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The Rise of the Network Society (The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture, Volume 1) (Vol 1) Paperback – January 15, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0631221401 ISBN-10: 0631221409 Edition: 2nd
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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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A brief review cannot do it justice. No other scholar has approached the subject of the information age in as engaging and innovative a way as this author. Strongly recommended for academic libraries." M. Perelman, California State University. <!--end-->

"We live today in a period of intense and puzzling transformation, signalling perhaps a move beyond the industrial era altogether. Yet where are the great sociological works that chart this transition? Hence the importance of Manuel Castells' multivolume work, in which he seeks to chart the social and economic dynamics of the information age . . . [It] is bound to be a major reference source for years to come." Anthony Giddens, The Times Higher Education Supplement.

"Adam Smith explained how capitalism worked, and Karl Marx explained why it didn't. Now the social and economic relations of the Information Age have been captured by Manuel Castells." Wall Street Journal.

"So far, the person who has straddled the world of social theory and Silicon Valley most successfully is Manuel Castells. Castells enjoys a growing reputation as the first significant philosopher of cyberspace." The Economist.

"A must-read." Wired.

"This book goes a considerable way to helping us make sense of today's global information economy and our place in it." Financial Times.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 594 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd edition (January 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631221409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631221401
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

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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