes a hierarchy that constitute to organized process. Like the internet, it is a large network of information around the world. Such information can constitute to other. Because this information is accessible to anyone in the world, this can bridge cultural gap between nation and people.
There is a deep connection between how a society process is structured, and the values that these process. The network society offers a flexible structure that reflects today’s information demand. For Castells, the worth of theory lies in the capacity to aggregate and to arrange empirical learning.
The internet is fast and evolving. The invention of the internet changed the convention way of human lining. In the society where in people learned the importance of communication and interaction had embraced modern information systems. Nowadays some industries are more focus on developing there technologies through acquisition of state of the art facilities and equipment. Technology had become a part of everyday lire. it had change the way on how we communicate and interact with others. Example: the internet changed the conventional way of communication by providing faster communicating medium through E-mails and Chats. Social interaction had become available and easy by using the Internet. Social interaction allows a person to grow and development their intrapersonal skills. It allows a person to socialize and expressed their thoughts and idea with other people. Like friendster groups; in which people are allowed network with friends in a new way. You can become a friend to someone because of a certain person/friend that connects you to the friend’s list as well. Friendster is a new social group that gives individuals the privilege of creating personal accounts, customizing blogs, and share photos, videos and profiles with others. Friendster had become a major cultural impact to the world. Because people can meet anyone in the world it offers unlimited social and cultural exchange. Youtube.com is also a website that enables user to share videos to all the users of the site. It is also a website that serves as a medium to bridge cultural gap.
An example of company that incorporates internet in their business is Amazon. The flow of network in Amazon website is simple. You just click on the book you wanted to browse and all the information regarding that book will be showed to you. You can also read some of reviews regarding the content of the book, and you can also search the content of that book before actually purchasing it on-line. E-commerce allows a company to conduct business worldwide, which is if the company is offering worldwide service. This helps business cater more customers.
This indicates that the Castells logic of networks is present and available in today’s modern era. Because technology is at constant changed, there can be some transformation through the network society in respect to organizational changes. The ideas behind this can be found in Manuel Castells’ interview – the man behind the logic of network concepts and ideas.
Castell’s interviews provide you with a summary of the important points from Castells, including his thoughts about issues involving the network society and the importance of digital communications and information flows. According to Castells, the network society itself is the social arrangement which marks what people have been calling the information society or post industrial society and can be a matter of changing the word world. Castell consider the global economy different form global market in terms of internationalized financial system and principles to values. On his interview Castell states that:
“the global economy is not the same thing as the world economy of a highly internationalized economy. It’s not. Because the global economy is based on the ability of the core activities — meaning money, capital markets, production systems, management systems, information — to work as a unit in real time on a planetary scale. Meaning that, at this point, we can process, and we do, billions and billions of dollars in seconds. And that can change from values to values, from markets to markets, from currencies to currencies, which increases the complexity, the size, and, ultimately, the volatility of global financial markets around the world. Which makes, in fact, impossible any kind of autonomy of financial markets in one country or one place vis-à-vis what’s happening in the global system; which, therefore, makes extremely difficult any kind of monetary and budget policy which does not take into consideration the global financial market.”
Castell points the connection and difference between the global economy and the world economy. What’s happening in the global market will have a relevant effect in the world market and the social community.
Identity in the Network Society
In addition to organizations having to adapt to this new reality of a network world, social groups have to respond and adapt to the new reality of the new network world. In a world of global flows of wealth, power and images, the search for identity becomes the fundamental source of social meaning. According to Castell, “it’s a paradox that I found empirically in my research; I didn’t start like this. I started from the technology side, the network side, and then I found that part of the story about the transformation of power did not correspond to that logic, but to the logic of resisting the domination of values implemented through these very effective networks and trying to provide alternative meaning.” Castell point is that power in a network corresponds to logic. These networks are powerful but they only include what are interesting from the point of view, interest, and the values of the sources that are in these network. Example: the network of a global capitalist includes the network of companies, countries, regions, and people that enhances the value of the capitalist network in terms of money-making.
The reaction to these networks are asserted and/or defined as identity, which helps us understand the complexity and the actual happenings in the world. Using the computer doesn’t necessarily change the world. It’s about how the people use the computer and apply it to how they live. Example: an oil company can distribute computers in Nigeria, and this can be used by the people to organized protest movements, locally and abroad. Castells states that “the Internet’s an extraordinary instrument for creation, free communication, etc., you can use the Internet to exclude, because you can exclude in terms of the access to the network, the digital divide. But you can also exclude in terms of the culture and education and ability to process all this information that has happened on the net, and then use it for what you want to do, because you don’t have the education, the training, the culture to do it, while the elites of the world do.” According to Castell, the internet is a powerful tool for communication and creation. It can be used not just for good cause but also for other agenda. Sometimes, the internet can promote racism and exclude those people in the social network. A person can be excluded in the network if considered to be unsuited to the elites, etc.
Castell wrote in his book, “Social movements in the Information Age are essentially mobilized around cultural values. The struggle to change the codes of meaning in the institutions and practice of the society is the essential struggle in the process of social change in the new historical context, movements to seize the power of the minds, not state power.” He explains that In a so-called information society, minds are not only the most important economic asset — companies with minds make money; companies with money and no minds lose the money — it’s the same thing in everything. The networks are not programmed by technology; technological tools are programmed by minds. So the human consciousness [is the source], because everything now depends on our ability to generate knowledge and process information in every domain and activity. Knowledge and information are cognitive qualities from the human mind. Yes, human minds usually are connected to bodies, which mean that you have to take into consideration the overall system of human existence, social services support, etc. But fundamentally, the human mind has always been, but more than ever now, the source of wealth, power, and control over everything. In a world where the peoples mind continuously shape existence, the ability to influence and to change the categories on which we think becomes the essential battle. It’s a battle of the mind, politics, and economy because people will always decide for themselves on what they want and don’t want to buy. The world’s economy is a battle that only the best thinkers can win.
Example of Castell about this idea is: “In the last thirty years there has been the most extraordinary cultural revolution in history: women have changed the way they think about themselves. Once women in industrialized countries, but also in most developing countries — there is a process toward this thinking — decided that the patriarchal family (the institutional domination of men over women and children in the family) is not correct, that men and women are equal and women have to develop their own interests and culture, have their own relationship to work, to everything — once women have changed that, everything changes. The family changes; therefore, socialization of children changes; therefore, personality changes, sexuality changes, everything changes. And that’s the process we are in. Environmentalists: if you introduce the notion that production is not just growth but sustainable development, everything from the way we work to the way we produce to the way we consume is affected by this cultural transformation. And in democratic societies, this, in fact, translates also into politics. It translates into choices”.
The battle of the minds is not simply a social movement that changes the cultural code f the society, but changes the power that rephrase the categories with new words and images without changing the meaning of these categories. Talents and ideas are the sources of productivity and competitiveness in this battle. In the overall social organization, when people change their minds, it will determine how they will change their behavior. And the change in behavior would eventually affect the changes in the overall social organization.
Castell’s analysis is subtle in the sense that a superficial look at the world suggests that the conglomerates and the mega-corporations are completely riding in the saddle and in charge of the direction of the society. “ecologists, feminists, religious fundamentalists, nationalists, and localists are the potential subjects of the Information Age.” That they can, in essence, come up with categories of thinking and responses that affect the way technology changes the world around us.” There is a general misunderstanding that corporations run the world. Corporations only run their corporations. They don’t run the economy because they depend on the economy which is in general an uncontrollable system. They only depend on how investors perceive and value them in the global financial market because the truth is without investors there is corporation.
The fate of the company is determines by the turbulences of information that control the financial markets, and the ability and the capabilities of companies to ride the subjectivity of financial markets. This means that, companies do not run the world, because they cannot even control the global economy. There are some factors and influences about this idea. There’s not an executive committee of the capitalist class that doesn’t plan and run the world. But on the other hand, companies and governments don’t run the world because more and more there are alternative actors, social movements of all kinds, identity, communal movements, as well as proactive movements such as environmentalists, women, etc., that ultimately shape the agenda of both corporations and government institutions. Governments in the world, at this point, have a tremendous crisis of legitimacy.
Because of this illegitimacy of the government some or most of the citizens trust against their government is not that great. The complexity of our world is that the institutions of governments are crumbling, while on the other hand, networks of technology, capital, production are organizing our lives throughout the world and many, different alternative sources of values and interests are emerging as a response to this one-sided domination, because people do not have institutions through which they can process their claims and their demands.
In the context of this new emerging world, an individual should be analytical. That individual should characterize, in social terms, in values and organization. Most people in today’s advance societies are building their projects as individuals, family, economy, in everything. These means we are in the world of in individuals. And the internet, rather create what we can call a virtual community, is provides a basis to increase the peoples sociability as individuals. On the other hand, people who don’t feel strong as individuals tend to build trenches of opposition, and they then close the community. For instance: are religious fundamentalists and extreme nationalism. We have individuals and communities, and in between, the civil society and the state — they don’t vanish, but they are dramatically weakened. And the civil society and the state were, in fact, the institutions that emerged as forms of social organizations in the industrial age.
Castell points that education is more important than ever in today’s era. Education should not be the conventional and traditional form of education. Education should be developed to what Castell calls a “self-programming capabilities”. That is, the ability for a person to adapt, and to learn how to use a person’s knowledge in the implementation of their project and task throughout their lives. Building the knowledge capability of a person need not to have lots of information, but that person should be capable to find information and know how to combine this information which would be very good and very strong in a broad educational training.
On the other hand, regarding on the personality side of an individual, on a constantly changing world, it is necessary that a person’s education help provide that person with flexible and secure personalities. Flexible personalities will help especially the young people, because young people are going through extraordinary transformation in their lives. At the same time, in order to have a strong, relatively secure personality, an individual needs values. But not so many values, because many values cannot be strong. A few solid values such as “don’t do to the others what you don’t want the others to do you.” will be enough for a person to have a standard but solid value in life to follow.
The logic of the information age
The logic of networks comprises the innovative social morphology of the societies and the diffusion of networking logic considerably modifies the process and outcome with the process of construction, knowledge, authority and culture. While the networking appearance of social group has survived in extra period and places as the novel information technology paradigm provides the basis for its pervasive expansion throughout the complete societal structure.’ (). This network logic and the form of organization induce a social willpower at superior level being one that was unidentified before. The fundamental influence of network flows will get further significance than the precise welfare they stand for, the flows of authority. It becomes imperative to be in attendance in a system and not be disqualified from it and single system might rule another fewer vibrant and influential network.
The Information Technology, especially the IT Revolution became a network and an instrument for social movement for people to response in the crisis of the nation, democracy, civil society’s traditional institution, and patriarchy in large part of the world. Together these are causing a new social structure (a network society), a new economy (a global informational economy) and a new culture (a culture of ‘real virtuality’). Information Technology became a network where people are interconnected. Individuality is part of the network where an individual tends to interact in this virtual society because they are not accepted as individual in the real society.
The world is connected in a network. We can say hat the world has been very much connected in a network because of the internet. Unlimited links to different sites are available through the net. Example of such websites which gives unlimited links to mostly anything in the world is Yahoo () and Google (). Yahoo is an email service provider with comes with almost everything; mailing, news, entertainment, everything; you can search to any topic that you want and the search engine will give you all the links that are in relevance to the topic you want to find. On the other hand, Google is just a search engine that gives different links to topics that are being searched. Some business firms have already incorporated the logic of network trough their business. The logic of network, one of Castells concepts, reflects how some firms are conducting business in the current market. Internet has been the very key that we can consider why the world can be look at as a network. Example of Firm that incorporated this network in their business is Amazon; a company that sells book; which buying of books can be done online by visiting the firm’s website (). By doing such business through the net, the firm can accommodate foreign customers because business will be available worldwide. The firm will then cater to different regions, making the business global. One of Castells concepts, convergence of technology; in regards to business; has been used by firms in globalization because the internet reaches to anyone in the world it the perfect medium to conduct business.
The internet has become a convenient way to meet new people and keep in touch with family and love ones. Friendster, a website that is basically is a network of people under a server. The server is the Friendster mainframe, the network are the members. Friendster allows people to keep in touch with friends in a new way. It also allows a person to meet new people around the globe, but of course a person needs a friendster. You can become a friend to someone because that person is in the friends list of a particular friend of yours. Personal photos, blogs, videos, and profile can be shared and viewed by other members. In a way, this indicates a strong proof that the logic of networks is truly present and available for use in this modern trend. There can be transformation through the network society in respect to organizational changes.