Article Critic: Power and Counter – Power in the Network Society by Manuel Castells, The Structure and Dynamics of Global Multi-Media Business Networks by Castells & Arsenault



Power and Counter – Power in the Network Society

                Are the public space and media atmosphere shifting from the conventional communication instruments to the new age technological communication spaces? It seems “yes” that for those who take a look at the today’s situation. But this shifting is not that simple which has to be examined properly for whom want to see the things beyond what is happening just under our eyes.

Castells' 2007 work’s -Power and Counter – Power in the Network Society- aim is to show that how this shifting happen and what results it created in digital age as he thinks that all institutional systems reflect power relations in any time. He presents some hypotheses in regard to transformation of power challenges while his approach is defining what power and counter power are and how they are overlapping in mass-communication and mass self-communication.

According to the author, politics is based on socialized communication, on the capacity to influence people’s minds. To influence people’s minds, most useful apparatus is the TV if one consider the results of several polls and works related to public opinion, to be largely taking by the politicians who are deemed as very much important person by ordinary people. In order to make good impressions on people, politicians use media politics via TV’s and are harming opponent’s campaigns by using whatever they can get. All these process works within every part of the media and society and as a result of this people’s perception of politics change to a very negative way. In recent years, Eurobarometer, UNDP, World Values Survey and various polls from Gallup, the Field Institute and the Pew Institute in the U.S.A. all point toward a significiant level of distrust of citizens vis – a –vis politicians. The latest Gallup work which has published by The Economist Magazine in 11/20/2013 has shown up that the only 40% of citizens in the mostly – rich countries of the OECD expressed confidence in their national governments in 2012, down five percentage points from 2007. (The drop is big in countries hardest hit by recession: more than 20 percentage points in Greece, Ireland and Portugal)

            When we get back to author’s division called mass media and mass self – communication, we can see the bilateral behiaviours of media businesses.  The great media conglomerates are also investing in social network areas, as the case of Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp acquired Myspace clearly shows that. Merging old and new media companies emerges another consolidation problem which we have already known from the old media ownership structures. But, author says that the process of consolidation between old and new media is not inevitable. There is something like a tendency toward smaller less commercial networking sites by young people and it creates a different type of resistance against conglomerates.

            In addition to changing ownership structures and merging new and old media companies, there is another effect related to control authority handover. At first, Professional journalists hold this authority position behalf of the media institution as a whole but this position no longer keep in by the journalists but by the consumer’s itself. This changed media environment has created new opportunities for the public to enter and interpret the political world. It also changes the way of politicians practice upon the public and also the other way round.

As a conclusion, author argues that societies evolve and change by deconstruction their institutions under the pressure of new power relationships and constructing new sets of institutions that allow people to live side by side without self – destroying, in spite of their contradictory interests and values. The future will shape under the realm of new media and humankind’s struggle to free their minds is never ends.

The Structure and Dynamics of Global Multi-Media Business Networks

Arsenault’s and Castells’ s 2008 work -The Structure and Dynamics of Global Multi-Media Business Networks- focuses on merely the business structure of media environment which dominated by seven great conglomerates in USA. Today, they argue that the media operate, by and large, according to a business-logic regardless of their legal status. Their definition of mass communication and mass self- communcation is also takes part in their work.

Their work generated some points such as media ownership is increasingly concentrated, media conglomerates are able to deliver a diversity of products over one platform as well as one product over a diversity of platforms, this fluid movement of communication products across platforms encourages the customization and segmentation of audiences in order to maximize advertising revenues. And finally, these success of these strategies is determined by the ability of internal media Networks to achieve optimal economies of synergy that take advantage of the changing communications environment.

As a conclusion, authors say that “The digitization of cultural production and distribution, under the conditions of globalization and deregulation, has ushered in several simultaneous trends. Media content is both diversified and globalized. […] the global shapes the local but the local also influences the local. “ All of these works finally confirm that the commodification of mediated culture and the subordination of all forms of commodification to profit making in the market place. Most of the media Networks interconneted between other sectors of the economy, such as finance, banking, advertising, technology,research etc. Through multiple switches. The global corporate business shapes much of the areas that we deal with but many of the individuals are trying to find enough space to escaping from them. The new media creates new opportunities due to free people and gives them something to create on their own spaces.

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