Manuel Castells perspectives on the challenges of the network society



This paper is a response to the final chapter of Manuel Castells’ work The Internet Galaxy. It will provide an overview of the author’s perspective on the challenges imposed by the network society and Castells’ judgment will be analyzed by comparing with other scholarly sources on the same topic. Manuel Castells has no qualms in admitting the fact that the network society “offers as many opportunities as it raises challenges” (2001, p.275). In his opinion the beneficial aspect of this network society were features like innovation and freedom of thinking that it encouraged but these were gradually overtaken by oppressive and restrictive ways. Instead of encouraging freedom of expression, it provides the means of controlling information as well as prompts the biased and monopolized use of the data (2001, p.277). This is an honest take from the author regarding the potential and somewhat long-term aftereffects of network society. Chris Kitchen argues by assuring that the most incredible fruit of network society “is the role of social media in the recent social movements and uprisings, particularly the momentous events of 2011 starting in North Africa and the Middle East” (2012). From this perspective rapid information sharing and globalization that is primarily regulated by information technology has induced awareness among people regarding their human, civil and political rights. On the contrary, Luke Tredinnick disagrees by providing the example of the democracy protests in Buran during 2007.