Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Network Society

Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Network Society

Professors Manuel Castells[1] and Bill Dutton[2]

An Online Graduate Seminar at the Open University of Catalonia

Open University of Catalonia

Autumn 2010

Professors Manuel Castells and Bill Dutton are offering their co-taught course on ‘Interdisciplinary Analysis of the Network Society’ during the Autumn of 2010 to graduate students at the Open University of Catalonia. The instructors have developed this innovative experiment in doctoral training over several years in which they have co-authored an evolving set of lectures. This course is only open to OUC students with the permission of the instructors.

This optional course introduces students to key concepts and issues in the empirical study of social issues tied to the Internet and related information and communication technologies. The course is taught online, with the instructors posting short lectures early in the week, which students and faculty discuss online during the week. Students are also asked to prepare a course paper that develops an empirical approach to the study of a topic of significance to the network society and relates it to their own research interests.

In addition to the subject matter, the experience of taking an online course, using Moodle’s course management system, is of value to graduate students with a serious interest in the Internet.

An outline of the earlier year’s eight-week course, which will be the basis for the 2010 offering, is available through Bill Dutton’s blog post on the topic at: If you have questions about the nature of the work, please contact either of the course instructors.

Over the eight weeks, key topics include:

  • Information and Network Societies
  • The Global Networked Economy
  • Social Shaping of Technology: The Internet in Historical Perspective
  • Media and the Internet: from Mass Communication to Mass Self-Communication
  • Social Machines: Reconfiguring Social Networks
  • Urban Forms of the Information Age: Space of Flows and Space of Places
  • Collaborative Network Organizations and the Emergence of a ‘Fifth Estate’
  • Social Movements and Informational Politics in a Digital Environment

[1] Manuel Castells is Professor of Sociology at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), in Barcelona; Professor Emeritus of Sociology, and Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley; Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California; Marvin and Joanne Grossman Distinguished Professor of Technology and Society at the MIT and Distinguished Visiting Professor in Internet Studies at Oxford University.

[2] Professor of Internet Studies, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.

Comments are most welcome