Network Society course (I). Juan Freire: About the importance of the Network Society

Notes from the course Network Society: Social Changes, Organizations and Citizens, Barcelona, 15-17 October, 2008.

About the importance of the Network Society
Juan Freire, Universidad de A Coruña

Some reflections:

  • Elites are disconnected, as is citizenry at large. Debate is needed as the future is at stake.
  • The process of change is led by institutions and citizens, intensively using technology, hence technology is a driver of change and deserves close attention.

Concerning the actual state of the situation worldwide, framed by a deep financial — and systemic — crisis, what causes can be attributed to the changes that the Network Society brought, and what solutions could these change that Network Society brings help to contribute. Is it times for a deep change?

Some questions/concepts

Alessandro Baricco, in The Barbarians, states that we are all, in some way, invaders entering new worlds.

Gartner (2008) Hype Cycle for Social Software: any technology first enters a peak of expectations, of excitedness, then falls down through dissillusionment, entering, at last, a slope of enlightenment where real benefits are extracted from a reflected use of the new technology.

Organizations and people might also be in different parts of the cycle, seeing each other as latecomers or as invaders.

Benjamin H. Bratton: what if people adapted to the net, and not the other way? What if the network was the platform, and the “real” economy adopted it as its natural framework?

Michel Bauwens: this is no more capitalism, nor communism, but communalism.


Video by Felipe González Gil, including the opening by Juan Freire and an interview to myself about the reasons to have organized this course.


Network Society: Social Changes, Organizations and Citizens (2008)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2008) “Network Society course (I). Juan Freire: About the importance of the Network Society” In ICTlogy, #61, October 2008. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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7 Comments to “Network Society course (I). Juan Freire: About the importance of the Network Society” »

  1. I beg to differ from 50% of the initial reflections.

    Are élites truly disconnected? I don’t think so. They are connected among them. They connect in a different way than the ‘rest of us’. In many cases they can still afford not to connect to the rest of us, unless they want to.

    One current example. An élite bundles subprime mortgages into financial products so sophisticated that almost no one understand them. Then, some of those products end up as a Lehman bond in the hands of a normal guy in Spain who made the mistake of trusting his financial advisor, who might himself had made the mistake of believing his financial advisor. Some one on the elite made the profit; and because THEY ARE CONNECTED, were able to transfer he losses to others.

    We, the ones that connect, might be somewhat too complacent.

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