Rupture: the crisis of liberal democracy according to Manuel Castells

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Almost a year after the International Journal of Communication from the University of Southern California published a review of Manuel Castells’ 2018 “Rupture: the crisis of liberal democracy”, I shared on Twitter and Youtube videos to comment the summary of my analisis

Castells starts the book talking about a crisis in trust, which for him is also based in the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, which made people see how the system, or the systems rescued thousands of companies (banks) which had taking their homes, and savings, and which caused a global recesion.

The book, Rupture, is divided in 5 chapters which make allusion to the permanent state of global emergency, conflicts and social movements in France (Macron), problems of the spanish political parties system to achieve unity (Sánchez), the new populism with Trump and its bases (which I already told you about in this video); the communication style of these leaders, and lastly, a 5th chapter dedicated to social movements. Which Castells see as an answer to this crisis of the political system

Therefore, governments need to build new trust for the political system to rebuild its bond with citizens. People’s life is not transformed though institutional ways for Castells because the system is focused in functioning and connecting to the global flows of capital and information. This is why symbolic construccion, communicative action, in which at least that instance of communication is necessary in order to improve the perception of citizens.

The political system is no longer processing citizen’s claims, because is trying to connect to those supranational global structures, mainly financial, which desconnect it from its global production bases.

The new network-state is pressured by two fronts, this is why while it connects to global flows, it disconnects from its territories. This produces the lack of trust in the political system.

In summary. This crisis between representatives and citizens has a long history, but that differentiates our times is that due to the fact that states are connected to what Castells calls “space of flows” (global) the interests that need to be represented from the “space of places” (territories) are in conflict.

Why is this conflict? Because this is how networks work: following a networking logic which connect them to new networks, and for this they ought to disconnect from others. Castells call this mechanism inclusion/Exclusion, there is also the cooperation/competition mechanism. The truth is that this is a “switch off” mechanism, Castells says.

Although something to have in mind, is that Castells ‘ book tries to leave behind all technical language (even from his own work) to adress the public. As I state in the review and in the videos: this is a pocket book of political theory. Castells unites every aspect of his network society theory and applies it to the current scenario (or to that of 2018)

Regarding networked social movements, and Manuel Castells, this article by me was published in the Journal of the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences from the UNCuyo, MILCAYAC

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