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Manuel Castells and the Rise of the Network Society: An Overview Brian Lake 100045086 brian.lake@acadiau.


Manuel Castells three volume “Rise of the Network Society” is on initial examination an attempt by the author to address what he sees as the development of a new paradigm equal if not greater in impact to the industrial revolutions that have shaped the development of the modern age. This rather brief summation of such a large undertaking does not do the work justice, but it does serve to effectively highlight the recurring theme that permeates the three volume series. Castells has effectively avoided the trap of using hyperbole in his description of the “wonders” of the information society, but he questions the preconceived notions of what exactly is that we are dealing with. The information society as Castells sees it must be reconciled with the development of the people who utilize it, the technology as it has developed in a historical context and the method by which the introduction and utilization of technology in specific ways has defined the development of the information age. This overview of the argument put forth by Castells in his first volume is intended to provide a brief summation of the interpretive lens through which Castells views the development of the information society. “The Rise of the Network Society” is appropriately named as a first volume in the series. It is intended as an introduction the concept of technology and society, providing a historical review of the pre-internet era technologies and their contribution in preparing the existing social structure to accept the changes that would be forthcoming. The introduction of the information age is often seen as a sudden occurrence that propelled modern society into an advanced era of

technological development, but as is the case with previous technological driven social movements, the impact was much more gradual than the popular press would have us expect. This review then, attempts to act as a summation of the concepts put forth by Castells in his unique and novel interpretation of the information society, and explores in some detail the utility derived from prior theoretical works from which Castells draws inspiration. It also focuses primarily on the subject matter of greatest relevance to the research undertaken, that being the definition of information technology and its interaction with society. It is in this light that I have interpreted his work, and have thus avoided placing unnecessary emphasis on the development of work and employment, as explored by Castells. The primary benefits to the work of the thesis can be found in the net and the self, the information technology revolution, the network enterprise, and the culture of real virtuality. These pertinent sections will be approached in sequence. The Net and the Self In the prologue entitled The Net and the Self, Castells establishes the sociological stage on which the development of society has taken place and is poised to further develop. The change is quite recent, having coming to the fore in the years surrounding the collapse of Soviet statism and the retooling of capitalism into a less insular, nationally based concept into a more interdependent, globally focused market, taking government and society along in their wake. 1 The nature of this profound alternation in the method of operation of business throughout the world has been that of decentralization , and networking of firms within their own organization and in relations to other firms, the introduction and increasing of international trade blocs that are defined with the North

Castells, p. 1.

leading to subsequent debates over the definition of the relationships between women. whatever form they may happen to take. Asian and European contexts. whether it be religious fundamentalism or national territoralism. the nature of sexuality and the definition of the self. 2 The use of computer networks as a communication medium are credited with much of the acceleration of the pace of this change. the search for meaning has led to a retrenchment of sorts in the creation of insular pockets of social communication that are facing two possibilities. The need to define oneself has contributed to the rise of ethnic cleavages and the propagation of religious and ethnic groups focused on a strict interpretation of primary identity. and the proliferation of transnational institutions that have expanded power and influence over the domestic and foreign affairs of the previously isolated nation-state. or at least in part. Castells does not limit himself to defining the impact of this change to industrial conglomerates and other large societal groupings. p. The presence of milita groups. Instead. the expansion of the popular media or the interests of business. The irony as seen by Castells is in the realization that as the world is becoming increasingly globalized and interdependent.American. The first of these possibilities is that they are part of the larger information society as a whole. as well as the use of this technology by all aspects of society. While this accelerated development is no doubt of great significance. religious fundamentalist movements and 2 Ibid. that people gravitate towards these more primary symbols of identity. be it for the pursuit of criminal activity. including the transformation of women’s condition following a successful challenge of patriarchalism in many countries. It is with this backdrop of constant change and the decline of various social moments such as Marxism. and the concurrent changes in society. Castells takes note of the technological and economic changes. 2 . men and children.

This theory of the “Net and the Self” has great potential for the progression of the thesis work. and more likely to engange in conflict as a result. 3 .terriorist organizations in the information society is an example of this. this is a particular concern in the search for a European identity whilst maintain a national sense of self. These circumstances lead to what Castells defines as the collectivist net and the individualistic self. The second possibility is that a lack of relevance to the information network that is defining our culture may lead to the exclusion of a particular group region or even country. These national identities are based on the “self” as Castells characterizes it – the 3 Castells p. or the “Net and the Self” 3 He argues that the social fragmentation is the result of this lack of communication between individualistic. ideologically opposed groups and that as the level of communication between groups decreases. No proponent of a federal Europe would ever consider the possibility of no longer considering themselves “British” or “Irish” or “Greek”. which in turn leads to the alienation of these groups and the increased potential for conflict in whatever form it may take. social groups and individuals become more alienated from each other. as one would assume from an examination of the many differing ideologies surrounding them. In the European Integration context. The theory of the net and the self attributes the existence of this very disparity to the lack of communication between groups. as the object is to address the use of Information Communications Technology as a tool of social cohesion. as a means of reducing alienation. This theory validates the importance of the use of ICT as a tool of social cohesion to begin with. as we are faced with the daunting task of establishing communication (even conflictual communication in the form of opposition) between social groups and individuals. This would imply that social disparity exists to begin with.

but neither can be credited as being the driving force behind the other. nor does society determine technology. Castells argues that society cannot be understood without being interpreted in the context of its technological tools. Technology does not determine society. 5 . The goal is not to supplant that. thus achieving a greater prosperity through the collectivist net while maintaining ones own primary identity. The goal in opening lines of communication is not to deprive the Irish citizen of their individualistic self identity. but to supplement it with the “Net”. Castells argues that by the same token the development of the early internet communications network must be used as a tool in order to understand the social development of this small segment of American society that was making use of it. A 4 Castells p. This search for identity in the midst of the information age begs the question of the extent of the impact of technology on society. Indeed.perceived identity of self. it would be difficult to gain a clear understanding of human society if one were to ignore a simple technological tool such as the telephone for instance – this technology has been integrated into various societies to an extent that it must be examined in any comprehensive overview of the society in question. adapted to this case in the form of a deepening of ties within the European Union. The idea that the introduction of sufficiently advanced technology would address this disparity between the concepts of the “Net and the Self” cannot be so simple – otherwise one could argue that the simple solution to the lack of social cohesion was simply reliant on the introduction of sufficiently advanced technology on some future date. but to allow them to share an appreciation for the perspective of their Greek counterpart by example.4 They interact with each other certainly. A telling example of the unintended social conquences of technology is the development of the Internet.

” 6 The ability to use technology has historically presented two options as seen by Castells – either society will embrace technological change. The ability or inability of societies to master technologies that can be strategically decisive at any particular point in history.5 That is success or failure in the ability to develop technologically is a useful indicator of a societies ability to transform itself. He summarizes it as such: …the ability or inability of societies to master technology. an important component in any evaluation of the capacity for a society to transform itself. technology (or the lack of it) embodies the capacity of societies to transform themselves. while not being responsible for the change in society itself. decide to put their technological potential. He makes the point that technology. always in a conflictive process. It is this correlation between the development of societies and the development of technology that Castells uses to emphasize the need to include technological development in any reasonable assessment of societal change. p. embodies the capacity for change. and particularly technologies that are strategically decisive in each historical period. 7. P. . 7. to the point that we could say that technology per se does not determine historical evolution and social change. or else seek to inhibit its 5 6 Ibid.military decentralization initiative with no initial civilian purpose eventually came to have a profound impact in the manner in which communication was conducted worldwide. is in the view of Castells. growing exponentially in scope and function. as well as the uses to which societies. graduating from simple text communication to the transference of visual and auditory stimuli with an increasingly growing population. Largely shapes their destiny.

The point Castells wishes to make in providing this example is that having had a state controlled process of technological innovation was of great benefit to China. The different historical influences in 7 8 IIbid.8 This is not to say that the state is a impediment to the successful application of technology in society. China had accrued considerable experience in iron casting. the statist model of innovation leads to a decline in development. simply allow. disinterest of the state in pursuing technological advancements led to a stagnation of development. P 9. the state thrives. 11 . The information technology revolution is not immune to the force of history and society. p. 7 The inability. or rather. but at a price. textiles and military tools. fearing the potentially disruptive effects of technology on the social fabric. which would not be driven home until the 1842 Opium War. As long as interest was maintained in technological innovation. agriculture. Castells characterizes the new society that is emerging from the information revolution as capitalist and informational. but when the state loses interest in this sort of development. but had abandoned a centuries long tradition of technological development. that exclusively dedicating resources to the state alone ignores the ability for autonomous development in a society. The outpacing of Chinese civilization by European society serves as an example of the utilization of technology and its capacity to provoke drastic change in society. or actively promote technological innovation. As early as 1400 CE. The overall tone of this argument is to further emphasize that between technology and society the role of the state must be considered.development through the mechanism of the state. Ibid. Its does make the point however. and poses the risk of stagnation if the state loses interest. but not uniform. in either its ability to stall. in which China realized the extent of its decline.

Castells references the work of Daniel Bell and Alain Touraine in explaining his separation of the concepts of informationalism and industrialism from capitalism and statism. 14 . 14 p. industrialism. Before exploring these modes however.capitalism. while the former are modes of development. should be considered. It includes both labour and the organizers of production. industrialism. Castells seeks to clarify exactly how he interprets the concept of informationalism.various countries have helped define how a country reacts to the information technology and how they utilize it. Castells seeks to define how information technology has influenced our present post-industrial society. Rather his overlying goal is to herald the rise of “a new mode of development. historically shaped by the restructuring of the capitalist mode of production towards the end of the 20th century”10 The entire idea of the modes of production then. informationalism. The introduction of the terms informationalism. The latter are seen as modes of production. in that the influence of the dominant form of social organization . capitalism and statism. He asserts that the rise of information technology should be considered no differently than historical equivalents. 9 10 p. with the interaction amongst ourselves.9 The point of making these sociological distinctions for Castells are more than just to inform the reader of the more arcane distinctions of sociological development. as described by Castells is that society is organized in class relationships that are socially complex. The importance of the historical development of technological implementation thus considered. capitalism and statism form the foundation for what Castells sees as the “modes of development” versus the “modes of production”.

These examples attempt to provide a historical line of reasoning to the definition of the mode of development in the information age. The new mode of development tied to the mode of production (capitalism) is in the technology of knowledge generation. or the ratio of the value of each unit of output to each unit of input determines technological relationships of production to development. experience gained through production. 15 p. In the industrial context. which are an extension of the modes of production. the mode of development increases the efficiency of the production and the nature and quantity of the product available. In the agrarian example provided. with the improvement of technology capable of communicating symbolic information. but still interacts with it. The cycle is self-perpuating. 17 . but in the idea of knowledge becoming the commodity itself. increases in labour and land provided the stimulus for growth. Castells calls this mode of development informational. The informational age.12 This is unique not in the application of knowledge in the process of production. which is distinct from the mode of production. has embraced a new mode of development unlike any previously considered. and power gained through the control of production coming together to create cultures and collective identities. improved energy sources and more efficient utilization of them increased productivity.11 This leaves the concept of modes of development. according to Castells. analyzing information and generating new information leading to a increase in the rate of communication.consumption of that which is produced. The productive capacity of a mode or production. In short. which previously existed in the industrial age. information processing and symbol communication. 11 12 p. or the mode of development.

be they economic. or “information age”. military. informational development could be described as a perpetual motion machine of sorts. 27 . subject to a complex definition of the underlying methods of production and development. As a result the technology of knowledge that defines the information age and the mode of development applied to the mode of production will have a deep societal impact. with a sense of continuity established from the agrarian age to the industrial age to the present post-industrial. the more new material it has with which to improve upon itself. As Castells states himself. The question that arises in the consideration of this work is how it relates to the thesis topic to which this review is intended to contribute.13 If one seeks a simpler explanation of what this series of books is about. as 13 p. with an understanding of how established concepts such as capitalism and statism fit in. a short answer is available – this book is about informationalism. his overall purpose is “to propose some elements of an exploratory. Informationalism is the new paradigm promoted by Castells. This informationalism as defined as Castells is based on the technology of knowledge and has the potential to impact across several level of society. crosscultural theory of economy and society in the information age as it specifically refers to the emergence of a new societal structure”.constituted by what he sees as a new standard in information technology. It is the nature of this impact that forms the foundation of Castells work. The more knowledge it generates. Castells further makes the point that technological production is present in all forms of society. Castells seems to tacitly acknowledge this. The use of ICT as a tool promotion of social cohesion in the European Union. or social. It would be accurate to say that accepting this term. noting that it is the pursuit of knowledge that characterizes informationalism. thereby increasing its capacity to generate new knowledge.

Having established the methodological definitions of the subject matter that he intends to use. cannot be undertaken as a purely statist endeavour.established in the initial methodology of the thesis development. The current role of technology expends exponentially in the view of Castells in that technology provides an interface between the various fields of technology in which language is generated. retrieved. Castells proceeds on to the information technology revolution. Defining the technology of communication through informationalism likewise establishes information communication technology as more than an external tool that must be approached hesitantly by European governments. with the underlying goal of accounting for the development of information technology and describing how the development of the new technological paradigm organized around information technology came to be. stored. The information technology revolution. and processed and . lest they be left behind. Informationalism makes the case that the technology of knowledge communication is integrated into and defining society actively. and reinforces the need for a community based approach supplemented by measured governmental intervention. The argument put forth by the thesis is similar. namely that the use of electronic governance is vital to the continued democratic accountability of the European Union as a supranational structure of governance. both in increasing transparency in governmental institutions and creating a common European identity that allows citizens to interrelate within the expanding boundaries of the Union. Castells work supports this assertion. The argument put forth by Castells is succinctly put – ignore the information age at your peril. thus putting the emphasis on how the technology is utilized.

While Castells’ approach to the overall character of the information age is particularly useful in establishing a context in which to evaluate the impact of technology on social structures. 14 15 p. Information technology is not simply an invention but an energy source. 30 p. Castells makes the argument that like all other technological revolutions. rather. the near worldwide spread of information technologies between the 1970s and the end of the 1990. is in the view of Castells. but as pervasive and with as great an impact as the previous industrial revolutions. characteristic of the information revolution –the technologies it develops are immediately applicable to its own development The specific field of communications is of greater interest to the development of the thesis than just the broader approach to the development age as a whole. They are not simply an external force effecting the balance of society. they form part of the fabric of society and are inexorably woven into it. on par with the tools used to generate energy in previous revolutions. this one is processoriented.15 There does exist a distinction which distinguished this revolution form the one that have occurred prior to this one however. The global proliferation of this technology is also worthy of note. An important point made in this argument by Castells is that the effects of technological revolutions such as the industrial revolution is that they are characterized by their pervasiveness. 31 . often taking on the form of colonialism.transmitted.14 The underlying goal is to convince the reader that the information technology revolution is not simply subject to hyperbole and distortion of its effects. By contrast. given the staggered worldwide export of the technologies of the industrial revolution. as we have witnessed in his description in the mode of development.

as previously mentioned. The use of telecommunications devices have gone through a process of automation of tasks.17 The information technology paradigm. providing a historical overview of the development of modern computer meditated communications technology. which was continually improved upon by those who used it. Castells acknowledges this progression. Although technology does not determine the shape of society. it does define how we approach it. “these are technologies to act on information. citing the development of computer communication protocols as an extension of existing telephone switching networks.16 An example of this may be presented in the invention of the telephone. That information is the raw material is the first of these. thus influencing our development. has specific characteristics that can effectively summarize the material foundation of the information society. 61 . making it a unique occurrence in contrast to previous revolutions. as approached by Castells. adding the users of the technology to the list of those able to improve it and the eventual reconfiguration of communications technologies to accept new forms of communication such as fax. 32 p. It is the fuel with which new information is generated. The self-perpetrating nature of the development of the information age is illustrated through the use of a practical example in the development of communications technology. the networking logic of any system or set of relationships using 16 17 p. Thirdly.the practical application of technology as it has been applied must be considered as well. As Castells summarizes it. not just information to act on technology”18 The second feature is the pervasiveness of the effects of these new technologies. experimentation of used and reconfiguration of applications. 46 18 p. telex and the now common computer processing signals.

as it is the proposal of my thesis that increasing social cohesion is dependent on these technological dependent networks that provide structure while at the same time remaining sufficiently flexibly for innovation to be considered possible. Indeed. in order to increase efficiency. The information age has a great deal of flexibility available to it in that organization and institutions can be modified. 19 The fifth characteristic of the information technology paradigm is the convergence of specific technologies into an integrated system. It is this flexibility that is the fourth characteristic of the new information technology paradigm advanced by Castells. This technological convergence is not particularly surprising in this instance. telecommunications has integrated other forms of information such as microprocessor and optoelectronic data transmission.technologies is a defining characteristic of the information technology revolution. as in the opinion of Castells. 62 . Castells sums up nicely the 19 p. although he does not specify how such an event would take place. The creative power and complex interactions amongst such large groups is now possible through the use of communications technology. as the network through which technological developments occur would dictate that the experience gained in one field would almost inevitably overflow into a closely related field. providing a networking structure that was previously too cumbersome to implement. the material basis of the organization can be reprogrammed and retooled. Telecommunications has experienced a shift from being the only form of information processing to becoming one of many. This idea of networking logic lends insight to the title of the work: The Network Society” and takes inspiration from the properties of networking logic in an analysis of the information society. The creative power of technological interaction and communication . The idea of networking logic is central to the development of the thesis topic.

in the opinion of Castells. as we do not see reality 20 21 p. rather than the means through which it is transmitted. a truncation of the process of communication. which up until that point had incorporated visual as well as auditory stimuli. The character of communication. the potential integration of text. 328 . becomes the subject of this particular chapter. represents a change in this two thousand year old pattern. images and sounds in the same system interacting from multiple points along a global network in conditions of open or affordable access.information technology paradigm as a multi-edged network. As he asserts. Castells again seeks to illustrate through historical interpretation the development of information culture. the End of the Mass Audience. and the Rise of Interactive Networks. 65 p. the price paid for the establishment of the foundation of human communication through the written discourse was to relegate the world of sounds and images to a position behind the written word as a means of communication. In his interpretation of what he called the culture of real virtuality. oral and visual modes of communication have been integrated into a single communications structure.21 Castells invokes the works of Neil Postman as an illustration noting that the nature of communication does have an impact on culture.20 The Culture of Real Virtuality: The Integration of Electronic Communication. The initial creation of written language seemed. For the first time the written. As Castells puts it. and complex. The introduction of communication into a interactive network however. which is comprehensive. does fundamentally change the nature of communication.

but depends on the interaction between the sender and receiver in the interpretation of the message. The popular adoption of VCRs after a lengthy hiatus also changed the viewing habits of the population. using such measures as the creation of speciality stations and talk-radio. walkmans. The key issue for Castells is that while mass-media is a one-way communication system. 337 .22 The issue of the method of communication that has dominated the transfer of information in society up until this point. The rise of the mass media is approached as an initial example of the move away from the written word towards a more visually based process of communication. changes our conceptions of society. is one which Castells seeks to address. is what Castells refers to as “the new media and the diversification of mass audience24. 328 p. Personalized audio devices. It represented the end of the system of communication dominated by the typographical mind. particularly in the change that has been forced upon it by the introduction of new technologies. in that they gained the ability to 22 23 p. Newspapers began publishing local or regional editions in an effort to appear more relevant to their audience. the actual process of communication is not. This process began in the 1980s with a personalization of technology attempting to compensate for the unidirectional nature of traditional mass media communication to that point. Of importance to the main topic however. Altering the means of how that language is communicated. 331 24 p. but rather through the lens of language.as it is. The advent of television is presented as the foremost example of this. created a challenge for radio broadcasters to diversify their content to appeal to a dwindling listening base.23 This system of communication is predominantly unidirectional however.

signifying a significant diversification in the content being offered by sheer size and competition for the pre-existing audience if nothing else. drives home the point for Castells that the mass audience. The design of broadcasting intented to appeal to an audience seeking global news is likely to be undertaken in a method different from that required for the presentation of music videos. although still as much a mass as ever before. There exists a greater desire on the part of the broadcaster to appeal to the ideologies. tastes and values of the viewing 25 26 p. rather that simply appeal to the lowest common dominator of “what was on”. The rise of independent cable television networks challenged the dominance of established governmental broadcasters. The UNESCO mid-1990s estimate of 1 billion televisions worldwide. Instead specific content is available dependent on viewing preference and personal taste.26 The message it receives is no longer uniform within the confines of a particular state or region. 338 p. The preferences of the audience now have some say in determining the nature of the content. but sees as more important the introduction of advanced communications networks which allowed for the creation of diversified cable networks.selectively reinforce their watching habits. with a predicted annual five percent annual growth rate. 339 . is no longer a homogenous body. 25 Castells sees the improvement of visual recording technology as important in encouraging diversification in the diversification of the audience. As Castells notes. in the European Union itself the number of cable television stations rose from 40 in 1980 to 150 by the mid-1990s. The segmentation of the audience into specific fields of interest shapes the development of the communications medium as well. allowing them greater participation through the ability to participate in broadcasting at the local level.

This emphasis on the importance of media development might bed the question of its relevance to the development of the information society and the practical application of this information. Even if the medium is capable of delivering a certain message. but this does not determine the content. Castells makes an interesting play on the concept of the global village with this in mind. He asserts that. The basis of all communication languages is that of machine language. “…we are not living in a global village. which takes the form of binary code – a collection of 0’s (signifying an electronic gate as 27 28 p. 341 p. Of greater relevance however are his conclusions on the nature of this communication. but in customized cottages globally produced and locally distributed.28 Although Castells does not explain why the technology of this network is difficult to censor or control. He makes an excellent point on the universality of the digital language and the networking logic of the communication leading to a global. horizontal communications system.audience. 352 . The rise of computer mediated communication is examined in some detail by Castells. He uses this to establish a link with the advent of computer mediated communication.”27 The communications network might well be global with the ability to reach the whole of the population. but he is quite correct in asserting that the only method for controlling this network is not to be in it. but Castells uses this initial example of the effects of personal preference on the content of the medium. with an overview of the French and American networks established and the idea of a closed network versus an open network and the technology behind it. that is by no means a guarantee that it will actually be delivered. The underlying reason for this difficulty is in the nature or diital communication.

spared the creation of independent networks designed to tailor themselves to the needs of the community using them. it is not possible to ensure absolute control over such a network. which means that no matter what measure is undertaken. thousands of independent networks exist around the world. 353 . The development of this network technology was spurred by the contribution of private citizens modifying the existing networking protocols to spread this communication technologies. No microprocessor based technology (which now encompasses almost all aspects of modern communications) can escape this fact.being open) and 1’s (signifying an electronic gate as being closed). University campuses have provided much of the effort in the creation of what has become known as the Internet. 29 This illustrates a argument that Castells attempts to make throughout his discussion of the rise of interactive networks – namely that once the technological means became available. Any measure can be circumvented if the proper knowledge is available. many confined to university campus. and others on a national or international scale. It is this open nature of this network which leads him to conclude that a commercial Internet would arise alongside the current 29 p. Castells notes that the initial digital communication network (ARPANET). as was the case when two students not included in the US defence project created the Xmodem protocol. and Castells credits them with providing the open characterization of the network. that allowed the use of standard phone lines for communication while bypassing the expensive communications systems developed by the US government and restricted to a privileges few universities. As a convincing validation of this argument. those with the technological know how would use their knowledge to create a horizontal network expanding on the original project. some on a local scale.

372 .internet. The overall social and cultural pattern of this communications network is subject to four characteristics. in a way that no previous media could. Castells effectively establishes a historical context to the symbolic communication of concepts through communications mediums and ties that in to the modern context in an effective manner. the most important feature of this network for Castells is that it included all cultural expressions in all their diversity. His invention of many of the terms used in the discussion of the nature of the communications network. There exists widespread social and cultural differentiation across this network. Any technology seeking to form a separate communications network would be subject to the same basic principles that the current network is. seems somewhat awkard. allowing the secure transmission of commercial communication. but is built on a solid methodological base with emphasis on the works of Daniel Bell and Mark 30 31 p. This has been tacitly acknowledged in the rise of e-commerce on the internet and the more reasonable goal of remaining ahead of the wave of those who would infiltrate the communication network through the use of encryption and the law as a means of deterring such action. 357h p. both audibly and visually. which contributes to the second characteristic o of social stratification. Castells seems to ignore his previous statement that the only way to control the communications network is to remain outside of it. And finally. Thirdly.31 This overview of the work of Manual Castells has the primary benefit of providing an insight into the nature of communication and the networks upon which it is established. these diverse messages are all within the same communications medium.30 While an interesting theory. in the view of Castells.

Postman. as Castells notes that the segmentation is based on a series of personal preferences. . but the universality of the network itself redeems the basis of my argument. examining local and national efforts to create a common series of preferences that are reinforced through the use of this communications and social network. The novel interpretation of the development of the information age as a force segmenting society does not contribute in a positive way towards my goal of establishing the use of Information communications technology as a tool of social cohesion in the European context. rather than an external force. which suggests that a further examination of Castells influences is necessary to effectively understand his work. My thesis work will have to account for this.

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