Communication power (2009) by Manuel Castells

Update: It may be added that the concept of a networked society is appealing but has limitations.

[End of update]


I’ve borrowed a Toronto Public Library copy of Communication power (2009) by Manuel Castells.

I borrowed it after reading Burke (2005).

As noted in the latter link, Castells argues that networks constitute the new ‘social morphology’ of society.

The passage that caught my attention, on my first visit to Castells (2009), was a reference to the fact that media politics “all share two fundamental features: they are aimed at power-making by shaping the public mind; and they contribute to the crisis of political legitimacy that is shaking the institutional foundations of our societies” (p. 286).

The book is divided into chapters addressing the following topics. After each topic I will list two or three of the larger number of topics covered in each chapter.

1. Power in the network society

What is power?

The global network society

Conclusion: Understanding power relationships in the global network society

2. Communication in the digital age

Technical convergence and the new multimedia system: From mass communication to mass self-communication

Cultural change in a globalized world

3. Networks of mind and power

Emotion, cognition, and politics

The politics of beliefs

The framing of the mind

4. Programming communication networks: Media politics, scandal politics, and the crisis of democracy

Power-making by image-making

The state and media politics: Propaganda and control

Crisis of democracy?

5. Reprogramming communication networks: Social movements, insurgent politics, and the new public space

The network is the message: Global movements against corporate globalization

Mobil-izing [hyphen in original]: Wireless communication and insurgent communities of practice

Reprogramming networks, rewiring minds, changing the world

Conclusion: Toward a communication theory of power

The book’s concluding paragraph:

    However, the public mind is constructed by networking individual minds, such as yours. Thus, if you think differently, communication networks will operate differently, on the condition that not only you, but I and a multitude choose to build the network of our lives (p. 432).


1 reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *