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Manuel Castells's Technocultural Epoch in "The Information Age"

Robert Harding
Science Fiction Studies
Vol. 33, No. 1, Technoculture and Science Fiction (Mar., 2006), pp. 18-29
Published by: SF-TH Inc
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4241406
Page Count: 12
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Manuel Castells's Technocultural Epoch in "The Information Age"
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Abstract

This article reviews Manuel Castells's contribution to the theory of high-tech globalization in his sociological trilogy The Information Age. I examine Castells's claim that so-called Network Society is a discrete period in history, an epoch that incorporated the liberal individualism of the 1960s with a structural reorganization of labor. I then investigate informational networks in terms of their capacity to transform our social being, assessing the political implications of Castells's thesis through reference to a range of social theorists. Specifically, I consider how Castells's evaluation of the political and cultural resistance to global homogenization leads him to advocate systems of advanced self-management, radical self-fashioning, and individual adaptability to accelerating technoscientific change. I conclude with an analysis of the science-fictional nature of Castells's futurology and its potential utility as a theoretical framework for sf critics.

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