Manuel Castells is one of the world's leading thinkers on the new information age, hailed by The Economist as "the first significant philosopher of cyberspace," and by Christian Science Monitor as "a pioneer who has hacked out a logical, well-documented, and coherent picture of early 21st century civilization, even as it rockets forward largely in a blur." Now, in The Internet Galaxy, this brilliantly insightful writer speculates on how the Internet will change our lives.
Castells believes that we are "entering, full speed, the Internet Galaxy, in the midst of informed bewilderment." His aim in this exciting and profound work is to help us to understand how the Internet came into being, and how it is affecting every area of human life--from work, politics, planning and development, media, and privacy, to our social interaction and life in the home. We are at ground zero of the new network society. In this book, its major commentator reveals the Internet's huge capacity to liberate, but also its ability to marginalize and exclude those who do not have access to it. Castells provides no glib solutions, but asks us all to take responsibility for the future of this new information age.
The Internet is becoming the essential communication and information medium in our society, and stands alongside electricity and the printing press as one of the greatest innovations of all time. The Internet Galaxy offers an illuminating look at how this new technology will influence business, the economy, and our daily lives.
Castells, best known for his three-volume study The Information Age (Blackwell), an analysis of societal changes wrought by communications advances, trims that work to appeal to readers who were daunted by its 1,200 pages, $80 paperback price and ponderous prose. In this excellent, readable, nontechnical summary of the history, social implications and likely future of Internet business, Castells, professor of planning and of sociology at Berkeley, covers institutions like the World Wide Web Consortium, which "presides over the protocols and development" of the Web, and phenomena like the Internet's immense ability to simultaneously liberate and exclude. There are still too many sentences like "It is fair to say that most hackers live normal lives, at least as normal as most people, which does not necessarily mean that hackers (or anybody else) fit into the ideal type of normalcy, conforming to the dominant ideology in our societies," leaving readers wondering if hackers' lives are normal or not, and whether he's trying to give a sociological side lesson. Those willing to overlook such prosodic lapses will appreciate the astute accounts of, e.g., the complications for early grassroots online citizen networks headed by community activists, but seen by many as an opportunity to move beyond their local community. (Dec.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.