Computer-centered networks and technologies are reshaping social relations and constituting new social domains on a global scale, from virtually borderless electronic markets and Internet-based large-scale conversations to worldwide open source software development communities, transnational corporate production systems, and the global knowledge-arenas associated with NGO networks. This book explores how such "digital formations" emerge from the ever-changing intersection of computer-centered technologies and the broad range of social contexts that underlie much of what happens in cyberspace.
While viewing technologies fundamentally in social rather than technical terms, "Digital Formations" nonetheless emphasizes the importance of recognizing the specific technical capacities of digital technologies. Importantly, it identifies digital formations as a new area of study in the social sciences and in thinking about globalization. The ten chapters, by leading scholars, examine key social, political, and economic developments associated with these new configurations of organization, space, and interaction. They address the operation of digital formations and their implications for the development of longstanding institutions and for their wider contexts and fields, and they consider the political, economic, and other forces shaping those formations and how the formations, in turn, are shaping such forces.
Following a conceptual introduction by the editors are chapters by Hayward Alker, Jonathan Bach and David Stark, Lars-Erik Cederman and Peter A. Kraus, Dieter Ernst, D. Linda Garcia, Doug Guthrie, Robert Latham, Warren Sack, Saskia Sassen, and Steven Weber.
"A valuable contribution to scholarship, and one that I enjoyed reading, Digital Formations takes a unique approach to the subject of information technology. In seeking to build new conceptual frameworks and develop new perspectives, it provides a solid foundation for the elaboration of future empirical and theoretical work on IT and globalization." - Michel S. Laguerre, University of California, Berkeley, author of The Informal City and The Global Ethnopolis "Comprehensive and insightful, Digital Formations will be greeted warmly in the fields that over-lap its concerns. It addresses a most important set of questions concerning the relationship of information technologies to globalization. And this is an urgent topic for social science." - Mark Poster, University of California, Irvine, author of The Mode of Information and What's the Matter with the Internet?"