Some Reflections on Manuel Castells’ Book "Networks of Outrage and Hope. Social Movements in the Internet Age".

Christian Fuchs

Abstract


This paper provides critical reflections on Manuel Castells’ (2012) book Networks of Outrage and Hope. Social Movements in the Internet Age that analyses the “nature and perspectives of networked social movements” (p. 4) and gives special focus to the role of “social media” in movements that emerged in 2011 in Tunisia, Iceland, Egypt, Spain and the United States. I situate Castells’ book in an intellectual discourse that focuses on the political implications of social media and that has involved Clay Shirky, Malcolm Gladwell and Evgeny Morozov. The article also discusses the role of social theory and empirical research in Castells’ book, presents as an alternative a theoretical model of the relationship between social movements and the media, discusses the implications that some empirical data that focus on social media in the Egyptian revolution and the Occupy Wall Street movement have for Castells’ approach, discusses how Castells positions himself towards capitalism and compares his explanation of the crisis and his political views to David Harvey’s approach.

Section overview:
1. Introduction
2. Social Media and Politics: A Controversy between Clay Shirky, Malcolm Gladwell and Evgeny Morozov
3. Castells on Social Media in the Context of Protests and Revolutions: The Dimension of Social Theory
4. Social Theory Recovered: A Model of the Relationship between Social Movements and the Media
5. Castells on Social Media in the Context of Protests and Revolutions: The Dimension of Empirical Research
6. Manuel Castells and David Harvey: The Question of Political Struggle - For or against Capitalism?
7. Conclusion


Keywords


social movements, social media, Internet, protest, revolution, occupation, Arab spring, 15-M, indignadas, indignados, Occupy Wall Street, Manuel Castells, network, Networks of outrage and hope. Social movements in the Internet age.

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