Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More hopeful than outraged, 26 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age (Paperback)
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(This book wasn't of much interest to me; the below review was written by my girlfriend, who did a PhD on social movements.)

The first point to note is that Networks of Outrage and Hope is very much part of Castells' wider project of examining and explaining 'networked resistance'. As such you'll get a lot more out of it if you've read some of his earlier work, for example The Rise of the Network Society: Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture v. 1 (Information Age Series): The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture Volume I. Having said that, it works reasonably well as a stand-alone book, and is certainly more than just a sequel.

The focus of this book is 'grassroots' resistance, or 'resistance from below' if you prefer - in short, the power of the 'ordinary' people when they/we begin to make connections. Castells examines the 'Kitchenware' uprising in Iceland (so called because protesters banged pots and pans), the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement - on the surface a disparate selection, but Castells' objective is to examine what links them, which for the most part he does successfully. (No, I'm not going to spoil it for you.) He also indicates why nobody should ignore protests in foreign countries on the grounds that it is irrelevant to their lives; everything, he argues, is interconnected, for example, you may believe a liberal democracy would be unlikely to shut down the country's internet as happened in Egypt - certainly there would be greater practical difficulties - but Castells points out that the idea of a 'Kill Switch' has been mooted in the US to disconnect the internet during an emergency situation.

If you have a background in protest or the study of protest (or both!) you will probably like this book. If you are an anarchist you will likely dispute some of his ideas on power, but it is nonetheless an interesting read. If you are a complete novice you will be able to follow what is going on - this book (and Castells' work in general) is refreshingly free of complex jargon. However, if you are new to the subject I would strongly suggest reading this alongside protesters' own accounts of events.
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Ben Saunders
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Location: Stirling, Scotland

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