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.
"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