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Internet Beyond Myths: the record of scholarly research

LSE Space for Thought lecture series

Although it is an old technology (deployed first in 1969) its expansion in the last two decades has weaved the entire realm of human activity in the Internet networks. While the digital divide persists, over 1.3 billion users of the Internet in 2008 and its potential expansion through wireless communication networks make the Internet in the Information Age the equivalent of the electrical grid and the electrical engine in the Industrial Age. However, in spite of ubiquituous presence of the Internet in our everyday life, its understanding as a social process of communication is blurred by myths and ideologies that populate the media. And yet, scholarly research has gathered a substantial amount of evidence, worldwide, in the last decade on the actuality of its effects. This lecture will summarize the main findings of such a body of research, including some conducted by Professor Castells on the specific effects of Internet-mediated communication in the patterns of social life, in business, in education, in public services, in politics, in the media and in culture, and will draw the analytical implications of these findings. Finally, the lecture will explore the reasons for the persistence of myths, be it utopian or dystopian, about the Internet in contrast with the knowledge we now have about its social consequences.

Manuel Castells is the Wallis Annenberg Chair Professor of Communication Technology and Society at the Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and Research Professor of Information Society at the Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona. He is as well Distinguished Visiting Professor of Technology and Society at M.I.T., and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Internet Studies at Oxford University.

The Space for Thought Lecture series celebrates the completion of the New Academic Building and is supported by the LSE Annual Fund. The next lecture in this series will be delivered by Professor Anne-Marie Slaughter on the topic of America's Edge: a global country in a global century on Tuesday 28 October.


Professor Manuel Castells | talks
Professor David Held | talks


Date and Time:

24 October 2008 at 6:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Sheikh Zayed Theatre, London School of Economics
New Academic Building
Lincoln's Inn Fields

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Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
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Available from:

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For more information, email events@lse.ac.uk or phone 020 7955 6043.

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