Occupy Wall Street

Manuel Castells, University Professor and Wallis Annenberg Chair in Communication Technology and Society, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, will speak tonight (Feb. 18) on a theme related to his recent book Networks of Outrage and Hope; Social Movements in the Internet Age (Polity Press).

This book is an exploration of the new forms of social movements and protests that are erupting in the world today, from the Arab spring to the nationalist movement in Spain, and the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US. While these and similar social movements differ in many important ways, there is one thing they share in common: they are all interwoven inextricably with the creation of autonomous communication networks supported by the Internet and wireless communication.

In this timely and important book, Manuel Castells – the leading scholar of our contemporary networked society – examines the social, cultural and political roots of these new social movements, studies their innovative forms of self-organization, assesses the precise role of technology in the dynamics of the movements, suggests the reasons for the support they have found in large segments of society, and probes their capacity to induce political change by influencing people’s minds.

There is pecedence for this phenomenon. In Christianity: A Social and Cultural History, Howard C. Kee, et al. In one generation—75 years—Christianity emerged from its original Jewish context and developed into a worldwide religion, offering perceptive studies on how its origins and development were influenced by the changing social and cultural contexts in which the founders and leaders of this tradition lived and thought. This sophisticated social movement, using the most modern social media outlets—home meetings and mass rallies—to battle Greco-Roman and Jewish religious concepts. Kee considers the structuring of the church conceptually and organizationally in Europe, and discusses Christianity’s spread and growth in America and throughout the world. He examines the development of Christian doctrine and intellectual traditions. In short, Dr. Castells, if you think the Arab revolution and Occupy Wall Street are impressive, you should examine the Apostle Paul’s Occupy the Whole World Movement . . . Just thinking.

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