Review of Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age

As I compose this review, hundreds of social movements have just erupted and others have continued since the first publication of this book in 2012. Now in its second edition, this book by Manuel Castells Oliván, a Spanish researcher of the information society, communication, and globalization and a professor of sociology at UC Berkeley, does not only trace social movements and revolutions across borders in 2011 but also provides assessment of these movements (two years after their eruption) and adds insightful analyses of different social movements that took place between 2013-2014. Castells attempts to find commonalities between these movements, answers what triggers them, and sheds light on the important role of digital technologies (namely, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter…etc.) in affecting change—whether this change happens in the minds of people, whether tangible, or whether desirable or not. What is unique in this book is its emphasis on the internet, not as a material instrument but as powerful communication tool that facilitates and diffuses social movements.

Organized chronologically rather than topically, Castells’s book analyzes the Arab Uprising, Icelandic revolution, the Indignadas movement in Spain, Occupy Wall Street in the United States that took place in 2011. Castells, then devotes two chapters to discuss social movements that took place between 2012-2014 such as: the Turkish movement, the demonstrations in Brazil , The Student Movement in Chile , the Mexican Movement #YoSoy132, as well as Five Stars Movement in Italy. For Castells, it is all started in Tunisia and Iceland, then diffused to Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Spain, and the United States. While Egypt took it cues from Tunisia, Spain took it cues form Iceland; and ultimately, New Yorkers took their cues from Egypt and Spain. What connects all these people together, according to Castells, is their “feeling” of disgust of dictatorship, and political and economic corruption.

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Networks of Outrage and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age. By Manuel Castells. Polity Press, 2015. 328 pp. $11.21. ISBN: 978-0745695761.

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