Materials for an exploratory theory of the network society
Manel Castells

Abstract

This article aims at proposing some elements for a grounded theory of the network society. The network society is the social structure characteristic of theInformation Age, as tentatively identified by empirical, cross-cultural investigation. It permeates most societies in the world, in various cultural and institutional manifestations, as the industrial society characterized the social structureof both capitalism and statism for most of the twentieth century.

Social structures are organized around relationships of production/consumption, power, and experience, whose spatio–temporal configurations constitutecultures. They are enacted, reproduced, and ultimately transformed by socialactors, rooted in the social structure, yet freely engaging in conflictive social practices, with unpredictable outcomes. A fundamental feature of social structure inthe Information Age is its reliance on networks as the key feature of social morphology.

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