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Communication Power 2nd Edition

3 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199567041
ISBN-10: 0199567042
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Of much value... Manuel Castells has shaped himself into the most prominent and influential theorist and analyst of the modern communications and network age."--Financial Times


"Provides a bevy of illustrious examples of how grassroots campaigns could use the internet to bring public attention to issues as diverse as climate change and the war in Iraq."--Forbes


"Castells is a synthesizer and meta-theoretician. He reaches far and wide to bring together disparate elements to his arguments. This is his amazing strength as a seminal figure in modern scholarship.... Reading Communication Power is rather like taking a great birding dog out for a walk: every nook and cranny must be sniffed and explored with endearing enthusiasm before moving on in a bound to the next point of discovery."--Political Communication


"Manuel Castells unites the mind of a social scientist with the soul of an artist. His trilogy took us to the edge of the millennium. This book takes us beyond to the critical crossroads of the 21st century, where technology, communication, and power converge."--Rosalind Williams, Dibner Professor and Director, Program on Science, Technology and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


"Castells has done it again, a masterpiece of global perspective and enviable erudition. Moving beyond his trilogy on the information age, Castells focuses on how cultural, economic and particularly political power relationships are constituted and sustained through systematic communication flows. ... Case studies include global media deregulation, the politics of scandal, framing the war in Iraq, ecological social movements, the Obama presidential candidacy and a fascinating comparison of media control dynamics in Russia and China."--W. Russell Neuman, Evans Professor of Media Technology, University of Michigan


"How could Manuel Castells have predicted that now is the time of the perfect storm? I do not know. But I do know that his new book c

About the Author


Manuel Castells, University Professor and Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Manuel Castells is University Professor and the Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society at the University of Southern California. He is also Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Planning, University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for 24 years. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, of the Academia Europaea, of the Spanish Royal Academy of Economics, and of the British Academy. His main books include the trilogy The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture (Blackwell, 1996-2003), Communication Power (OUP, 2009), and Networks of Outrage and Hope (Polity, 2012). He was a founding member of the board of the European Research Council and is a member of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 2 edition (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199567042
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199567041
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.4 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,447,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jan Van Dijk on September 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book makes the same arguments as the 12 year older book The Power of Identity. In two respects Castells has made considerable progress. The former book was talking about human selves and identities. Now the author has really discovered psychology. Meaning has become a core concept in the analysis of this structural thinker. He borrows from the currently popular work of neuropsychologists such as Antonio Damasio that have made the turn from cognition and reasoned action to biology and emotions. This enables him to make splendid analyses of media politics and political campaigns, mainly in the United States as a combination of rationality and emotions. For example, he describes the systematic campaign of misinformation in the mass media of the Bush administration dragging the American population into the Iraq war and tries to explain why this was successful.
The second advance is more attention to the struggle over networks: they are programmed and reprogrammed. In a 1999 review of the trilogy The Information Age I accused Castells of completely neglecting the design dimension and the social struggle over networks . At that time, his view was that with networks we have created a machine that is dynamic, full of opportunities but controlled be no one. Now he clearly argues that the `logic' of networks could be transformed (p. 36). He tries to show this in a number of case studies in which communication networks are reprogrammed.
The first study is about the environmental movement and the `new culture of nature' (environmental consciousness). `It was the networking between the scientific community, environmental activists and celebrities that brought the issue to the media, and communicated it to the public at large via multimedia networks' (p. 321).
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Format: Hardcover
Does Castells ever write books of less than 600 pages? He should try. This book is far too too long for the points it makes - power, money media manipulation mixed with new technologies. C.Wright Mills, Chomsky, Habermas and the rest of recent western thought stampede onto the page with little evidence of any theoretical bridle. It is not quite a mess but not quite not one either. A lot of the detail is good and interesting but the overview never comes together. I found myself pushing quickly through blocks of twenty and thirty pages at a time just to get on with it. A much shorter book with a more specific agenda would have been better. I still am undecided whether this worked contributed anything to the debate on media and power or merely rehashed established ideas.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Castells is a big name in communications today, but I was underwhelmed by his book. It seems more suitable for the general public than the scholarly world. I thought it was rather thin conceptually - provocative, but thin. It's worth having a look at to understand what the hype about Castells it, but for that you could also get it from your local library.
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Via Sociology we get a return to the classical political economy tradition of Communications Studies (Schiller, Smythe, others) - a valuable and important corrective after two decades of cultural studies' audience audience studies. See also Joel Spring's latest work on the political economy of ownership of educational media. Newcorp and Thomson Reuters lurk.
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I have been a big fan of Manuel Castells, and I was eager to get his latest communication power (note the lower-case title, which he evidently takes (incorrectly) to be the way things are done now).

The subjects he tackles in this book are subjects I am interested in also - such as power. But, unfortunately, he is not helping me. Instead of pre-digesting his material, as a thinker should, and producing something useful, he seems to be suffering from diarrhea.

He thinks we are now a networked society - when this is just the usual hype. I speak as an expert here - if anyone is networked, it is me. But this networking for most is superficial. Only the business world is now networked. One could argue that this is all that matters - but this is only partly right.

He ignores a basic fact - the human world has collapsed under its own weight. And his own writing is proof of that.

One part of the book I can recommend: the Opening, where he talks directly, person to person. His final sentence here:

<And this is my way, my only real way to challenge the powers that be by unveiling their presence in the working of our minds.>

An excellent project! But not a new one. Every great thinker (and some not so great) has tried to do this.

Perhaps someone else will come along and condense Castells' writing for us. But I doubt it.
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