From September 2005 to June 2006 a team of thirteen scholars at the The University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication explored how new and maturing networking technologies are transforming the way in which we interact with content, media sources, other individuals and groups, and the world that surrounds us.

This site documents the process and the results.

Saskia Sassen: Networks, Power, and Democracy

Saskia Sassen spoke to the Networked Publics Group at the Annenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California on March 23, 2006.

Professor Saskia Sassen is in the Department of Sociology and The Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. She is also a Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics.

Saskia Sassen’s research and writing focuses on globalization (including social, economic and political dimensions), immigration, global cities (including cities and terrorism), the new networked technologies, and changes within the liberal state that result from current transnational conditions. In her research she has focused on the unexpected and the counterintuitive as a way to cut through established “truths.” Her three major books have each sought to demolish a key established “truth.” Thus in her first book, The Mobility of Labor and Capital (Cambridge University Press 1988), she showed how foreign investment in less developed countries can actually raise the likelihood of emigration; this went against established notions that such investment would retain potential emigrants.

In her second book The Global City (Princeton University Press 1991; 2nd ed 2002) she showed how the global economy far from being placeless, has and needs very specific territorial insertions, and that this need is sharpest in the case of highly globalized and electronic sectors such as finance; this went against established notions at the time that the global economy transcended territory and its associated regulatory umbrellas. In her most recent book, Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages ( Princeton University Press 2006), she shows that the foundational transformations afoot today take place largely inside core and thick national environments; this allows her to explain that some of the changes inside liberal states, most evident in the USA but also increasingly in other countries, are not distortions or anomalies, but are the result of these foundational transformations inside the state apparatus. She shows how this foundational transformation hence consists not only of globalizing dynamics but also of denationalizing dynamics: we are seeing the formation of multiple often highly specialized assemblages of bits of territory, authority and rights that were once ensconced in national framings. Today these assemblages traverse global and national settings, thereby denationalizing what was historically constructed as national.


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