December 14, 2010

Castells - Rise of the Network Society

Some random notes on 'space,' hopefully to be put to good use later.

Castells differentiates between space of places and space of flows, where space is a concept based on experience.
"If we look at space as a social form and a social practice, throughout history space has been the material support of simultaneity in social practice.  That is, space defines the time frame of social relationships."
The city is a "communication system" where physical proximity allows more communication.
A new form of spatiality is the space of flows: "the material support of simultaneous social practices communicated at a distance."

A connection exists between 
  • society's changing technological character; and 
  • its developing spatial forms.
Acceleration of time
We've all noticed it - too many tasks, not enough time.  There are still 'only' twenty-four hours in a day but quite often they aren't enough.  Our social practices are restricted within their time frames but are carried out in different places.  We use technology (mobile phones, computers, transport) to help us overcome the physical barriers, to the point where we almost reach "timeless time."  Timeless time (as opposed to clock time or biological time) is 
"the social practice that aims at negating sequence to install ourselves in perennial simultaneity and simultaneous ubiquity."  
In other words, trying to be everywhere, all the time, at the same time!

Manuel Castells.  The Information Age.  Economy, Society, and Culture.  Vol. I: The Rise of the Network Society (2010).

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