In the 2010’s edition’s preface, Castells asserts the tensions and violent outbreaks emerging from identity building have been most pronounced since the volume’s first publication. Here he proposes an identity-building typology: (1) legitimizing, effectuated by dominant institutions to rationalize power and establish civil society; (2) resistance, wherein actors in devalued positions produce communes or communities; and (3) project, wherein actors develop a new identity and transform the overall social structure, creating subjects in the process. Castells hypothesizes that subjects are no longer created by civil societies but by expressions of “communal resistance” (11).
He explores a social theory of contemporary nationalism, averring that in it nations are separate from the state. Indeed, the nation-state’s power is seriously eroded in the information economy. Nationalism, meanwhile, is neither linked to the formation of the modern nation-state, nor is it directed by elite interests. And since it’s more reactive than proactive, it’s more cultural than political.
He hypothesizes that ethnicity is “not the basis for communal construction of meaning in the network society because it is based on primary bonds that lose significance” (59). Territorial identity-making, rather, functions as the lynchpin for local community making in light of its deep connection to sense of belonging. Cultural communes are: (1) defensive identities that act as refuge/solidarity, (2) culturally constituted, (3) and reactions to prevailing social trends.
Castells then enters a discussion about globalization and informationalism’s social movements, saying: (1) they must be understood on their own terms; (2) they can be radical, conservative, both, or even neither; (3) and that Alain Touraine’s (1956, 1966) typology is indispensable. It considers: (a) the social movement’s identity, (b) the social movement’s named adversary, and (c) the social movement’s social goal.
Next Castells figures that the crisis of patriarchalism is another key element of the Information Age. Feminism has emerged with the transition of the economy, the revolutions in biological sciences, and the rapid diffusion of ideas in globalized culture from the 1960s onward. The crisis of the patriarchal family comprises a total reconfiguration (and shrinking) of the nuclear household in its manifold forms.
The dual “[G]lobalization/localization of media and electronic communication is tantamount to the denationalization and destatization of information, the two trends being inseparable for the time being” (259). Together, they make the “powerless state.” Multinational cooperation requires an “irreversible sharing of sovereignty…and…entrenchment of nation-states” (268).
Finally, Castells asserts that while the political realm plays out in the media, control of the media does not translate to political control. “Mediacracy” is “not contrary to democracy because it’s as complementary and plural as democracy ([which is to say] not much)” (317). Since the nation-state can’t sustain both national citizenship and singular identity, we’re seeing the “penetration of the political system by symbolic politicos, single-issues mobilizations, localism, referendum politics, and ad hoc support for personalized leadership” (349).
Power still matters, of course: “the new power lies in the codes of information and in the images of representation” (359).