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Rise of The Network Society (Information Age Series) (Vol 1) Paperback – November 13, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-1557866172 ISBN-10: 1557866171 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Information Age Series (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 481 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (November 13, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557866171
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557866172
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Rise of the Network Society, the first volume in a trilogy collectively known as the Information Age, has earned Manuel Castells comparisons to such illustrious social critics as Max Weber and Karl Marx. Just as they worked to make sense of industrial capitalism, so does Castells put forth a systemic analysis of the global informational capitalism that emerged in the last half of the 20th century. While many books have considered the development of increasingly sophisticated information technology, the shifting conditions of employment and responsibility within corporations, or the rise of corporations whose domains are spread out over several nation-states, Castells unites these topics in a comprehensive thesis, negotiating the tightrope between academic sociology and mainstream business analysis.

Review

"So what is one to make of this magnificent throwback, Manuel Castells, this Voltaire of the information age, who has ventured a three-volume systemic account of our postmodern civilization under the title The Information Age? What do we make of a scholar who, rather than running from this confounding epoch's complexities, embraces them, insisting scholarly analysis can still root itself in reason, in meaningful social action and in transformative politics?" Benjamin Barber, Los Angeles Times .

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Customer Reviews

First - someone in an earlier review said that this book is not for everyone, it's an academic book.
"postajohan"
There seems to be an ideal to academic writing that somewhat opposes the general trend of having knowledge and information made accessible to everyone.
Laura (KLOVER1007@aol.com)
After so many intensive build-ups, Castells can come up with little for the reader to really chew on.
doomsdayer520

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 71 people found the following review helpful By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on March 22, 2004
Format: Paperback
Given Castells' huge range of understanding and the sheer ambition of his work, it seems a bit unfair to really criticize this book. Few writers would try to tackle the huge ideas that Castells covers here - vast theories about the state and direction of humanity in relation to the rising information society. On the other hand, theory-of-everything books like this, as frequently attempted by polymaths such as Fritjof Capra, have their own unavoidable problems which deserve to be criticized. When a theorist tries to combine knowledge of everything into a huge integrated and unified theory, the writing becomes monstrously diffuse and unfocused. That is the exact problem with this book.
Castells obviously has an understanding of all the disparate theoretical areas that would be encompassed by such a huge endeavor. As the book progresses, Castells is not afraid to move from areas like astrophysics to rural sociology to corporate architecture to programming language to everything else you could think of, often in successive paragraphs. But when describing everything, Castells eventually reaches conclusions on nothing. Bringing together disparate realms of knowledge is one thing, but reaching insights that make sense is much more difficult.
That all makes this book extremely tiresome for the reader. In that exasperating theory-of-everything fashion, Castells can't stop piling on new terminology like real virtuality, technopoles, or milieux of information (terms created by himself or others) that merely illustrate the smashing together of ideas, rather than synthesis.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By "denjohnh" on November 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
Although the author of this volume has a reputation for ponderous prose I did not find his writing style as forbidding as I feared it would be. With determination, one can quickly adjust and fall into line with the epic tempo of the book. An extraordinary intellectual adventure awaits anyone who has the fortitude and time to negotiate these pages which, I believe, provide a clearer picture of the emergence of 21st century society and culture than anything else that I have encountered on the subject.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
The Rise of Network Society brings up many important issues regarding globalization and what Manuel Castells calls the network society. He argues that the technological revolution that began in the late 70s in Silicon Valley has had a profound impact on all aspects of society. The changes, he argues are most apparent in the new relationships between the economy, state and society that have been formed. He suggests that an increase in the flexibility of management, a decentralization of production and an increased reliance on networking has caused many of the immediate changes taking place. Castells suggests that it is through the decline in the labor movement and the devaluing of the laborers that capital has become an increasingly powerful network. This, he suggests has caused networks such as labor, criminal or mafia groups, and financial markets to be realized on a global rather than local scale. By looking at how new relationships and identities are being conceived of in what he calls the informational age, Castells is able to theorize about the ways in which technology and information have will continue to transform society.
Castells suggests that as distances between places become shorter, time will also be changed. Technologies such as the internet, television and computers have decreased the space between different parts of the world to such an extent that we now have the capabilities to process information in real time. The fragmentation of the local community has led to an increasing reliance on global community organizations or the "net". People can now keep in touch with friends, date and divorce over the internet.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you are a reader with only a casual interest in globalization, or someone in search of "hip" reading suggested by a magazine, then this book is not for you. Yes, this is an academic book. It is intended for the student or scholar in sociology, economics, or world politics. As such, it is an excellent work. It extremely detailed and written for those within the ivory tower. As a Graduate student in Sociology, I loved it. Yes, it is hard reading. But the challenge is worth it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
Manuel Castells takes the reader on an elliptical tour of the information age and how it will effect our society, economy, government and culture. The book is provocative; a thoughtful gem surfaces every ten pages or so. But you will have to wade through some turgid writing and a maze of academic references to get there. This is not the futuristic whimsy of an Alvin Toffler. An academic's academic, Manuel Castells remains conservatively close to the findings of his sociology peers.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book, along with Volume's 2 & 3 in the series is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the implications of the fundamental transformation that the globalization of the financial markets has wrought throughout the world. The trilogy argues that we are at the beginning of changes as explosive as those wrought by the industrial revolution. Castells roams the world as he documents economic, social and political changes and speculates about the future. The author worked on these books for 12 years and this represents his life work. I actually would rate the trilogy an 11. It is an epic undertaking.
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