"],"_oembed_time_a3474360a52f623dd27eeb6ca500b4cd":["1513603055"],"_oembed_0c4edd4a705ecfa51921b0bc6dfd1a06":[""],"_oembed_time_0c4edd4a705ecfa51921b0bc6dfd1a06":["1513603052"],"_oembed_c27088c0648d5e494f2a96be5a723b8f":["

„Democracy is threatened by comprehensive surveillance.“ wussten schon die Menschen, die vor 30 Jahren im Kino International saßen, muss man aber leider jetzt wiederholen. #digitalsociety

— didumdida (@didumdida) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_c27088c0648d5e494f2a96be5a723b8f":["1513603053"],"_oembed_f6ced9d1e3a184fa9ff0a9728e7d5e2c":["

Massive global digital surveillance is the most important expression of power today. A global surveillance bureaucracy. #Castells #DigitalSociety

— Tim Schmalfeldt (@timnarrowfield) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_f6ced9d1e3a184fa9ff0a9728e7d5e2c":["1513603053"],"_oembed_26e2afb9d1afd9687d83b22ab56267ac":["

"Ultimately, #encryption is the only way we can protect ourselves" and therefore fundamental - Manuel Castells at #digitalsociety lecture

— InternetPolicyReview (@PolicyR) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_26e2afb9d1afd9687d83b22ab56267ac":["1513603053"],"_oembed_647c5ee291b6a53b5005922e559ae900":["

Hab nun auch von #ManuelCastells nochmal verstanden, dass die Bedeutung von sozialen Bewegungen darin besteht, gesellschaftliche Werte zu verändern. Wichtiger Gedanke für Menschen, die sich sozial engagieren. #digitalsociety

— jenny genzmer (@neuspreeland) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_647c5ee291b6a53b5005922e559ae900":["1513603054"],"_oembed_200d0ea54b89b4be16df31cc68757510":["

Hier zählt gerade ein 75-jähriger @EFF, @Snowden, @torproject etc. als Mittel für counter-power auf. #digitalsociety

— didumdida (@didumdida) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_200d0ea54b89b4be16df31cc68757510":["1513603054"],"_oembed_0ed0ac32d863bd05c48dd9424d9f684d":["

#ManuelCastells: "The Internet is the mirror of society. If society is good or bad is immmediately reflected on the Internet." #DigitalSociety

— Joerg Geier (@joerggeier) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_0ed0ac32d863bd05c48dd9424d9f684d":["1513603054"],"_thumbnail_id":["37953"],"post_doi":[""],"_post_doi":["post_doi"],"_oembed_6360c2fe8de09b422045caf6386eaeca":["

Castells: Let´s face it there is no more data privacy anymore!

— Cristobal Cobo (@cristobalcobo) May 24, 2011
"],"_oembed_time_6360c2fe8de09b422045caf6386eaeca":["1513610496"],"_oembed_730e2dc31347132be7afbb371e607fa8":["

„The French spy the Germans, the Germans spy the French and then they exchange information.“ - und so umgehen Regierungen mit Geheimdiensten legislative Restriktionen zur Überwachung von BürgerInnen. #manuellcastells #digitalsociety

— didumdida (@didumdida) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_730e2dc31347132be7afbb371e607fa8":["1513612139"],"_yoast_wpseo_opengraph-title":["Digital power-play: Manuel Castells in Berlin"],"_yoast_wpseo_focuskw_text_input":["Manuel Castells"],"_yoast_wpseo_focuskw":["Manuel Castells"],"_yoast_wpseo_metadesc":["The influential sociologist Manuel Castells inaugurated our academic lecture series about “Making sense of the digital society“ on 12 December 2017."],"_yoast_wpseo_linkdex":["84"],"_wpml_media_duplicate":["1"],"_wp_attachment_metadata":[""],"_oembed_b77d1d5aac32e1169d62b1aa6d8e94c7":["

Castells: Let´s face it there is no more data privacy anymore!

— Cristobal Cobo (@cristobalcobo) May 24, 2011
"],"_oembed_time_b77d1d5aac32e1169d62b1aa6d8e94c7":["1521801077"],"_oembed_4450d61d36ae0551fadd0e91fc823735":["

Massive global digital surveillance is the most important expression of power today. A global surveillance bureaucracy. #Castells #DigitalSociety

— Tim Schmalfeldt (@timnarrowfield) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_4450d61d36ae0551fadd0e91fc823735":["1521801078"],"_oembed_bc0da8771829ae0aa8ed2ba43cfcae0f":["

„The French spy the Germans, the Germans spy the French and then they exchange information.“ - und so umgehen Regierungen mit Geheimdiensten legislative Restriktionen zur Überwachung von BürgerInnen. #manuellcastells #digitalsociety

— didumdida (@didumdida) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_bc0da8771829ae0aa8ed2ba43cfcae0f":["1521801078"],"_oembed_7f928ae4d856fa6f718e69788e6f7090":["

"Ultimately, #encryption is the only way we can protect ourselves" and therefore fundamental - Manuel Castells at #digitalsociety lecture

— InternetPolicyReview (@PolicyR) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_7f928ae4d856fa6f718e69788e6f7090":["1521801078"],"_oembed_b1f843a00cac1b9ed854c6ce580e90c0":["

#ManuelCastells: "The Internet is the mirror of society. If society is good or bad is immmediately reflected on the Internet." #DigitalSociety

— Joerg Geier (@joerggeier) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_b1f843a00cac1b9ed854c6ce580e90c0":["1521801079"],"_oembed_d1d9ece5272f8a47f49d72beb0f18e6c":["

And that was Castells on the #digitalsociety. What's next? For now, good night! pic.twitter.com/m3z4B6RuzL

— Christian Katzenbach (@ckatzenbach) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_d1d9ece5272f8a47f49d72beb0f18e6c":["1521801079"],"_oembed_fa0c2eb0c4f69ea256ef1a9bf74e9429":[""],"_oembed_time_fa0c2eb0c4f69ea256ef1a9bf74e9429":["1523722413"],"_wpml_media_has_media":["1"]}},"jobLocation":{"@type":"Place","address":{"@type":"PostalAddress","streetAddress":"Französische Straße 9","addressLocality":"Berlin","addressRegion":"Berlin","PostalCode":"10117","addressCountry":"Germany"}},"baseSalary":{"@type":"MonetaryAmount","value":{"@type":"QuantitativeValue"}},"estimatedSalary":{"@type":"MonetaryAmount","value":{"@type":"QuantitativeValue"}},"title":"Digital power-play: Manuel Castells in Berlin","description":"Manuel Castells has been one of the first intellectuals to grasp the internet and its associated developments within a broader social theory. So, how is power constituted in the digital society? Already with his highly influential trilogy 'The Information Age', Manuel Castells has highlighted the ambiguities of this development. Traditional forms of power might erode, but new, distributed forms of power emerge, Castells argued back then. Who else but him could kick-off the first event of our academic lecture series about the digital society on 12 December 2017, and revisit the development of the last 20 years?\r\nRead more about the upcoming lecture by Christoph Neuberger\r\nIn our digital age, it became fundamental to understand the mechanisms of power. How is power constituted in the digital society? Who has power, and how can this power be countered and contested? With emerging digitally networked technologies, it was believed that the utopian vision of people’s empowerment, emancipation and democratisation could become reality. But where are we now?\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nFollowing Castells, we can differentiate two pivotal forms of power. In the first place, the state holds a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. Secondly – what is even more crucial in the digital society –, the ones who are in power shape the opinion on a public and individual level. In contrast to the state monopoly on violence, the latter is highly dependent on information technologies and communication networks, which can be regarded as today’s main powers of distributing power and capital.\r\n\r\nThe paradox of “free” internet technology\r\n\r\nIn recent years, it became more and more clear that the use of certain internet technologies isn’t „for free“ at all. With social relations becoming more and more interconnected, possibilities for public surveillance grow. Furthermore, communication is increasingly data-based. As the data is being processed through both private enterprises and governmental authorities, our interactions are caught in power structures dominated by a few.\r\n\r\nhttps://twitter.com/cristobalcobo/status/73053334638034945\r\n\r\nAs a result, we pay with our privacy. A “global surveillance bureaucracy” nearly ensures omniscience. To Manuel Castells, the constant collection of user-related data by national security agencies and private companies ultimately means a threat to democracy.\r\n\r\nhttps://twitter.com/timnarrowfield/status/940655250314334209\r\n\r\nMeaningful countermeasures\r\n\r\nCentral to Castells’ lecture was the assumption of a dialectic dynamic, emerging from the interplay of power communication on the one hand and counter-power relations on the other hand. But how to protect ourselves and regain our autonomy from ubiquitous surveillance?\r\n\r\nhttps://twitter.com/didumdida/status/940656980091396096\r\nhttps://twitter.com/PolicyR/status/940657550655217669\r\n\r\nAccording to Manuel Castells, the only option is to enhance democratic capacities. He suggests to foster legal protection mechanisms for social activism, whistle-blowing, citizen journalism and to engage in social network movements. Jenny Genzmer briefly outlines on Twitter that Manuel Castells once more explained the importance of social movements to her, namely to transform societal values. An important thought for people who are socially engaged.\r\n\r\nThe good, the bad and the ugly technologies?\r\n\r\nFinally, Castells recalled a very crucial point for understanding the play of power in the digital age:\r\n\r\nhttps://twitter.com/joerggeier/status/940664383117692929\r\n\r\nThe question is not whether certain technologies are good or bad. Rather than being neutral, it reflects society like a mirror and is the constant product of our interactions.\r\n\r\nhttps://twitter.com/ckatzenbach/status/940707254311030784\r\n\r\nAfter the event, the letters announcing Castells’ lecture in front of Kino International were taken down. Instead, they were replaced by an announcement of the new Star Wars movie – leaving “Star Castells“ just for a short moment of observation. In some way, Manuel Castells was celebrated like a rock star that evening, a rock star who has been in the business for a long time…\r\n\r\n\r\n© Photos: Mathias Völzke/HIIG \r\n \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nManuel Castells inaugurated with his speech the academic lecture series „Making sense of the digital society“, organised by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) and the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb). On 30 January 2018 Christoph Neuberger, Professor for Communication Science at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, will hold a lecture about democracy and public sphere in the digital society. Further confirmed speakers are Marion Fourcade, Professor for Sociology at UC Berkeley, Elena Esposito, Professor for Sociology at University of Bielefeld and University of Modena-Reggio Emilia, and José van Dijck, author of the forthcoming book The Platform Society and president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.\r\n\r\n\r\nThis post represents the view of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of the institute itself. For more information about the topics of these articles and associated research projects, please contact info@hiig.de.","url":"https://www.hiig.de/en/digital-power-play-manuel-castells-berlin/","employmentType":{"_edit_lock":["1513679490:99"],"_edit_last":["99"],"page_contacts":["a:2:{s:5:\"title\";s:0:\"\";s:4:\"text\";s:0:\"\";}"],"_yoast_wpseo_content_score":["30"],"_yoast_wpseo_primary_category":["13"],"_oembed_a3474360a52f623dd27eeb6ca500b4cd":["

And that was Castells on the #digitalsociety. What's next? For now, good night! pic.twitter.com/m3z4B6RuzL

— Christian Katzenbach (@ckatzenbach) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_a3474360a52f623dd27eeb6ca500b4cd":["1513603055"],"_oembed_0c4edd4a705ecfa51921b0bc6dfd1a06":[""],"_oembed_time_0c4edd4a705ecfa51921b0bc6dfd1a06":["1513603052"],"_oembed_c27088c0648d5e494f2a96be5a723b8f":["

„Democracy is threatened by comprehensive surveillance.“ wussten schon die Menschen, die vor 30 Jahren im Kino International saßen, muss man aber leider jetzt wiederholen. #digitalsociety

— didumdida (@didumdida) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_c27088c0648d5e494f2a96be5a723b8f":["1513603053"],"_oembed_f6ced9d1e3a184fa9ff0a9728e7d5e2c":["

Massive global digital surveillance is the most important expression of power today. A global surveillance bureaucracy. #Castells #DigitalSociety

— Tim Schmalfeldt (@timnarrowfield) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_f6ced9d1e3a184fa9ff0a9728e7d5e2c":["1513603053"],"_oembed_26e2afb9d1afd9687d83b22ab56267ac":["

"Ultimately, #encryption is the only way we can protect ourselves" and therefore fundamental - Manuel Castells at #digitalsociety lecture

— InternetPolicyReview (@PolicyR) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_26e2afb9d1afd9687d83b22ab56267ac":["1513603053"],"_oembed_647c5ee291b6a53b5005922e559ae900":["

Hab nun auch von #ManuelCastells nochmal verstanden, dass die Bedeutung von sozialen Bewegungen darin besteht, gesellschaftliche Werte zu verändern. Wichtiger Gedanke für Menschen, die sich sozial engagieren. #digitalsociety

— jenny genzmer (@neuspreeland) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_647c5ee291b6a53b5005922e559ae900":["1513603054"],"_oembed_200d0ea54b89b4be16df31cc68757510":["

Hier zählt gerade ein 75-jähriger @EFF, @Snowden, @torproject etc. als Mittel für counter-power auf. #digitalsociety

— didumdida (@didumdida) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_200d0ea54b89b4be16df31cc68757510":["1513603054"],"_oembed_0ed0ac32d863bd05c48dd9424d9f684d":["

#ManuelCastells: "The Internet is the mirror of society. If society is good or bad is immmediately reflected on the Internet." #DigitalSociety

— Joerg Geier (@joerggeier) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_0ed0ac32d863bd05c48dd9424d9f684d":["1513603054"],"_thumbnail_id":["37953"],"post_doi":[""],"_post_doi":["post_doi"],"_oembed_6360c2fe8de09b422045caf6386eaeca":["

Castells: Let´s face it there is no more data privacy anymore!

— Cristobal Cobo (@cristobalcobo) May 24, 2011
"],"_oembed_time_6360c2fe8de09b422045caf6386eaeca":["1513610496"],"_oembed_730e2dc31347132be7afbb371e607fa8":["

„The French spy the Germans, the Germans spy the French and then they exchange information.“ - und so umgehen Regierungen mit Geheimdiensten legislative Restriktionen zur Überwachung von BürgerInnen. #manuellcastells #digitalsociety

— didumdida (@didumdida) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_730e2dc31347132be7afbb371e607fa8":["1513612139"],"_yoast_wpseo_opengraph-title":["Digital power-play: Manuel Castells in Berlin"],"_yoast_wpseo_focuskw_text_input":["Manuel Castells"],"_yoast_wpseo_focuskw":["Manuel Castells"],"_yoast_wpseo_metadesc":["The influential sociologist Manuel Castells inaugurated our academic lecture series about “Making sense of the digital society“ on 12 December 2017."],"_yoast_wpseo_linkdex":["84"],"_wpml_media_duplicate":["1"],"_wp_attachment_metadata":[""],"_oembed_b77d1d5aac32e1169d62b1aa6d8e94c7":["

Castells: Let´s face it there is no more data privacy anymore!

— Cristobal Cobo (@cristobalcobo) May 24, 2011
"],"_oembed_time_b77d1d5aac32e1169d62b1aa6d8e94c7":["1521801077"],"_oembed_4450d61d36ae0551fadd0e91fc823735":["

Massive global digital surveillance is the most important expression of power today. A global surveillance bureaucracy. #Castells #DigitalSociety

— Tim Schmalfeldt (@timnarrowfield) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_4450d61d36ae0551fadd0e91fc823735":["1521801078"],"_oembed_bc0da8771829ae0aa8ed2ba43cfcae0f":["

„The French spy the Germans, the Germans spy the French and then they exchange information.“ - und so umgehen Regierungen mit Geheimdiensten legislative Restriktionen zur Überwachung von BürgerInnen. #manuellcastells #digitalsociety

— didumdida (@didumdida) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_bc0da8771829ae0aa8ed2ba43cfcae0f":["1521801078"],"_oembed_7f928ae4d856fa6f718e69788e6f7090":["

"Ultimately, #encryption is the only way we can protect ourselves" and therefore fundamental - Manuel Castells at #digitalsociety lecture

— InternetPolicyReview (@PolicyR) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_7f928ae4d856fa6f718e69788e6f7090":["1521801078"],"_oembed_b1f843a00cac1b9ed854c6ce580e90c0":["

#ManuelCastells: "The Internet is the mirror of society. If society is good or bad is immmediately reflected on the Internet." #DigitalSociety

— Joerg Geier (@joerggeier) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_b1f843a00cac1b9ed854c6ce580e90c0":["1521801079"],"_oembed_d1d9ece5272f8a47f49d72beb0f18e6c":["

And that was Castells on the #digitalsociety. What's next? For now, good night! pic.twitter.com/m3z4B6RuzL

— Christian Katzenbach (@ckatzenbach) December 12, 2017
"],"_oembed_time_d1d9ece5272f8a47f49d72beb0f18e6c":["1521801079"],"_oembed_fa0c2eb0c4f69ea256ef1a9bf74e9429":[""],"_oembed_time_fa0c2eb0c4f69ea256ef1a9bf74e9429":["1523722413"],"_wpml_media_has_media":["1"]},"image":[{"@type":"ImageObject","@id":"https://www.hiig.de/en/digital-power-play-manuel-castells-berlin/#primaryimage","url":"https://www.hiig.de/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Castells_Blog-1200x675.jpg","width":"1200","height":"675"},{"@type":"ImageObject","url":"https://www.hiig.de/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Castells_Blog-1200x900.jpg","width":"1200","height":"900"},{"@type":"ImageObject","url":"https://www.hiig.de/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Castells_Blog-1200x675.jpg","width":"1200","height":"675"}]}] Skip to content
Mathias Voelzke Völzke info@mathiasvoelzke.com www.mathiasvoelzke.com

Digital power-play: Manuel Castells in Berlin

18 December 2017

Manuel Castells has been one of the first intellectuals to grasp the internet and its associated developments within a broader social theory. So, how is power constituted in the digital society? Already with his highly influential trilogy ‘The Information Age’, Manuel Castells has highlighted the ambiguities of this development. Traditional forms of power might erode, but new, distributed forms of power emerge, Castells argued back then. Who else but him could kick-off the first event of our academic lecture series about the digital society on 12 December 2017, and revisit the development of the last 20 years?

Read more about the upcoming lecture by Christoph Neuberger

In our digital age, it became fundamental to understand the mechanisms of power. How is power constituted in the digital society? Who has power, and how can this power be countered and contested? With emerging digitally networked technologies, it was believed that the utopian vision of people’s empowerment, emancipation and democratisation could become reality. But where are we now?

Following Castells, we can differentiate two pivotal forms of power. In the first place, the state holds a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. Secondly – what is even more crucial in the digital society –, the ones who are in power shape the opinion on a public and individual level. In contrast to the state monopoly on violence, the latter is highly dependent on information technologies and communication networks, which can be regarded as today’s main powers of distributing power and capital.

The paradox of “free” internet technology

In recent years, it became more and more clear that the use of certain internet technologies isn’t „for free“ at all. With social relations becoming more and more interconnected, possibilities for public surveillance grow. Furthermore, communication is increasingly data-based. As the data is being processed through both private enterprises and governmental authorities, our interactions are caught in power structures dominated by a few.

As a result, we pay with our privacy. A “global surveillance bureaucracy” nearly ensures omniscience. To Manuel Castells, the constant collection of user-related data by national security agencies and private companies ultimately means a threat to democracy.

Meaningful countermeasures

Central to Castells’ lecture was the assumption of a dialectic dynamic, emerging from the interplay of power communication on the one hand and counter-power relations on the other hand. But how to protect ourselves and regain our autonomy from ubiquitous surveillance?

According to Manuel Castells, the only option is to enhance democratic capacities. He suggests to foster legal protection mechanisms for social activism, whistle-blowing, citizen journalism and to engage in social network movements. Jenny Genzmer briefly outlines on Twitter that Manuel Castells once more explained the importance of social movements to her, namely to transform societal values. An important thought for people who are socially engaged.

The good, the bad and the ugly technologies?

Finally, Castells recalled a very crucial point for understanding the play of power in the digital age:

The question is not whether certain technologies are good or bad. Rather than being neutral, it reflects society like a mirror and is the constant product of our interactions.

After the event, the letters announcing Castells’ lecture in front of Kino International were taken down. Instead, they were replaced by an announcement of the new Star Wars movie – leaving “Star Castells“ just for a short moment of observation. In some way, Manuel Castells was celebrated like a rock star that evening, a rock star who has been in the business for a long time…

© Photos: Mathias Völzke/HIIG 

 

Manuel Castells inaugurated with his speech the academic lecture series „Making sense of the digital society“, organised by the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) and the German Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung/bpb). On 30 January 2018 Christoph Neuberger, Professor for Communication Science at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, will hold a lecture about democracy and public sphere in the digital society. Further confirmed speakers are Marion Fourcade, Professor for Sociology at UC Berkeley, Elena Esposito, Professor for Sociology at University of Bielefeld and University of Modena-Reggio Emilia, and José van Dijck, author of the forthcoming book The Platform Society and president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
This post represents the view of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of the institute itself. For more information about the topics of these articles and associated research projects, please contact info@hiig.de.

This post represents the view of the author and does not necessarily represent the view of the institute itself. For more information about the topics of these articles and associated research projects, please contact info@hiig.de.

Katrin Werner

Former Coordinator for Science Communication and Fundraising

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Man sieht in Leuchtschrift das Wort "Ethical"

Digital Ethics

Whether civil society, politics or science – everyone seems to agree that the New Twenties will be characterised by digitalisation. But what about the tension of digital ethics? How do we create a digital transformation involving society as a whole, including people who either do not have the financial means or the necessary know-how to benefit from digitalisation?  And what do these comprehensive changes in our actions mean for democracy? In this dossier we want to address these questions and offer food for thought on how we can use digitalisation for the common good.

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