Characteristics of the network society

1. An informational economy in which sources of productivity and competitiveness for
firms, regions, countries depend, more than ever, on knowledge, information and the
technology of their processing, including the technology of management and the
management of technology.
2. A global economy that is not the same as a world economy, and is a new reality. At its
core it has strategically dominant activities which have the potential of working as a unit
in real time on a planetary scale.
3. National, regional and local economies depend ultimately on the dynamics of the global
economy to which they are connected through networks and markets.
4. The network enterprise is a new form of organization characteristic of economic activity,
but gradually extending its logic to other domains and organizations.
5. The transformation of work and employment; the flexi-workers. There is no major surge
in unemployment (except in Western Europe) but there is great anxiety and discontent
about work. Power relations have shifted in favour of capital with much downsizing,
subcontracting and networking of labour, inducing flexibility and individualization of
contractual arrangements. There is a growth of self employment, temporary work, and
part-time, particularly for women.
6. Social polarization and social exclusion – processes of globalization, business networking
and individualization of labour all weaken social organizations and institutions that
represented/protected workers in the information age, particularly labour unions and the
welfare state.
7. The culture of real virtuality – the emergence of a similar pattern of networking,
flexibility and ephemeral symbolic communication in a culture organised around the
electronic media. The media are extremely diverse and send targeted messages to specific
segments of audiences and to specific moods of audiences. They form a culture of real
virtuality in which our symbolic environment is, by and large, structured in an inclusive,
flexible, diversified hypertext, in which we navigate every day. The virtuality of this test
is in fact our reality, the symbols from which we live and communicate. The enclosure of
communication in the space of flexible media and the media become the essential space
of politics.
8. Politics now needs to occupy media space if actors and ideas are not to be marginalised.
The media has become the essential space of politics, particularly television. Media
politics needs to simplify the message; the simplest message is an image; the simplest
image is a person; the most effective political weapons are negative messages; the most
effective negative message is character assassination of opponents’ personalities; the
politics of scandal and spin; political marketing, PR and corruption; crisis of political
9. Timeless time – time and space are related in society as is nature and their meanings and
manifestations in social practice evolve throughout histories and across cultures. The
network society is organised around new forms of time and space: timeless time and the
space of flows.
10. The space of flows is the material organisation of time-sharing social practices that work
through flows. The space of places continues to be the predominant space of experience.
In the Network Society a fundamental form of social domination is the prevalence of the
logic of the space of flows over the space of places and induces a metropolitan dualism
and a form of social/territorial exclusion which bypasses and marginalises people and
places. A new spatial dynamics is resisted/opposed by new social movements that
appropriate technologies and penetrate segments of the space of flows with forces of
resistance and expressions of personal experience.

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