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Networks in Manuel Castells’ theory of the network society

Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko ()

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: This paper discusses the conceptualization of network in Manuel Castells’ theory of network society. Castells’ early academic works were built on the structural analysis of capitalism and social movements in response to the contradictions of capitalist society, without any explicit connection to network analysis. Networks gradually appeared in Castells’ works in the late 1980s, when he became interested in the configuration of the relationships between technology, economy, and society. The culmination of this phase was his opus magnum, The Information Age trilogy, which introduced network as a key concept of his macro theory, even though he remained laconic about the concept itself. This is paradoxical, for Castells became possibly the most prominent figure globally in adopting network terminology in macro sociological theory, but at the same time made hardly any empirical, theoretical or methodological contribution to social network analysis or network theory in general. This implies that ‘network’ in Castells’ social theory is not an analytical concept but rather a powerful metaphor that served to capture his idea of the new social morphology of late capitalism.

Keywords: Manuel Castells; network; network society; The Information Age; social theory; political economy; capitalist society; late capitalism; informational city; social morphology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 A14 B31 B51 B52 F60 F63 F68 H11 H7 I0 J6 L16 L23 L5 O1 O2 O3 O33 P1 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-hme, nep-hpe, nep-ict, nep-net, nep-pke and nep-soc
Date: 2015-07-15
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