China as a Network Society
Introduction Go to top

The network society is the social structure that characterizes the Information Age. The network society is global, but it has specific configurations in each society, depending on the institutions, culture and history of each social formation. The papers presented to the symposium organized by the IN3 in 2010 explore the specificity of the network society in China from a variety of perspectives and themes. This is to say that the dominant social structure of a globalized China must be understood as a network society. In this it is not different from the United States or Catalonia. On the other hand, as the Project Internet Catalonia undertaken by the IN3 showed, each society displays its own kind of network society. It is in the interaction between the generic and the particular, the global and the local, that lies the key for a social science appropriate to the world we live in.

China is the country with the largest number of Internet users and the largest numbers of mobile phone subscribers in the world. It also has a vibrant sector of Internet and telecommunication industries, and while it does not allow Facebook or Twitter, it has multiple Chinese versions of social networking sites. The centrality of the state is a critical feature of the Chinese network society: it is, as professor Qiu once wrote, a statist society constructed around technologies of freedom. It is this paradoxical nature of globalized China that provides an extraordinary field of research in our quest to understand an interdependent, yet diverse world.

To approach this problematique we convened in the IN3 a small group of outstanding Chinese researchers working in or on China, from some of the most prestigious universities in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States. We worked together for two days at IN3, to discuss the papers presented, and then the participants revised their papers for this publication. The symposium was intended to launch a debate, not to close it in a published volume. We see this first publication in the Web of the IN3 as an initial step towards a dialogue that may redefine te way we understand China and its interaction with the world at large. Because we cannot understand our world if we do not understand China. And we cannot understand China by only looking at its Chinese characteristics. This is the intellectual project underlying this symposium: to bring together the study of China and the study of the global network society in a single theoretical paradigm that allows for commonality and singularity, for structure and agency in the exploration of the global network society.


Proceedings of a symposium held at the IN3 in September 2010 Go to top

Symposium convened and directed by Manuel Castells Internet interdisciplinary Institute, UOC ; You-tien Hsing, University of California, Berkeley; Chu-Joe Hsia, Taiwan National University ; Jack Linchuan Qiu, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Proceedings of the symposium consist on audio clips and papers related to this presentation (titles may not be coincident).
To access audio clips click on their author’s name and to access papers just follow the provided link .

Jack Linchuan QIU
Working Class Network Society in China: The Information Haves, Have-Less, and Haves-nots

The Making of the Chinese Capitalist Class: capital accumulation and the rise of bureaucratic entrepreneurs

Migrant workers: The new proletariat?

Peasant mobilization

Chu-Joe HSIA

The space of places and the space of flows: the local, the metropolitan, and the global.

New urban economics and regional governance

The Internet and the State in China

Yong HU
Cyber Activism

*note: some speakers have no documentation linked.




The IN3 has become a member of the  NoC (Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers) after having applied...