What are 'Individualism' and 'Society' for Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman in their book "Networked: The New Social Operating System" (MIT 2012)?
Here are some of our quotes from their text thus far:
For Rainie and Wellman "the individual is at the autonomous center just as she is reaching out from her computer" ... within "social network operating systems and all mobile systems" ... (in the context of the "social network operating system" which for them is a) personal, b) multiuser, c) multitasking and d) multithreaded) (p. 7).
"Moving among relationships and milieus, networked individuals can fashion their own complex identities depending on their passions, beliefs, lifestyles, professional associations, work interests, hobbies or any number of other personal characteristics. These relationships often depend on context, which provides networked individuals an opportunity to present different faces in different circumstances online" (p. 19).
They write: "This is the era of free agents and the spirit of personal agency. But is not the World According to ME-it is not a world of autonomous and increasingly isolated individualists. Rather, it is the World According to the Connected Me, where people armed with potent technology tools can extend their networks far beyond what was possible in the past and where they face new constraints and challenges that are outgrowths of networked life" (p. 19).
What are other quotes about individualism and society from Chapter 1 to help focus our conversation, in some detail.
Now, while these definitions may diverge significantly from what we think ourselves about "individualism", or what we have learned about individuals or selves, growing up in our own unique cultures (identity-wise), they do provide an approach to explain much data about the information age, particularly per Rainie's Pew Center for Internet and American Life, which we'll get to.
And I'll repost here (from September 19th) where I think some of these questions are coming from in terms of asking sociologically how the information age is developing, per Manuel Castells, and Rainie and Wellman.
"Per Rainie and Wellman's "Networked," their argument is specific for Networked Individualism as a new development in social theory vis-a-vis the internet. See their chart on page 38 in Chapter 2, distinguishing between Group-Centered Society and Network Individualism. How to come richly into conversation with this chart is something I think we'll find fruitful for this course.
Whereas Manual Castells brings individualism vis-a-vis communalism into conversation, theoretically - see http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people/Castells/castells-con6.html - Rainie and Wellman characterize something new between the two, thanks to the information age and the internet."
What do you think? And how can such questions inform your research, as well as your writings?
Network Society -