Shaping the Network Society

Shaping the Network Society

The New Role of Civil Society in Cyberspace

Edited by Douglas Schuler and Peter Day

How computer professionals and communities can work together to shape sociotechnical systems that will meet society's challenges.





How computer professionals and communities can work together to shape sociotechnical systems that will meet society's challenges.

Information and computer technologies are used every day by real people with real needs. The authors contributing to Shaping the Network Society describe how technology can be used effectively by communities, activists, and citizens to meet society's challenges. In their vision, computer professionals are concerned less with bits, bytes, and algorithms and more with productive partnerships that engage both researchers and community activists. These collaborations are producing important sociotechnical work that will affect the future of the network society.

Traditionally, academic research on real-world users of technology has been neglected or even discouraged. The authors contributing to this book are working to fill this gap; their theoretical and practical discussions illustrate a new orientation—research that works with people in their natural social environments, uses common language rather than rarefied academic discourse, and takes a pragmatic perspective. The topics they consider are key to democratization and social change. They include human rights in the "global billboard society"; public computing in Toledo, Ohio; public digital culture in Amsterdam; "civil networking" in the former Yugoslavia; information technology and the international public sphere; "historical archaeologies" of community networks; "technobiographical" reflections on the future; libraries as information commons; and globalization and media democracy, as illustrated by Indymedia, a global collective of independent media organizations.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262194976 443 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 7 illus.


$25.00 X ISBN: 9780262513845 443 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 7 illus.


Douglas Schuler

Douglas Schuler is a member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College, former Chair of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR), and a founding member of the Seattle Community Network (SCN). He is coeditor of several books, including Shaping the Network Society: The New Role of Civic Society in Cyberspace (MIT Press, 2004) and the author of New Community Networks: Wired for Change.

Peter Day

Peter Day is Senior Lecturer at the School of Computing, Mathematical, and Information Sciences at the University of Brighton and a director of the Sussex Community Internet Project.


  • Doug Schuler and Peter Day have done it again! This book challenges us to ensure that the benefits of a network society flow to all, not just the rich or well-educated. Activists, educators, academics, students, and citizens alike will all find inspiration here.

    Jenny Preece

    Professor, Information Systems Department, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

  • Shaping the Network Society documents and analyzes the emergence of civil society in cyberspace. Based on contributions by some of the best experts in the world, it is essential reading for students and practitioners of the new forms of democracy in the Information Age.

    Manuel Castells

    Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society, University of Southern California