9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS08 Modernization Theory. Dead or Alive in the 21st Century?

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Modernization and beyond - theoretical approaches Building AA, AA.323

Networking and self-organising societies: The fields of tension of our modernity

The metaphor of the network is probably one of the most successful self-representations of our current societies. Moreover, it is sometimes used in a more deep way than a simple metaphor, because it seems to provide the most effective vocabulary for understanding crucial social processes: the modern corporation and more in general the "new spirit of capitalism", in which being connected is the first prerequisite; but also the "passage from government to governance", concerning the great issues of public administration and policies, being justified, independently from the specific sector focussed on, as the necessary passage requested by the art of governing in times of networks. Moreover, network organizational model is usually presented as more democratic and open, compared to the traditional modern hierarchical devices. Organising via vertical devices - institutions, political representative systems, etc. - has to leave space to the self-organising, horizontal society via networks. So, the new framework through which reinterpreting the concept of modernization seems to be ready: network paradigms and models.
The paper intends to point out some fields of tensions that anyway are produced in the real working of that grammar of justification. More precisely, have to be deepened:
- the way that grammar of justification addresses a fundamental historical process of the Western societies, that is the process of individualization
- the increasing problem of a definition of responsibility's concept in a context in which networks claim themselves as able to produce, manage and apply it by themselves in their own bonds