This book covers the key concepts central to understanding recent developments in media and communications studies. Wide-ranging in scope and accessible in style it sets out a useful, clear map of the important theories, methods, and debates.

The entries critically explore the limits of a key concept as much as the traditions that define it. They include clear definitions, are introduced within the wider context of the field and each one is fully cross-referenced, is clearly illustrated with relevant examples, and provides a guide to further reading and an index.

This book is an essential resource for students in media and communications and for those studying sociology, cultural sociology, cultural studies, and sociology of media.

Network (Society)

Network (society)

Unlike its immediate forebear, the ‘information society’, the concept of the ‘network society’ refers less to a principle of organization than to a condition of self-organization. Whereas information can be controlled by elites for the purposes of defining bounded entities, such as states, corporations or society itself, networks are non-linear complexes of structures and flows.

Information typically plays a central role in the reproduction and regulation of complex systems, ‘the knowledge economy’, ‘the post-industrial society’, but such systems are usually confined to the boundaries of the nation state or the closed systems of supranational actors, such as transnational corporations. Networks, however, do not have any boundaries and their structure is made ambiguous ...

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