Knowledge and information in the network society


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THE Information Age records one of the master narratives of our times, the one idea that has survived the 20th century. The last century has been a strange one. There is a sense of premature closure about it. The 20th century died of an entropy of ideas by the nineties. All its heroes and ideas faded prematurely. The Bolshevik Revolution had run its course. Castro sounded stale. Mao was dead. The great debates of planning were behind us. Che Guevara was an advertising pin-up. Glasnost was over. The great movements of nationalism and its leaders – Nkrumah, Nasser, Nehru sounded stale or moth eaten.

In fact, there is a sense of irony, of strange laughter, when Manuel Castells says that the hero, the agency of the 21st century, is not the state, the NGO, organizations like the party and the trade union but the network. Castells’ work reminds one of Eugene Marrais’ The Soul of the White Ant. The reader discovers that the individual is not the termite but the entire termite hill itself. The network is a new kind of collective – fluid, amoeboid, totally unlike the earlier agencies of the 20th century, the party, the nation state, the proletariat.

There is something Tolstoyan in the sheer monumentality of the Castells oeuvre. A blurb writer could dub the three volumes ‘war and peace in the network society’. There is an enormity, a range to the work. But along with the monumentality and the self-disciplined objectivity, there is a sense of the protean, the mobile. For Castells, Procrustes and Proteus have to be captured simultaneously and separately. It is this manysided shifting that makes Castells’ work a monumental one, where he has to capture both the whole and the synecdochic part. How does he tackle this problem? He does it by showing the change in the narratives of dominance.



Within the comparative sociology of development, the Weberian narratives have been dominant. The usual question asked is how did the West become dominant, an exercise which is generally broken down to why did capitalism first emerge in the West or why did science not emerge in China? The basic narratives from Weber to Needham split the narrative between the West and the rest of us.

Underlying these grand narratives is a periodization of societies into tribal, agricultural, industrial and the service economies. This sequence of stages is seen as the trajectory of the West and then packaged as a theory of development, a sequence that the ‘rest’ must undergo. Those that fail to conform are confined to ‘the dustbin of history’, given the fact that it is the West that writes such histories. The narratives that explain why the West succeeded are elaborated in the writings of David Landes, Paul Kennedy and Andre Gunder Frank. Accompanying it is the question of why the Third World failed and this is caught in the outpourings of the great industry of academics from HIID, IDS, or their epigoni.

Castells breaks away from the frozen geometry of the West versus the rest, or the immobility of centre-periphery models. The cartography of the network society eludes these standard geographies of power. The fluidity of the net society is such that peripheries exist within the centre and the Schumpetarian explosions of innovation can mushroom anywhere as Taiwan, Japan or the Asian Tigers have shown, within limits.

The totemic relation to place is elusive. The nature of finance capital and of MNC is such that it can uproot itself and relocate anywhere. It is like a game of musical chairs where the players and the chairs are moving and even the music changes. But unfixing the network society from the standard cartographies of power is not quite enough. The hegemony of the new atlas loses its fixity of territory, the sheer physicality associated with old travelogues of power embodied in colonial anthropology, Orientalism or 19th century ideas of political economy.



The network is virtual. Many of the old categories of work, labour, value do not apply easily. Gandhi and Marx seem jaded in this simulated world. The 20th century world of citizens is different from the emerging world of netizens. The old continents were discovered. The map did not exhaust the diversity of territory. The old Cartesians could say like Columbus, map is not territory. But the network society appears to be an invention. A map easily redraws territory and reinvents it. Huge sectors of place get transformed into indifferent space in a manner of minutes. The network as the impending future recreates itself. It appears both parthenogenetic and cannibalistic. But beyond such biological breathlessness, there is a physicality to it, a history and most of all, a framework of politics, we need to question and explore.

My article focuses on the politics of Castells’ work narrowing itself to two questions – How does Castells locate his network/information society within a politics of knowledge. Second, how does Castells’ network society stand as a fragment of the democratic imagination? The essay plays hedgehog to Castells’ fox.

The Castellian narrative is also a political script. At one level, it is a grand story and at another it is an open script inviting us to enact our part in our own way. How does Castells elaborate the network society as a rule game? Because if we don’t understand the rule game, we might at best be third or fourth rate players. The question before us is (i) do we play the game? or (ii) do we challenge the rules of the game? We are immediately faced with questions like: What should the Fourth World do? What role can South Africa play? Does India have a role or is its almost total absence from these giant narratives an erasure, an amnesia, an absentmindedness? How do we challenge the grammar of the net society?

The first kind of politics can be effective but reactive. It is like the choice of a set of bit players training or aspiring for bigger parts. It is the choice of many states and people aspiring to replicate Silicon Valleys or imitate Bill Gates. Such a strategy leaves too many of us as extras or bit players. The second strategy needs us to understand, master or even change the rule game. This statement is made with the belief that every man is a philosopher and that as philosopher, citizens can change bits of the world and themselves.




The politics of knowledge vs the politics of information: I would like to repeat a story which like other stories I have told often. A few years back I was delivering a paper on alternative energy systems. During the course of the presentation, I observed how philosophy of science as a discourse had emerged from the grassroots movements in India rather than the academe. These feminist, ecological, and tribal groups realized that the question was not just of good or bad science but of the axiomatics of science as knowledge. In this context I used the word epistemology. A leading development expert assigned to comment on my paper asked, ‘Why do you use the word epistemology: Even the World Bank president can’t understand it?’ And I answered, ‘That’s why.’ But the reason was more than that moment of perversity. The movements in India and their narrators realized that science as a rule game must be challenged or reworked and thus epistemology, i.e., rules or methods for the making of knowledge, becomes crucial.



We have to ask what is Castells’ theory of knowledge, his conception of the politics of knowledge? Following Thomas Kuhn, he refers to the ‘information technology paradigm.’ Kuhn’s notion of the paradigm is more intellectualistic and internalist, less open to the socio-economic dynamics of ideas. Castells’ idea is techno-economic.

But in exploring Castells’ idea of the paradigm which borrows more from Freeman and Carlotta Perez and contrasting it with the classical Kuhnian idea, one discovers some fatal differences. Castells in a footnote follows Daniel Bell’s affable definition of knowledge as ‘a set of organized statements of facts and ideas, presenting a reasoned judgement or an experimental result, which is transmitted to others through some communication medium in some systematic form’ and then follows Porat’s operational definition of information as ‘data that has been organized and communicated.’

Because of his preoccupation with information, there is a strange silence about knowledge. Castells’ network society is sociology of the informational paradigm without a sociology of knowledge or a theory of knowledge. Though brilliant on the socio-technical nature of the paradigm, he is less sensitive on the politics of the paradigm itself.



There is a politics of knowledge present in Kuhn’s idea of the paradigm. Paradigms in the Kuhnian sense have a many layered density. They function as myths, metaphors, methods, models, techniques. Yet they are woven together into a tight architectonic, a unity which determines what is relevant and irrelevant, what one can see and not see, what one can say and not say or even be heard. A paradigm in its everydayness is an entire civics of knowledge blind to other alternatives. Whatever diversities exist, do so within the monoculture, the hegemonic reign of the paradigm. The dominant paradigm has no place for defeated knowledges or alternative theories of knowledge.

Castells’ work has no explicit theory of knowledge or the varieties of knowledge. He takes the nature of modern science for granted. His IT paradigm is only a revamped but playful transfer of technology (TOT) model with a place for finance capital and criminality. As a result, Castells’ network society is the gigantic civics of the transfer of technology paradigm, embodying a new relation between map and territory. What it lacks is a politics of knowledge and a politics of competing theories of knowledge. Castells’ paradigm would see alternative epistemologies as ‘noise’.

For example, Africa is compulsively a part of the Fourth World as a result of the failure of development. But apart from the breakdown of the state or the growth of a predatory elite, the failure might be a result of the models of science applied to it. As Paul Richards argued, African models of farming might embody different notions of community and science. It is this community of expertise that the official application of development might have destroyed. Within such a framework, African agriculture and systems of healing might be alternative paradigms, elusive and elliptical to current models of science. Viewed in this way, the Fourth World becomes not a void or a blackbox but an alternative list of diversities, possibilities, epistemologies.

Within this context, one is reminded of the botanist Wes Jackson’s observations. Both in his Altars of Unhewn Stone and in personal conversations, Jackson makes the comment that he was often puzzled that America was called a high information society and, as a corollary, Africa and India ‘low information societies’, despite the former having reduced its varieties of apples from 160 to five.



Jackson observes that ‘though conventional wisdom holds that we are in the midst of an informational explosion, more careful consideration must surely convince us that the opposite is true. Think of all that has happened to the world since 1935. Few dispute that there is less biological information. Species extinction at the rate of one thousand species a year or so, especially in the tropics, coupled with the genetic truncation of major crops, undeniably is a major loss of biological information.’ He adds that, ‘species extinction and genetic narrowing of crops aside, the loss of cultural information due to the depopulation of our rural areas is greater than all the information accumulated by science and technology in the same period.’

Jackson’s notion of information is not a disembedded one. He observes: ‘Farm families who practised traditions associated with planting, tending, harvesting and storing... gathered information, much of it unconsciously from the time they were infants: in the farm household, in the farm community, and in the barns and fields. They heard and told stories about relatives and community members who did something funny or were caught in some kind of tragedy. From these stories they learned basic lessons of agronomy. Much of that information has already disappeared and continues to disappear as farmers leave the land. It is the kind of information that has been hard won over the millennia, from the time agriculture began. It is valuable because much of it is turned to the harvest of contemporary sunlight, the kind of information we need now and in the future on the land.’



Jackson adds, ‘A friend of mine, a distinguished professor in a major university, is terribly alarmed about species extinction in the tropics. He is a leader in the fight to save rain forests everywhere. As a person who has joined the fight to preserve the biota of the planet, he gives numerous talks each year about the problems of overpopulation, resource depletion, and pollution. He heads the library committee for his university and is much impressed with the "knowledge explosion", how much we now know, and how much better educated graduate students are now than they were when he was a student. As do most Americans, he sees Silicon Valley and the computer industry as representing an expansion of knowledge. When I suggested that there is less total cultural information in the U.S. today than fifty years ago, he did not agree. I was thinking about the cultural information just mentioned, the information that has left the countryside, the kind of information that is necessary basis for a sustainable or sunshine agriculture.’

The definition of knowledge is thus crucial to the debate. To define knowledge as formal, abstractable knowledge is to impoverish knowledge and to deny the existence of tacit, embodied and, alternative knowledges. It is this wider epistemological politics of knowledge that is missing in Castells’ work. The danger is that knowledge itself might be soon rewritten to suit the paradigm, as a result that which cannot be reprogrammed for the network ceases to be knowledge. Castells’ core work avoids this issue though he is sensitive to it when he discusses the Japanese experience in his reference to the importance of tacit knowledge in the Japanese work organization.

Castells cites information science and biotechnology as the two basic sites of innovation. He devotes roughly five pages to biotechnology despite the paradigmatic statistic accorded to it. Had he considered the nature of knowledge formation, especially of science, he would have been more critical about the antiseptic nature of information. Castells celebrates idea of virtual knowledge but does not consider knowledge either within the history of science or the political economy of modern technology.



The idea of virtual knowledge and the amoeboid flexibility of networks, the sense of unboundedness gives knowledge a sense of a contemporary commons, a sense of accessibility, of freedom of innovation. But the way in which scientific knowledge is constructed needs to be understood. The construction and possession of knowledge has a politics and history Castells ignores in his disembodied civics of information.

Modern scientific knowledge is both disembodied and disembedded. This disembedding stems from the objectification and splitting of observer and observed present in the development of the linear perspective. Science in relation to the ‘other’ operated through three techniques: (i) monoculturalism, (ii) reductionism and, (iii) appropriation through patenting, dismissal, or virtualization.



Consider a prospective dialogue between science as ‘information’ and knowledges from other systems. History has shown that science is a hegemonic form of knowledge that proceeds through splitting knowledge between self and other, through reductionism and by museumizing other forms of knowledge as defeated and archaic. Modern science as a system has veered towards mono-culturalism where other forms of knowledge are seen as superstitious or archaic. This process of disembedding is supplemented through processes of ‘patenting’ as appropriation of forms of knowledge.

The history of patenting often verges on piracy when it comes to biodiversity. There is little to choose between plant hunters and gene hunters. Patenting in USA recognizes only knowledge that is recognized within the ‘eminent domain’. A patent is officially recognizable knowledge; much of traditional knowledge is not even recognized as knowledge, condemned as it is as archaic, defeated or localized. The work of Cary Fowler or Susan George has shown that patenting and biopiracy have been literally synonymous. The process of treating knowledge as virtual as in the human genome project adds to the process of disembedding, disembodying and dispossessing. This process has been chronicled so often as to require little thick description.

What is seen as information is a reduction of knowledge to bits/bytes which can be appropriated, transferred, patented. All living cultures are Silicon Valleys of information in their own right. But by locating information as capitalized, valorized in terms of modernity, Castells is blinded to alternative ideas of livelihood and knowledge, even different notions of the future. It is this that blinds Castells to the possible futures for Africa or South Asia. He blackboxes the latter and converts the former into a black hole. This is digital ethnocentrism at its worst.

In Castells’ world there is no mention of a dialogue of knowledges or even an idea of cognitive justice. We define cognitive justice as the right of many forms of knowledge to exist because all knowledges are seen as partial and complementary and because they contain incommensurable in-sights. By being insensitive to the fate of different knowledges and their link to livelihood, lifestyles and forms of life, Castells becomes a mere cheerleader of the latest form of R&D management as a model for a wider politics.




The politics of time and the politics of democracy: Manuel Castells’ celebration of the Information Society is around certain kinds of time. If Braudel’s classic study of the Mediterranean celebrated the long duree, Castells celebrates the space time compression as also the interplay between instantaneous and glacial time. In fact, Castells is more interesting on time than on space. His reflections of collectivization as a violation of the notion of peasant time is fascinating. The clash between peasant Christian time and Stalinist Stakhonovite time gives this period a different kind of poignancy. Yet, it is this very politics of time that makes his book deeply problematic.

If industrial society faced the disembodiment of clock time, the network society needs a new anthropology for instantaneous time. As Castells observes: ‘Industrial machinism brought the chronometer to the assembly lines of Fordist and Leninist factories almost at the same moment. Long distance travel in the West became organized around Greenwich Mean Time as the materialization of the hegemony of the British Empire. While, half a century later, the constitution of the Soviet Union was marked by the organization of an immense territory around Moscow Time, with time zones arbitrarily decided by the bureaucrats convenience without proportion to geographical distance.’ Thus time became a means of organizing and representing conquest. Yet time is also the repository of resistance. Castells adds that ‘the first act of defiance of the Baltic’s Republics during Gorvachev’s Perestroyka was to vote for the adoption of Finland’s time zone as the official time in their territories.’



But the network society goes beyond linear, irreversible and predictable time. It desequences linear time and creates an instantaneous or eternal time. For the first time markets operate on real time. Capital shuttles back and forth between different economies in a matter of hours, minutes and seconds. The lifecycles and timetables of mass production and rhythmics, biological and social, are rendered irrelevant. Even old age and death lose their ritual quality. Old age becomes a bricoleur of people including early retirees, average retirees, able elders, disabled elders shuffling age sets into a variety of combinations. Even media events lose their internal chronological rhythm becoming a culture of undifferentiated temporality. As Castells notes: ‘Elimination of sequencing creates undifferentiated time which is tantamount to eternity.’

The anthropology of this disembodied, digitalized time is fascinating. Castells becomes an anthropological McCluhan but without his literary exuberance. But this dissociation between time as a marker and the varieties of lived time prompts one to ask three sets of questions. Does Castells really escape the cosmologies of Christian western time or is he silent about it? Is the apocalyptic time of nuclearism or the Christian sense of entropic ending embodied in the heat death of thermodynamics absent or unstated? Castells’ information society enacts by default one of the oldest myths of the western scientific regime – the myth of the perpetual machine. In fact this has been one of the great underlying myths of modern science – the search for the eternal machine, without friction, not bound to the laws of scale.

Modern science, in fact, has two metaphors or models of entropy – the energetic and the informational. By ignoring the energetics, the ideas of thermodynamics, Castells’ information society evades what Frank Kermode calls ‘the sense of ending’. The network society operates like an ‘isolated system’, where death of pollution is still an externality or an embodiment of the ‘Fourth World’.



If industrial society operated between the time of Taylorism and Roethlisberger time, which is the time of communities, informality, goldbricking and everyday resistance, the network society moves between instant and glacial time. Glacial time, a concept borrowed from Lash and Urry, is long term and evolutionary. For Castells, it is the time of the ecological movements. For Castells ecological thinking considers the relations between man and nature in the long run. It helps create a new biological identity, the identity and unity of the species as a whole.

Yet he is also clear that the glacial time of the ecological is neither mystical nor Luddite; it is a search for a delicate ecological equilibrium by ‘a science based movement.’ The success of the environmental movement lay in its serious ability to master the new conditions of communication. The electronic dramaturgy of Greenpeace, Food First, Friends of the Earth, The Rainforest Action Network bears testimony to the Castellian thesis. Yet Castells’ reading, while brilliant, remains ethnocentric. It talks of a world which has access to TV and reads the environmental movement as scientific and as an attempt to restore nature as an artifice. But the issue is not one of communion with nature, it is a battle for survival.



Ecology is a subversive movement because ‘it runs at right angles to science.’ It is a search for new epistemologies for science, new frameworks for diversity beyond the museumization of modern science, a museumization that made western science smell of ‘death and formaldehyde.’ Ecology is not merely the search for renewal but a way to avoid the genocidal impulse of obsolescent time, the time of erasure, amnesia and forgetting. Ecology is also an attempt not just to promote grassroots democracy with its ideas of participation and consensus but to confront one of the great issues of modern democracy: the opposition between expert and layman.

It seeks to show that scientific controversies need forms of resolution beyond standard scientific models. For example, the current debate on diversity, Vavilov zones and WTO, is not about species identity but about the incredible nature of agriculture as a corpus of inventions. What it seeks to diversify is not variety but the diversity of knowledge systems. It is not a search for information but an attempt to create a commons of information, a commons which seeks diversity but not exclusion.

Nowhere in Castells is there a reference to a search for the commons. Such ecology highlights the fact that current ideas of property, rights, official science are inadequate to create a sense of species unity or survival. What we face in ecology is not so much glacial or geological time, but a haemorrhaging of nature and cultures in historical time. The rate of species loss, the decline of soils, the disappearance of skills, the loss of memory is occurring at speeds which would fascinate a Paul Virillio.

Castells locates South Asia and Africa outside his paradigmatic ecology. What he fails to do is to confront instantaneous time of finance capital and the evolutionary time of the ecologists. If he did he would realize that desequencing of instantaneous time is genocidal. What Castells’ notion of time lacks is an anthropology of differentiated times and an attempt to link and counterpoise ecological time to network time. Because he uses time as a measure and as a marker he can celebrate digital time and the nanosecond, but he cannot dialogue network time and the times of the Fourth World.



Superb in his anthropological listings of instant time or desequenced time, Castells talks of split second capital transactions, flexitime enterprises, the blurring of the lifecycle, instant wars and virtual time. Somehow for Castells the Fourth World becomes (for all his sensitivity) the failed time, the obsolescent time, the museumized or genocidal time of the network society. The recovery of the Fourth World needs notions of time beyond the limited anthropology of this world. It needs body time, lived time, the time of grief, mourning, memory, entropic time, the time of dwelling, apocalyptic time. It needs a variety of lived times beyond the semiotic times of biology, machine and cyberspace. It needs not only a glossary of times but an interlinking and dialogue of these variety of times.



Net time is not the celebration of the eternal because it has no sense of the cosmic. There is about the network society a sense of necrophilic time, amnestic time, the time of nuclearism, the genocidal time of obsolescence and instant wars. If a network is a ganglion of connections, then the net society is an impoverished connection of time. I would like to suggest an interesting exercise. What one needs to probe are the notions of pathology, health, normalcy of the network society. A full anthropology of the net society needs to explore not just the parallel and hyphenated time of criminality but the time of health. How does net time affect notions of health, psychiatry, the ideas of grief, memory, generations recovery? What Castells sketches in his observations on time and collectivization he must develop for the ‘lived time’ of network society. Does net time elude evolutionary time and what is the relation between them?

Unfortunately Castells spatializes time. Corporate time is the domain of instant time; ecological time is the time of the movements and of large parts of civil society. But what Castells does is raise a fascinating link between citizenship, time and democracy.

Citizenship is a cartography of available spaces and times. Theories of citizenship are generally located on the accepted time of modernity. One has to reach modernity to be a full citizen. Development as a project creates the inclined plane of progress such that tribals, peasants and other forms of marginalized time can climb up to the space of citizenship.

Castells creates a tabloid of times but he fails to link it to the democratic imagination. How does one locate the time of obsolescent people in a Castellian world? Are they pure noise? Or is Castells arguing that tribal time, peasant time, defeated time have all to be accommodated and assimilated to the time of finance capital? The relation between time and capital is clear but the implications of the varieties of time for democracy is truncated. Such a theory of information society does not understand how its antiseptic nature can eventually be genocidal. People can be triaged out of history or the future because they don’t belong to the time of corporations. Castells is brilliant on the time of Stakhonovites or the imperialism of Greenwich time. But he does not work out the full consequences of instant time and its hegemony. Only this time, genocide will look like a ‘pert’ chart or a well-dressed transfer of technology model. What Castells fails to understand is that ethnicity is not merely about identity but about the right to different forms of lived time which both multiculturalism and diversity need, not just as texts in a syllabus but as part of an active constitution in a contemporary world.

One could dialogue with Castells on a range of issues from the nature of cyberactivism to the role of the nation state, to the question of civil society in South Asia or the moral fabric of a network society. But I will stick to the above two issues and end with a more generalized response to the triptych of books.




In an essay on the scientific method C.H. Waddington set out his guidelines for evaluating a scientific theory or hypothesis. One first looks for the truth of the theory, its empirical validity. Second, one explores the range of issues it covers and the aesthetic power of the theory. Is it beautiful? Is it attractive? Is it persuasive? Waddington’s third criteria was fruitfulness, the array of possibilities a theory offers for renewing new questions and domains. Manuel Castells’ work will be evaluated across this impersonal grid of scholarship.



However, my reactions to Castells are a trifle more personal. Wading through his book is like exploring a territory; one feels a range of emotions struggleing through and with it. First one armwrestles with the sheer enormity of the book, its pythonesque muscularity which seems to swallow one. The range of nations, case studies, the volume of statistics is awesome. One begins with jottings on an old sheet of paper and then realizing its idiotic inadequacy gets a pad, two pads in fact and starts mapping the book. A walk becomes a hike, then an adventure. The flaneur acquires thick-soled boots and a collection of well-worked pencils. The relation to the book also changes from labour to play. One internalizes the idioms, the ideas, moves from armwrestling to Chinese checkers, hops and skips over a few pieces, invents a few moves and games, plays with small possibilities. Then one internalizes more of the book and it becomes a dialogue, a quarrel. One argues with the author, nods familiarly at certain points. Overall the book becomes a small symphony, the author orchestrating mounds of data and the individuality of different sections. One hears the power of it, ponders over the silences. The work is now the author’s and one’s own.

Castells book is not a great classic, but has classic dimensions. It reminds one of the great civilizational histories. Network Society is on the broad line of Norbert Elias and Braudel’s work, possessing the same obsessions, the same sense of a new world being created. Braudel has an obsession with varieties of trade, winds and storms. He names each one of them, creating a geo-ecology of the area. Castells’ preoccupation with crime or the behaviour of the net creates that same supple set of nuances for a techno-economic world. There is a sense of grandeur of scale, of a new continent being invented.

To use the hyperbolic narrative quoted in Jacques Arlandis’ The Tread and Cyberworld: ‘The Internet is a virtual continent, the seventh continent where you may soon be able to install everything that exists in real continents, but without the constraints of materiality: libraries, then shops, soon production plants, newspapers, cinema studios, hospitals, judges, policemen, hotels, astrologers, places of leisure and entertainment. Within this continent, empty of real inhabitants, a huge business will develop between virtual agents of a pure and perfect market economy...’ Castells moves from hyperbole to territory, producing a careful sociology.



One needs a personal salute to the triptych of books. My essay is more a personal review rather than a policy narrative. My encounter is not complete but Castells has produced a handbook, a travel narrative, a mega irritant for thought and action. I feel a bit like the oysters described in Walter D. Mignolos’ Time and the Colonial Difference.

In the early 1950s, biologists pulled a dozen oysters out from New Haven harbour and shipped them a thousand miles away to Northwestern University, to a different time zone. The oysters were kept in the same water but in total darkness. The biologists tied fine threads to the shells to monitor movements. In the beginning the oysters remained snug in their home time despite the displacement. After four weeks of recording and analyzing the data, the biologists realized that the shells had adapted to the rhythm of the tidal cycle in Illinois. The oysters were still behaving as if there was an ocean in that location.

In the beginning I was like that oyster, snug in my own time and then transported into the world of net. Yet I now feel a bit different. My mind responds to the time of net and also to the time of Narmada, Orissa and Delhi. I feel persuaded by the power of Castells. Yet I am captive to the politics of my place, my world, my location. I feel an ambivalence and an attraction and also a deep need to quarrel with the book. This, I have tried to capture.



Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society, Vol. 1, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1996.

-------- The Power of Identity, Vol. II, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1997.

------- End of Millennium, Vol. III, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1998.

Cary Fowler, Eva Lachkovis, Pat Mooney and Hope Shand, ‘The Laws of Life: Another Development and the New Biotechnologies’, Development Dialogue, Nos 1-2, 1988.

Andre Gunder Frank, Reorient: Global Economy in the Asian Age, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1998.

Susan George, How the Other Half Dies, Harmondsworth, London, 1976.

Calestous Juma, The Gene Hunters, London, Zed Books, 1989.

Wes Jackson, Altars of Unhewn Stone, North Point Press, 1987.

Paul Kennedy, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, London, Unwin Hyman, 1988.

Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1970.

David Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations, New York, W.W. Norton, 1998.

Scott Lash and John Urry, Economies of Signs and Space, London, Sage Publications, 1994.

Robert Romanyshyn, Technology as Symptom and Dream, London, Routledge, 1989.