Network society

The term Network Society describes several different phenomena related to the social, political, economic and cultural changes caused by the spread of networked, digital information and communications technologies. A number of academics (see below) are credited with coining the term since the 1990s and several competing definitions exist. The intellectual origins of the idea can be traced back to the work of early social theorists such as Georg Simmel who analyzed the effect of modernization and industrial capitalism on complex patterns of affiliation, organization, production and experience. The term network society was coined in Dutch by Jan van Dijk in his book De Netwerkmaatschappij (1991) (The Network Society), and used by Manuel Castells in The Rise of the Network Society (1996), the first part of his trilogy The Information Age. In 1978 James Martin used the related term 'The Wired Society' indicating a society that is connected by mass- and telecommunication networks.[citation needed] Barry Wellman and the team of Roxanne Hiltz and Murray Turoff also have done work on the concept of network society.[citation needed] Van Dijk defines the network society as a society in which a combination of social and media networks shapes its prime mode of organization and most important structures at all levels (individual, organizational and societal). He compares this type of society to a mass society that is shaped by groups, organizations and communities ('masses') organized in hysical co-presence.[citation needed] [edit]Barry Wellman, Hiltz and Turoff Wellman studied the network society as a sociologist at the University of Toronto. His first formal work was in 1973, "The Network City" with a more comprehensive theoretical statement in 1988. Since his 1979 "The Community Question", Wellman has argued that societies at any scale are best seen as networks (and "networks of networks") rather than as bounded groups in hierarchical structures. More recently, Wellman has contributed to the theory of social network analysis with an emphasis on individualized networks, also known as "networked individualism". In his studies, Wellman focuses on three main points of the network society: community, work and organizations. He states that with recent technological advances an individual's community can be socially and spatially diversified. Organizations can also benefit from the expansion of networks in that having ties with members of different organizations can help with specific issues.[citation needed] In 1978, Roxanne Hiltz and Murray Turoff's The Network Nation explicitly built on Wellman's community analysis, taking the book's title from Craven and Wellman's "The Network City". The book argued that computer supported communication could transform society. It was remarkably prescient, as it was written well before the advent of the Internet. Turoff and Hiltz were the progenitors of an early computer supported communication system, called EIES.