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The Network Society
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The Network Society

Fourth Edition


December 2020 | 384 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

The Network Society is a clear, engaging guide to the past, consequences and future of digital communication, and forms a comprehensive introduction to how new media functions in contemporary society.

Integrating both face-to-face and online communication, the fourth edition explores crucial new issues and challenges in today’s digital media ecology, in doing so exploring the centrality of power to understanding life in the network society. Featuring:

  • The rise of the ‘data economy’
  • The increasing importance of artificial intelligence. big data and robotics
  • The growth of Internet platforms and how to regulate big tech.
  • New coverage of disinformation and fake news, including deep fake videos
  • Updates to the story of digital youth culture, as a foreshadow of future new media use

With examples, cases and real-world applications, this is the essential guide for digital and new media students seeking to understand a diverse, fast-moving field.


 
Chapter 1. Introduction
A New Infrastructure of Society

 
A Second Communication Revolution

 
Characteristics of the Digital Media

 
Communication Capacities of Digital Media

 
The Nature and Design of this 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
The Relationship Between Technology and Society

 
Technical Foundations of the Network Society

 
Current Technical Trends

 
 
Chapter 4. Economy
The First, Second and Third Communications Revolution

 
Markets, Hierarchies and Networks

 
Main Characteristics of a Network and Data Economy

 
The Network Producers: From Infrastructure to Service Providers

 
The Rise of a Platform Economy

 
Consumers: the Pushers and the Pulled

 
 
Chapter 5. Social Structure
Space and Time in the Network Society

 
The Blurring Spheres of Living

 
Social Networks and Social Media

 
Unity and Fragmentation: A New Social Cohesion

 
The Instability of the Network Society

 
Networks and Social (In)equality

 
The Digital Divide

 
 
Chapter 6. Power and Politics
What is Network Power?

 
Technological Power

 
Societal Power: Politics and Democracy

 
Internet: Between Freedom and Control

 
Power in the Organization

 
Privacy and Personal Autonomy

 
 
Chapter 7. Culture
What is Digital Culture?

 
Characteristics of Digital Culture

 
The Quantity and Quality of Digital Media Content

 
Digital Youth Culture

 
Trends in Digital Media Use

 
 
Chapter 8. Psychology
Perception and the Digital Media

 
Cognition and the Digital Media

 
Learning with the Digital Media

 
The Social Psychology of Digital Media Communication

 
Changes in Human Personality?

 
 
Chapter 9. Law
The Law Undermined by Networks

 
Who Rules the Internet?

 
Information and Communication Freedom

 
Intellectual Property Rights

 
The Right to Privacy

 
Platform Regulation

 
 
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

 

This 4th edition provides interdisciplinary insight into the growing significance of digital media in society. It comprehensively explains why the process of becoming a network society varies worldwide as a result of differing values and responses to the emergence of varied structures, processes and control systems.

Robin Mansell
Professor at The London School of Economics and Political Science

This fourth edition of Jan A.G.M. van Dijk’s classic book, The Network Society, clarifies and analyses a wide variety of crucial concepts and contemporary practices, with insight, clarity, analysis, and critique, as well as examples, boxed explanations, and conclusions for each chapter. Topics include social values, digital media capacities, multimedia, network theory, medium theory, network society, technological foundations, platform economy, space and time, social media, digital divide, network power, privacy, digital culture, social psychology of online communication, platform regulation, intellectual property rights, global and developing network societies, and policy perspectives. This is a necessary and accessible textbook for understanding the age of digital networks.

Ronald E. Rice
Arthur N. Rupe, Professor in the Social Effects of Mass Communication, University of California

The publication of the 4th edition of Professor Van Dijk’s The Network Society speaks volumes for its value across multiple disciplines. This new edition updates his refreshingly global perspective on the growing psychological, cultural, economic and other social issues shaping the future of policy and practice in our increasingly digital world.

William H. Dutton
Emeritus Professor, University of Southern California, and Oxford Martin Fellow, University of Oxford, where he was Professor and Founding Director of the Oxford Internet Institute

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