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The Network Society

The Network Society

Third Edition

May 2012 | 336 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

The Network Society is now more than ever the essential guide to the past, consequences and future of digital communication.

Fully revised, this Third Edition covers crucial new issues and updates:

  • The long history of social media and Web 2.0: why it's not as new as we think
  • Digital youth culture as a foreshadow of future new media use
  • The struggle for control of the internet among Microsoft, Google, Apple and Facebook
  • The contribution of media networks to the current financial crisis
  • Complete update of the literature on the facts, theories, trends and technologies of the internet
  • New features for students with boxes of chapter questions, conclusions and boxed explanations of key concepts

This book remains an accessible, comprehensive, must-read introduction to how new media function in contemporary society.

Chapter 1. Introduction
A New Infrastructure for Society

A Second Communications Revolution?

Characteristics of the New Media

Communication Capacities of the New Media

The Nature and Design of the Book

Chapter 2. Networks: The Nervous System of Society
What is a Network Society?

A Short History of the Human Web

Networks at All Levels

Causes of the Rise of Networks

The Seven 'Laws' of the Web

From Mass Society to Network Society

Chapter 3. Technology
Technical Foundations of the Network Society

Current Technical Trends

Chapter 4. Economy
Causes of the Current Communications Revolution

A Flow Economy

Enterprise 2.0

Markets, Hierarchies and Networks

Characteristics of a Network Economy

The Producers: From Infrastructure to Service Providers

The Consumers: The Pushers and Pulled

Chapter 5. Politics and Power
The Vulnerability of Networks

Network Politics

The Internet: A Tool for Democracy?


Power in the Organization

Privacy and Personal Autonomy

Chapter 6. Law
The Law Undermined by Networks

Who Rules the Internet?

Information and Communication Freedom

Intellectual Property Rights

The Right to Privacy

Chapter 7. Social Structure
Space and Time in the Network Society

The Blurring Spheres of Living

The Rise of the Social Media

Unity and Fragmentation: A New Social Cohesion

Networks and Social (In)Equality

The Digital Divide

The Instability of the Network Society

Chapter 8. Culture
What Is Digital Culture?

Characteristics of Digital Culture

The Quantity and Quality of New Media Content

Digital Youth Culture: Foreshadow of the Future?

Trends in New Media Use

Chapter 9. Psychology
Perception and the New Media

Cognition and the New Media

Learning with the New Media

The Social Psychology of Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC)

Changes in Human Personality?

Chapter 10. Conclusions and Policy Perspectives
General Conclusions

The Network Society in North America, Europe, East Asia and the Third World

Policy Perspectives for the Network Society


A great introduction to network theory and sociology of new media

Dr Kenneth Murphy
School of Media, Dublin Institute of Technology
March 13, 2013

Great source for teachers and students alike! Well written and useful for many disciplines. Provides excellent up-to-date introduction to many aspects of today's network society and new media (evolution of, technological background, economy, politics, legislation, as well as social, cultural and psychological dimensions). Will recommend it in the next academic year too.

Dr Ladislav Smejda
Department of Archaeology, University of West Bohemia in Pilsen
March 11, 2013

We are glad the updated version included a thorough review of several key topics such as fragmentation, concentration and personalisation.

Mr Manuel Hernandez
Mass Communications , Wolverhampton University
December 14, 2012

Chapters from the book are used as recommended reading. The library will be requested to purchase copies of the book.

Cheryl Borsoto
Communication, Ateneo de Manila University
November 21, 2012

This book provides the students with an essential overview of the media and the impact of the internet. This understanding underpins the theory of why the fear of crime is rising. This book is a must for all those trying to understand the impact of the media and the internet on society. This book is a recommended because it provided an easy to read understanding of issues related to the module.

Dr Joshua Skoczylis
School of Law, Leeds University
October 13, 2012

Informative book. Very relevant considering current developments with social media. Will be very useful for the module.

However, I did find the writing stile a little boring. Don't know how my students will react to it. I found myself loosing interest, which is strange for such a current and interesting topic.

Dr Cynog Prys
School of Social Sciences, Bangor University
August 21, 2012

An excellent book that is essential reading for any course that examines contemporary media.

Ms Deborah Gabriel
School of Media, Music & Performance, Salford University
July 24, 2012

This is a good text, and covers a gap in analysing the impact of technological change on society and culture. useful especially for postgraduate students.

Mr Robbie Smyth
Journalism and Media Communications, Griffith College Dublin
July 23, 2012

The Network Society was considered an excellent resource, with a particular use for us in looking at the potential of the economic models used in realtion to adopting/ evaluating and critically analysing uses of technology. This does not apply to all students, but we have added it to the reading list as a valuable supplemntary resource.

Mr Peter Shukie
School of Education, Blackburn College
July 20, 2012

A powerful, interdisciplinary text which helps promote the relevance of theoretical frameworks for the critical analysis of some of the digital media trends of most popular interest.

Mr Paul Simpson
Business School, Greenwich University
July 9, 2012

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Chapter One

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