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  1. 1. Theories of the Information Society & Network Society
  2. 2. This lecture... <ul><li>The second and third in the series of five theoretical approaches </li></ul><ul><li>Structuration Theory </li></ul><ul><li>Information Society </li></ul><ul><li>Network Society </li></ul><ul><li>Global Flow of Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Time-Space Disjuncture </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Information Society <ul><li>There are many definitions of the IS, </li></ul><ul><li>some of them are: </li></ul><ul><li>a society in which the creation, distribution, </li></ul><ul><li>diffusion, use and manipulation of information is a significant economic, political and cultural activity </li></ul><ul><li>Societies that have become dependent upon complex electronic information networks and which allocate a major portion of their resources to information and communication activities” (Melody, 1990: 26-7) </li></ul><ul><li>Information Society means social and economic structure, where productive usage of a resource such as information, as well as knowledge-intensive production performs a prominent role…and where individuals, such as consumers, workers, use information extensively (OECD, 1994) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Closely related concepts... <ul><li>Post-industrial society </li></ul><ul><li>Post-fordism </li></ul><ul><li>Post-modern society </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge society </li></ul><ul><li>Network society </li></ul>
  5. 5. Theoretical Foundations <ul><li>Genealogy of the information society concept is usually traced to a term “post-industrial society - a term first used by sociologist Daniel Bell (1973). Refer to Frank Webster, Chapter 3 on elaboration of the post-industrial society. </li></ul><ul><li>Another source of the information society concept is attributed to debates on the “information economy” developed by American economists Fritz Machlup (1962) and Marc Porat (1977). </li></ul>
  6. 6. Theoretical Foundations <ul><li>The terms “information economy”, “information society”, “new economy” and “Networked economy”- all build on some of Bell´s ideas on the post-industrial society. </li></ul><ul><li>Characteristics of the post-industrial society: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rise of the service sector </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decline of agricultural-based economy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Predominance of “information-based” work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge now key factor in the economy, outstripping physical plant / manufacturing </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Bell on Information Society... <ul><li>In the pre-industrial society life is a game against nature where one works with raw muscle power (Bell 1973 126); </li></ul>In the industrial era where machines predominates in a technical and rationalized existance, life is a game against fabricated nature (126). In contrast to both, life in the post-industrial society based on services, is a game between persons (127) what counts is not raw muscle power or energy but information (127)
  8. 8. Webster´s Five Types of Theories <ul><li>Most of the work in information society is futuristic and technologically deterministic and informed by few theoretical insights. </li></ul><ul><li>However, Frank Webster (2000) has build a useful typology to understand IS theories: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technological </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Economic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Occupational </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Spatial </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Webster´s Five Types of Theories <ul><li>Technological vision of the IS: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Puts emphasis on ICTs and their transformative powers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technological innovation: new possibilities in transmission and storage of information. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Society has moved from the “Industrial Revolution” and now entered an “Information Age”. “Computer technology is to the information age what mechanisation was to the industrial revolution” (John Naisbitt quoted in Frank Webster). </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Webster´s Five Types of Theories <ul><li>Economic vision of the IS: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Concerned with “economics of information” (Fritz Machlup). Assesses the size and growth of the information industries. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Puts emphasis on the importance of knowledge to the economy. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technological innovation central for increasing productivity and thus for growth of economics and competition between economies (inspired by Joseph Schumpeter´s thinking). </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Webster´s Five Types of Theories <ul><li>Occupational vision of the IS: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focuses on occupational change- argues that the predominance of occupation is found in information work: “service workers” now in the majority </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergence of “white collar” society and decline of “blue collar” workers (influenced by Daniel Bell) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Many OECD and EU documents on the IS focus on this aspect of the IS. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Webster´s Five Types of Theories <ul><li>Spatial vision of the IS: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Puts emphasis on the information networks which connect locations and have great impact on the organisation of time and space. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Information Networks are linking together locations within and between offices, towns, regions, nations, continents and the entire world, seen in increase in transborder data, telecom facilities, ISDN, movements of money across nations, internet (Castells, 1996) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Concepts of “information superhighway” and “wired society” are found in these arguments. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Webster´s Five Types of Theories <ul><li>Cultural vision of the IS: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contemporary culture is manifestly more heavily information laden than any of its predecessors- we are existing in a media saturated environment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Growth of institutions dedicated to investing everyday life with symbolic significance - e.g. global advertising, publishing empires, film industry, fashion industry etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactivity of new technologies provides many channels to consume cultural products, thus increasing our dependence on information for everyday interaction. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Critical Perspectives <ul><li>A crop of critical writers (mainly leftist) criticise the dominant view of the information society (e.g. Webster, Robins, Garnham, Preston, Melody, Mansell, Freeman). Some of the views are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Theories too technologically deterministic- assumptions that technologies shape society more than society shapes technology (for instance see role of politics and military in determining technology). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All too often theories of the IS are seen as universally valid. However, assumptions about the information society in the West are not necessary relevant for the developing countries. Global Divide (the three strands) </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Implications for Policy <ul><li>The Developed world: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>R&D driving force in innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Life long learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Flexible employment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Huge investment in broadband (ICT) and transport infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Constant policy reorientation due to fast changes in technology </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Implications for Policy <ul><li>The Developing world: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lack of infrastructure makes it hard for developing countries to fully become information societies. Still Africa cannot remain behind. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dominant discourse on IS (privatisation, liberalisation, open trade) problematic for the developing world. Discourse offers “narrow” vision of development focusing on economic growth and GDP. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digital divide still a grim reality for many countries in the South </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Food for Thought… <ul><li>Does the IS constitute a radical break from the industrial society, just as industrialisation “displaced” agricultural society? </li></ul><ul><li>Are “information” and “knowledge” driving the global economy? </li></ul><ul><li>Can least developed countries become part of the IS? </li></ul><ul><li>Is the IS benefiting everyone in the developed world (e.g. Europe, US)? </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Network Society <ul><li>Builds onto the foundations of the Information society and focuses on networks and their organizational forms </li></ul>
  19. 19. What is a Network Society? <ul><li>A new techno-economic system (society) where the key social structures and activities are organized around electronically processes information networks </li></ul><ul><li>Social Structures : involve the organized arrangements of humans in relations of production, consumption and reproduction, experiences and power expressed in meaningful communication coded by culture </li></ul><ul><li>Networks: a set of interconnected nodes, with no centre </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>So its not just about networks nor social networks because networks have been very old forms of social organization. It is rather about social networks which process and manage information and are using micro-electronic based technologies </li></ul>
  21. 21. Examples of nodes... <ul><li>A network is a set of interconnected nodes, a node is a point at which a curve intersects itself. For example: </li></ul><ul><li>They are stock exchange markets and their ancillary advanced service centers, in the network of global financial flows; </li></ul><ul><li>They are national councils of ministers and European commissioners in the political network that governs the EU </li></ul><ul><li>They are coco fields, clandestine labaratories, secret landing strips, street gangs and money laundering financial institutions in the network of drug trafficking that penetrates economies, societies and states through out the world... </li></ul>
  22. 22. Nodes continued... <ul><li>They are television systems, entertainment studios, computer graphics, news teams and mobile device generating, transmitting and receiving signals in the global network of the new media at the roots of cultural expression and public opinion in the Information age </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The typology defined by networks determines that distance (intensity of interaction) between two points is shorter if both points are nodes in the same network that if they were not. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The distance (physical, social, economic, political, cultural) for a given point varies from zero( and infinite ( </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. Characteristics of Networks contd... <ul><li>The new economy is organized around global networks of capital, management and information whose access to technological know-how is at the roots of productivity and competitiveness </li></ul><ul><li>The work process is individualized, labour is disaggregated in its performance and reintegrated in its outcome through the multiplicity of interconnected tasks in different sites, ushering in a new division of labour based on the attributes/capacities of each worker rather than on the organization of the task </li></ul><ul><li>For the first time, capitalist modes of production shapes social relations over the entire planet...(networks and financial flows) </li></ul>
  24. 24. Characteristics continued... <ul><li>Technological/technical convergence (telecoms, data comms and Mass comm) leading to: </li></ul><ul><li>Social integration/impact </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The demise of Mass audiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Two-way communication and interactivity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The death of time and distance </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Personalized media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Globalization and Cultural standardization </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Transformations in Politics and democracy (see virtual political parties, e-voting, e-referenda, e-advocacy, e-news etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Transformation of work and employment </li></ul>
  25. 25. Characteristics of these networks <ul><li>Networks work in binary logic of inclusion and exclusion (with processes of domination and counter domination) </li></ul><ul><li>Digital networks are global (emergence of globally interdependent social structures) </li></ul><ul><li>Adopt to operating environment and expansive </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis shifted to organizational transformation </li></ul><ul><li>Self-reconfigarable (unity of purpose and flexibility in execution) (Appropriate for a capitalist economy based on innovation, globalization and decentralized concentration; for work, workers and firms based on flexibility and adaptability </li></ul>
  26. 26. Space of flows... <ul><li>Real power is to be found within networks rather than confined in global cities (Castells, 2001, 409) </li></ul><ul><li>Power of flows takes precedence over flows of power and </li></ul><ul><li>Network a place for the re-organization of power relationships </li></ul>
  27. 27. Criticism <ul><li>Digital Divide (see Norris Pippa, 2001) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Global divide: Not all Countries are a part of the Net (Gabriel Bar Harm) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social divide: social equality is at stake since certain categories of people participate more than others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Democratic divide </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Castells exaggerates the importance of links in the networks (Jan Van Dijk) </li></ul><ul><li>The rise of counter-networks (of the excluded) </li></ul>
  28. 28. Literature to consult <ul><li>Webster, Frank (2002) Theories of the Information Society. London: Routledge (2nd Edition) </li></ul><ul><li>Curran, J & Gurevitch, M (2005) Mass Media & Society . London: Hodder Arnold (4th Edition) - Chapter 15 by N. Garnham </li></ul><ul><li>Castells, M (1996) The Rise of the Network Society .Vol. 1 of the Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture . Oxford: Blackwell </li></ul><ul><li>Hamelink, C (1999) The Ethics of Cyberspace . London: Sage </li></ul><ul><li>Servaes, J & N. Capentier (eds.) (2005) Towards a Sustainable IS: Deconstructing the WSIS . Bristol: Intellect Books </li></ul><ul><li>Van Dijk J (2nd Ed.) (2006) The Network Society, Sage Publication, London </li></ul>
  29. 29. Q U I Z: Information and Network Society
  30. 30. <ul><li>Q1. The information society can be described as a society in which; </li></ul><ul><li>The creation, distribution, diffusion, use and manipulation of information is a central economic, political and cultural activity </li></ul><ul><li>Information is more important than knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Every one on the global has equal access to information since information can now reach all corners of the globe </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>Q2. The Information and Network societies are driven by </li></ul><ul><li>Economic ambitions </li></ul><ul><li>The need for global political, social and cultural integration </li></ul><ul><li>Developments in technological innovation </li></ul><ul><li>America and Europe </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>Q3. The Post Industrial Society was a concept first used by Daniel Bell to mean... </li></ul><ul><li>A society were knowledge is a key factor in the economy, outstripping manufacturing </li></ul><ul><li>The rise of a service sector </li></ul><ul><li>Decline in agricultural-based work </li></ul><ul><li>Predominance of Information based work </li></ul>
  33. 33. <ul><li>Q. 4. The Post-Fordism can be described as: </li></ul><ul><li>The decline in the production of the ford car brand </li></ul><ul><li>The decline in “mass production”, “mass audiences” </li></ul><ul><li>The Post-industrial Society </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>Q. 5. Who called the Information Society “the Knowledge Industry”. </li></ul><ul><li>Fritz Machlup (1962) </li></ul><ul><li>Manuel Castels (1999) </li></ul><ul><li>Daniel Bell (1973) </li></ul>
  35. 35. <ul><li>Q.6 What is the Japanese word for Information society </li></ul><ul><li>Johoka Shakai </li></ul><ul><li>Konnichiwa </li></ul><ul><li>Nanika atta </li></ul>
  36. 36. <ul><li>Q7. A Network soceity is one in which: </li></ul><ul><li>The network economy stresses that businesses will work collectively in webs or as part of business ecosystems rather than as stand-alone units. </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge services and knowledge value put content into an economic context </li></ul><ul><li>Knowledge services integrates Knowledge management , within a Knowledge organization , that trades in a Knowledge market . </li></ul>
  37. 37. <ul><li>Q8. The following critic(s) have accused Castells of being too technologically deterministic. </li></ul><ul><li>Daniel Bell (1973) </li></ul><ul><li>Norris Pippa (2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Nicholas Garham (2004) </li></ul>
  38. 38. <ul><li>Q9. What was the World Summit of the Information Society about </li></ul><ul><li>A pair of UN sponsored conferences about Information and Communication (IS) that took place in 2003 (Geneva) and 2005 (Tunis) </li></ul><ul><li>Conference aimed to bridge the so-called global digital divide separating rich countries from poor countries by spreading the access to internet in the developing countries </li></ul><ul><li>Was a conference established 17 May as a World Information Day </li></ul>
  39. 39. <ul><li>Q10. Raw muscle power was to the pre-industrial society, machines were to the industrial society and ………….. is to the post-industrial society (Daniel Bell, 1973). </li></ul><ul><li>Food </li></ul><ul><li>Nuclear power </li></ul><ul><li>Information </li></ul>
  40. 40. <ul><li>Q.11. When we say the Information/Network society has brought about the demise of “Mass Audiences” we mean. </li></ul><ul><li>The fragmentation of audiences by media houses or communication business to suit their different needs </li></ul><ul><li>The death of our ancestors who lived in the pre and post industrial era </li></ul><ul><li>There is no more masses left to network With in the Network society </li></ul>
  41. 41. <ul><li>Q12.The nature of Castels networks are that they are: </li></ul><ul><li>Global </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusive as much as exclusive </li></ul><ul><li>Have the same unit of purpose, goals, motivation </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasize organisational forms </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriate for capitalist economics and are based on flexibility and adaptability </li></ul><ul><li>All the above </li></ul>
  42. 42. Answers <ul><li>A </li></ul><ul><li>AC </li></ul><ul><li>ABCD </li></ul><ul><li>BC </li></ul><ul><li>A </li></ul><ul><li>A </li></ul><ul><li>ABC </li></ul><ul><li>C </li></ul><ul><li>ABC </li></ul><ul><li>C </li></ul><ul><li>A </li></ul><ul><li>F </li></ul>
  43. 43. Food for thought.. <ul><li>Think of examples where the relationship between media and globalization does not work according to the network society thesis. ... </li></ul>
  44. 44. MESSAGES FOR STUDENTS... <ul><li>Seminar this week (Friday 12 October): Anders Moe is discussing the spread and popularity of Japanese comics and anime in Room 207. The seminar will combine all the groups and will take place at 12H00 </li></ul><ul><li>MA students: Deadline for sending Sarah Chiumbu outline of term papers ideas is tomorrow, Friday, 12 October. Her email is: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Conference on Africa: on Monday 15 October, the Freedom of Expression Foundation is Hosting a seminar on `New news out of Africa`? The seminar will be discussing media images of Africa and how Norwegian journalists and Norwegian media presents the various aspects of change in African countries. Place: Radisson SAS Scandinavia Hotel Time:11.15-15.00 </li></ul>