Networks

The Technological and the Social

Authored by: Amelia Arsenault

Routledge International Handbook of Contemporary Social and Political Theory

Print publication date:  March  2011
Online publication date:  March  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415548250
eBook ISBN: 9780203875575
Adobe ISBN: 9781135997946

10.4324/9780203875575.ch21

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Abstract

The digitization of information into the universal language of electronic binary code has blurred the boundary between technological and human interaction. Contemporary social processes are increasingly mediated via a labyrinthine web of Internet and mobile communication networks and supplemented by increasingly elaborate search tools and social networks such as Google, Baidu, MySpace, and Facebook. Technology, of course, emerges out of specific human contexts. But once facilitated, technological networks influence and compel human-centered networks. Not surprisingly, particularly since the birth of the World Wide Web in 1994, social scientists have turned their attention to the ways in which computer networks have facilitated radical changes to societal practices and organization, and the implications of these transformations for culture, economics, and politics.

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