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Essays & White Papers

Global Network Organizations: Emergence and Future Prospects*
Janet Fulk, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Professor of Communications
USC Annenberg School for Communication

Abstract: The closing years of the 20th century brought a burst of theory, research, analysis and social commentary that established the network as the most important emergent organizational structure and the pre-eminent metaphor for sensemaking by academics and practitioners alike.
Download link: FulkJ2001.pdf
Posted: March 14, 2005

The Role of Global Telecommunications Network in Bridging Economic and Political Divides 1989 to1999
Peter Monge, University of Southern California
Sorin Adam Matei, Purdue University

This research explores the role of telecommunicative globalization in bridging world political and economic divides. Current approaches define globalization primarily in terms of increased density of network ties between nations, a perspective the present article extends into a more comprehensive framework. Exchange and balance theories are combined into a multitheoretical, multilevel model consisting of hypotheses regarding mutuality, transitivity, and cyclicality of telephonic flows between nations that differed in economic and democratic attributes in 1989 and 1999. Statistical p* procedures demonstrate that tendencies toward mutuality and transitivity in the world communications network have significantly increased between 1989 and 1999. These findings hold both for telecommunication flows among a full set of 110 nations of the world and for links between rich and poor and democratic and nondemocratic nations. The article concludes by examining implications of these results for network globalization theories.
Download link: Monge_&_Matei_JOC_04.pdf
Posted: November 10, 2004

The Rise of Informational Utopics
Jeffrey Juris - Post-Doctoral Fellow, USC Annenberg School for Communication
Abstract: Since the protests against the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle in November 1999 and through subsequent mobilizations and forums in cities such as Prague, Quebec, Genoa, Barcelona, and Porto Alegre, anti-corporate globalization activists have generated innovative network-based practices through the widespread use of new digital technologies. On the one hand, the Internet has facilitated the diffusion of highly flexible and radically decentralized local/global activist networks, allowing for communication and coordination at-a-distance in real time. On the other hand, activists have also employed new technologies to generate alternative news and information, practice electronic civil disobedience, and experiment with new forms of horizontal collaboration. Indeed, during smaller actions, independent media activists sometimes rival their direct action counterparts in number, while temporary media labs and hubs often house the most dynamic spaces within larger mobilizations, constituting key centers of communication, resource and information exchange, and broader technological and political experimentation.
This paper explores emerging forms of horizontal collaboration within anti-corporate globalization movements. Elsewhere, I examine the relationship among networking technologies, organizational forms, and political norms (Juris 2004a), as well as networking politics more generally (2004b). This work identifies an emerging “cultural logic of networking” among anti-corporate globalization activists, which refers to the broad guiding principles, shaped by the logic of informational capitalism, that are internalized by activists and generate concrete networking practices. It specifically entails a series of deeply embedded and embodied social and cultural dispositions that orient actors toward: 1) building horizontal ties and connections among diverse, autonomous elements, 2) the free and open circulation of information, 3) collaboration through decentralized coordination and directly democratic decision-making, and 4) self-directed networking. Networking logics are unevenly distributed, and always exist in dynamic tension with other competing logics, often generating a complex “cultural politics of networking” within concrete movement spheres.

Download link: juris.edgehill.infotopics.doc
Posted: October 27, 2004

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