Digital media and network technologies are now part of everyday life. The Internet has become the backbone of communication, commerce, and media; the ubiquitous mobile phone connects us with others as it removes us from any stable sense of location. Along with this, the public is transforming. The mass media and mass audience analyzed by the Frankfurt School are long past. Today we inhabit multiple, overlapping and global networks such as user forums, Facebook, Flickr, blogs, and wikis. The media industry which just a decade ago seemed well-established, is in flux, facing its greatest challenge ever.

Our book, Networked Publics examines the ways that the social and cultural shifts created by these technologies have transformed our relationships to (and definitions of) place, culture, politics, and infrastructure.

Four chapters—each by an interdisciplinary team of scholars at The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication—provide a synoptic overview along with illustrative case studies. The chapter on place describes how digital networks enable us to be present in physical and networked places simultaneously (on the phone while on the road; on the Web while at a café)—often at the expense of non-digital commitments. The chapter on culture explores the growth of amateur-produced and -remixed content online and the impact of these practices on the music, anime, advertising, and news industries. The chapter on politics examines the new networked modes of bottom-up political expression and mobilization, and the difficulty in channeling online political discourse into productive political deliberation. And finally, the chapter on infrastructure notes the tension between openness and control in the flow of information, as seen in the current controversy over net neutrality. An introduction by anthropologist Mizuko Ito and a conclusion by architecture theorist Kazys Varnelis frame the chapters, giving overviews of the radical nature of these transformations.

This site documents the process and the results.

Book Excerpts


Place: Networked Place

Conclusion: The Rise of Network Culture


DIY Media Gallery

Videos Accompanying Infrastructure Scenarios
[by Walter Baer, François Bar, Shahram Ghandeharizadeh, Fernando Ordonez, Aram Sinnreich and Todd Richmond]

[curated by Paul Marino]

Political Remix
[curated by Steve Anderson, Merlyna Lim, Marc Tuter]

[curated by Zalas]

Anime Music Videos
[curated by Jonathan "Inertia" Cullinane and Rachel Cody]

The Digital Handmade
[curated by Steve Anderson]

Blog Highlights

Place, Ubiquity, and the Thing 
[Anne Friedberg]

Beyond Locative Media
[Marc Tuters / Kazys Varnelis]

Digital Democracy in the Internet Age
[Mark Kann]

Intimate Visual Co-Presence and Pervasive Image Capture and Sharing
[Mimi Ito]

Power to the Cyborgs
[Mimi Ito]

More ...



Technologies of Cooperation
[Howard Rheingold]

The Wealth of Networks
[Yochai Benkler]

What's Memory Got to do with IT?
[Geoff Bowker]

Networks, Power, and Democracy
[Saskia Sassen]

The Longer Tail
[Chris Anderson]


This site is maintained by
the Network Architecture Lab.