of Outrage and Hopespecifically examines communication power, active intelligence, networked social movements, and the Occupy movement. Through his descriptions and comparisons of movements in Iceland and Tunisia, Egypt, The Arab Spring, Social Movements in Spain and the Occupy Movement Castells
describes the features common to a wide variety of contemporary movements. He highlights "their formation, their dynamics, their values, and their prospects for social transformation" (p. 4). In his description of the theorization of power, he specifies,
"power relationships are constitutive of society because those who have power construct the institutions
of society according to their values and interests....However, since societies are contradictory and conflictive, wherever there is power there is also counterpower, which I understand to be the capacity of social actors to challenge the power embedded in the institutions of society for the purpose of
claiming representation for their own values and interests" (p. 4/5).
them accordingly. First, he indicates that these movements were all networked in multiple forms, which allowed for its lack of formal leadership. Castells observes that the networks of the movement were resilient because they constantly reconfigure themselves and this made them more resistant to repression,
factionalism, infighting etc. Castells describes that another characteristic of the movements were their
visibility. While these movements were born in, and have made effective use of, the internet and other technologies for communication and coordination, they become movements by becoming visible in urban spaces. The many modalities of networks were manifested in a public space within which the occupation
of urban spaces created material conditions of togetherness. Further, Castells emphasizes the importance of affective intelligence and emotions. Beyond appeals to class or community, people respond emotionally, as individuals, to that which takes place around them. Particularly significant is the issue of individual's response to fear. When individuals come together, their collective outrage can generate hope, which presents a challenge and an antidote to fear. In case of the movements, images were vital to the success of
these movements because of their appeal to emotions, and their distribution drew individuals into a
collective affective response. Additionally, these movements were explicitly nonviolent, steeped in
principles of civil disobedience. However, Castells indicates that when paths to civil disobedience are blocked, pressures emerge, which can lead to violence. Beyond nonviolence as a cornerstone, the current movements were remarkably open and non-programmatic. As social movements, they were aimed at the values of society, not at particular ideologies or outcomes. As Castells states, it was the "battle
for the construction of meaning in the minds of the people" (p. 5). Additionally, Castells stresses the importance of the process of movement process over the outcomes, because he indicates that only through the transformation of the political process, the institutional resistance to change can be overcome.
Even though lots of concepts used by Castells drew my attention, probably I was most drawn to the section describing the women in revolution in the Egyptian uprising, which the author calls, "revolution within a revolution" (p. 78). I have read many other reports and articles on the Egyptian revolution but none has explicitly described the contribution of women. I really appreciate the author's coverage of the women's
contribution in the revolution. This raises important questions, why has it not been generally covered in most publishes articles. Feminism has been a dominant, rising movement since long. Even though women in the 20th century have achieved many of the rights, they had fought so hard for, such as suffrage, and despite the many years of battling for rights, still today, as the author states the agency of women is
perceived as threat to the dominant males. How should we address such inequalities? Should we simply assume that internal dynamics within the revolution merely created structural inequalities? Coombe in her book also addresses gender politics and feminism. As many authors have started to point out until we explicitly address the issues of gender politics, I think we will continue to see repression of women.
My questions for this week
1. Castells stars of in this book by claiming that his "analysis is based on the grounded theory of power"
(p. 4). We have talked a bit about methodology in class; I was wondering what do you all think about the effectiveness of grounded theory as a method?
2. Castells indicates that "because mass media are largely controlled by the governments....in the network society communicative autonomy is primarily constructed in the Internet networks..."(p. 9). How about censorship? In Egypt as the author describes censorship was imposed later, what about societies,
which has Internet controlled from the beginning. Do you think such a society (for example, China) can never achieve communicative autonomy?
3. What do you think of the proposed new Icelandic constitution (p. 40)? Is it utopian thinking? Or maybe it
will be viable only because of its sparse population?
4. Castells indicated a "hybrid public space made of digital social networks and a newly created urban
community" where he states, "powerlessness was turned to empowerment" (p. 45). I do admit the contribution of internet in the revolution, but I was wondering in the new information how will the voices of people will be heard who do not have access to technology?
5. Do you think that internal dynamics of the movement, which is structural inequalities among movement
participants that reproduce inequalities (for example, the representation of women and people of color within the movement) was an obvious side effect?
6. "Indeed, it was because of those well- developed, digital networks, that civic leaders so successfully
activated such large numbers of people to protest" (p. 105). This statement made by Castells reminded me of Said's argument "The Arabs are so inept that they cannot even aspire to, let alone consummate the ambitions of revolution" (Said, 1979, p. 314). What do you think would Edward Said about this?
7. With regards to the self- mediated movement described in the Rhizomatic revolution, what happens to
credibility in case of citizen journalism?
Castells, M. (2012). Networks of outrage and hope: Social movements in the Internet age. Maiden, MA: Polity.
Coombe, R. J. (1998). The cultural life of intellectual properties: Authorship, appropriation, and the
law. Duke University Press Books.
Said, E. W. (1979). Orientalism. New York: Vintage Books.