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The Internet Galaxy: Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society (Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies) Hardcover – 18 Oct 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 1st Edition edition (18 Oct 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199241538
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199241538
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 2.3 x 14.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 833,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Attempting an academic survey of the internet is an heroic task ... Manuel Castells is better placed than most to attempt such an undertaking, and pulls it off with verve and clarity. (RSA Journal)

Authoritative guide to the origins of the internet, how it is affecting every area of human life, and its business applications. (Sunday Times Books of the Year 2001)

This small but complete volume is a critical introduction to internet-related theories, while doubling as a simplified reader on his own ideas. The book should help to spread his influence beyond the faithful. (Prospect)

is the best attempt by a big thinker to grapple with the net's long-term implications for our society. (Mark Leonard, New Statesman)

The Internet is shaping society and in turn being shaped by society. It takes a scholar of Manuel Castells's range to do justice to this phenomenon. His book is learned without being pompous, and insightful without being impenetrable. If we ever get a discipline of Internet studies, this will be one of its founding texts. (John Naughton, author of A Brief History of the Future: The Origins of the Internet)

Manuel Castells has proved once again that he has an unmatched synoptic capacity to make sense of the complexities of a networked world, and here writes with clarity and insight about everything from the history of the technology to the subcultures that have done so much to shape it. (Geoff Mulgan, author of Communications and Control and Connexity Director of the Performance and Innovation Unit, The Cabinet Office and head of the Prime Minister's Forward Strategy Unit)

Thoroughly researched and truly global in scope. Castells provides balanced covergae of e-business and the new economy: the politics of the Internet, including privacy and freedom: and the geography of the Internet. Highly recommended for academic libraries. (Library Journal)

[An] excellent, readable, nontechnical summary of the history, social implications and likely future of Internet business. (Publishers Weekly)

Castells is probably the world's most highly regarded commentator on the information age and new economic order. (Management Today: Guru Guide)

Adam Smith explained how capitalism worked, and Karl Marx explained why it didn't. Now the social and economic relations of the Information Age have been captured by Manuel Castells. (The Wall Street Journal)

A readable, articulate and persuasive account of why the internet's most powerful impacts on the shape of business, politics and society may be yet to come. Castells is the nearest thing the internet has to a founding philosopher. (Charles Leadbetter - Financial Times)

Book Description

The 'Seer of Cyberspace' reflects on the internet

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The story of the creation and development of the Internet is one of an extraordinary human adventure. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I already knew the book and, being one of the main current scholars of comunication theories, I wanted to keep some of his books in my private library.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gaurav Sharma VINE VOICE on 21 Sep 2008
Format: Paperback
I first came across Castells' work including this book as well as his wider hypothesis about a highly networked world in 2004. Ever since, and following a humble attempt at an academic essay later, I remain deeply sceptical of a widely networked world and an Internet galaxy which he so eloquently writes about.

Marshall McLuhan said the immortal words "the medium is message". Via this book Castells asserts that the "network is the message" and the Internet is the "very fabric" of our lives. He prudently explains that a network is a set of interconnected nodes and a very old form of human practice, lest one commits the fallacy of presuming it to be something merely or exclusively electronic.

In this book he explores the culture of the Internet, e-business, new economy, dotcom boom (and bust), politics of civil society and of cyberspace - all the usual suspects. Networks are proliferating in all domains of the economy and society, outperforming and "outcompeting" vertically organised corporations and centralised bureaucracies, according to him. However, I think this book is a bit short sighted. Having read it many times over, I remain convinced that rather than hypothesizing about the "Internet Galaxy", Castells has put forward a new age theory of globalisation - which has winners and losers, and is littered with pluses and pitfalls.

Are those who live on less than a $1 a day in this Internet Galaxy? Perhaps they are caught in a time warp if this Internet Galaxy is here. Is the destitute kid in sub-Saharan Africa part of a "Network" when he walks miles to get a pot of water? What about parts of the world, and there are some, where they have no electricity and running water, let alone the Internet. The author and the wider academia describe it as the "Digital Divide".
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Dec 2003
Format: Paperback
This is essential reading for those interested in the social, rather than the technical, implications of the internet revolution. A sociologist based at the University of Berkeley in San Francisco, Castells has been dubbed the "premiere philosopher of the internet revolution".
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6 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Oct 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have always wanted to know more about the internet.How did it all begin and what can the internet do for me. The starts for with information on how the internet started and the research that went on. It continues talking about how to make a webpage and a online business. The book also has a list of web sites that you might like to visit. This is agreat book for anyone who would like to learn more about the internet or would like to know about online business. This is a good book and well worth the money.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 35 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant analysis 18 Feb 2003
By Bill Godfrey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
It is part of the conventional wisdom that the Internet affects all of our lives, is a key element in development of the 'new economy', and is becoming a major factor in political development. At the same time, how the Internet interacts with other influences and what social and technological trends are going on under the surface is not well understood. It is, however, so central to the development of our economy and society that it is essential to understand it.
Manuel Castells has produced a brilliant analysis of these issues. The book is written for both an academic and a general readership and meets the needs of both excellently, although some parts of it are reasonably hard work for the generalist. The reward, at least for this reader, is a far clearer understanding of the dynamics of development of our networked society and the issues that need to be confronted. It is essential reading for anyone concerned with economic or political development at any level from local community to global issues.
In style the book belongs to what I think of as the European tradition of clear and careful analysis and exposition, rather than the common American approach to business books of heavy reliance on drawing conclusions from examples derived from 'great name' companies. The result is a book that requires serious concentration in order to follow the complex, sometimes contradictory and paradoxical influences that the author elucidates for us.
It is directed primarily to the reader as citizen, rather than specifically aiming to help business people toward profitable application of Internet technology. In consequence, as well as providing a valuable overview of the dynamics of development of our national and global economy and society, it contains useful reflections on ethics and governance at the business level and also on the potential benefits and risks to the development of civil society nationally and internationally.
The author's starting point is that (the dot points following are slightly modified quotations excerpted from the 'Opening' to the book):
* The technology of the Internet provides the means of bringing together reliance on networks, dominant in private interaction, with the capacity for coordination of tasks and management of complexity, for which organizations have historically relied on hierarchical command and control.
* The logic, language and constraints of the Internet are not well understood beyond technological matters. Popular understanding is driven by myth, ideology and gossip more than by a realistic assessment of the issues.
* People, institutions, companies and society at large, transform technology by modifying and experimenting with it. The Internet transforms the way we communicate and do things and, by doing many things with the Internet, we transform the Internet itself.
* It follows that the Internet is a particularly malleable technology, susceptible of being deeply modified by its social practice, and leading to a whole range of potential social outcomes - to be discovered by experience, not proclaimed beforehand. Neither utopia nor dystopia, the Internet is the expression of ourselves - through a specific code of communication, which we must understand if we want to change our reality.
The first two chapters offer lessons from the history of the Internet and a description of the culture that gave rise to, and sustains it. Chapters 3 through 6 discuss e-business, the new economy, the concepts of virtual communities and networked society and key political issues of civil society, privacy and liberty. Chapter 7 is concerned with multimedia, while Chapters 8 and 9 are concerned with the geography of the Internet and the digital divide. There is an 8 page conclusion on the challenges of the network society, in which the mask of the analyst slips somewhat to reveal the passionate advocate of what Soros in The Crisis of Global Capitalism called the open society and to echo Laszlo's call in Macroshift for a 'fundamental revolution of consciousness'. Castells argues:
"Until we rebuild, both from the bottom up and from the top down, our institutions of governance and democracy, we will not be able to stand up to the fundamental challenges we are facing. And if democratic, political institutions cannot do it, no one else will or can."
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A compelling analysis of the network society 26 Feb 2002
By "paultimmers" - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
(This review has been submitted on behalf of Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner for Enterprise and Information Society)
Manuel Castells new book presents a compelling analysis of the influence of the Internet, considering topics as diverse as individual communication and freedoms, the new dynamics of social movements, business networks in the new economy, and geographic development patterns such as metropolization and digital divide.
The attraction of this book is in several aspects.
Firstly, it references up-to-date research data, making the arguments presented highly credible. For example, he gives a well considered assessment of the role of the Internet for social communication and community-building.
Secondly, Castells addresses the network society from a rich set of perspectives, taking into account both social and economic theory.
Thirdly, he presents a balanced view with respect to the impact of the Internet, observing at times profound and even transformational changes such as in business networks, while being more reserved about its influence in other cases, for example on politics.
The book is rich in well-founded observations and reasoning, while at the same time staying away from speculation or hype. Even if some may contest Castells' interpretations at times, they are always food for thought. They invite to apply the thinking on related phenomena of the network society such as the development of the wireless society or the impact of broadband.
For anyone interested in the policy in the network society I can highly recommend this book.
Erkki Liikanen
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A good introductory literature 5 Jun 2002
By Suckwoo Lee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Manuel Castells is, with no doubt, the leading figure in the sociology of information. That field has been the fastest rising area in the sociology. It deals with the interaction between IT, the economy, and society.
Manuel Castells secured his position with the book, ¡®The Information City¡¯ (1989). This book grounded the theoretical framework. His three volumes of ¡®Information Age¡¯ have been widely used as the textbook in the class. Those volumes have the rich depth and are well written, conclusive on each issue. But that trilogy is voluminous: about 1500 pages in total. If you prefer short but graphic, succinct introduction to the sociology of information, this is your pick. This book is based on the author¡¯s lecture held at Oxford Business School. So it¡¯s not conceived to be the systematic work but intended to orient the reader toward the basics of the field. He uses various live cases to illustrate the interaction between Internet, the economy, and society. The areas covered range from culture, new economy, virtual community, social movement, privacy, multimedia, and digital divide. Those are almost all topics tackled in the field. But this is not intended to set up serious theoretical basis in the field. If you are interested in such an attempt, I recommend James Slevin¡¯s ¡®The Internet and Society¡¯. But, as I mentioned in the review on that book, it requires the reader some basic understanding Giddens and other social theories, to get the nub of the book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Castells book ok 28 April 2004
By Adam B Alder - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Castells' book "The Internet Galaxy" is a book that is good but not great. The book starts out with a really good explanation of the history of the Internet and the different cultures that are involved with the Internet. After this though there are a few interesting things in the middle chapters, but the end of the book is pretty lame. The end of the book is pretty lame because it has a lot of commonsense statements and statistics that are not very interesting.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Review of Internet Galaxy 4 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
After reading The Internet Galaxy by Manuel Castells, I can honestly say that I have not learned as much as I would have hoped. Castells does a great job of outlining how the Internet came to be. In addition, he makes controversial statements that have the ability to facilitate discussions/debates. However, there is a lot of unnecessary information in the book. He gives many statistics and thoughts that are pretty much common sense for anyone with any computer savvy. Finally, he fails to discuss the issue of technology in education, which is a very important issue to many in this class. Overall, I think it would be a good book to read for someone who did not have any previous knowledge of what the Internet entailed. However, for those readers with any Internet experience, it is hard to get through all of the useless statistics to get to the heart of Internet issues.
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