CCK08: Week 8 The Alchemy of Give and Take

I finished Week 8‘s reading with Manuel CastellsAfterword in the Demos publication Network Logic (2004). I was trying not to start with the Afterword. I hold Manuel, Stephen and George responsible for my involvement in CCK08. Saving up the Afterword made this week’s readings delightful.
I enjoyed William Dutton’s (2007) paper on the Fifth Estate. I noted in particular his discussion of a “space of flows”, Internet-enabled networks and the reconfiguration that is occurring in regard to people services and technologies. I thought Table 1 provided a useful guide to the scale of the Fifth Estate.

I read the entirety of the second reading this week, Network Logic. The title for this post comes from the frontpiece to Karen Stephenson’s Chapter 3. I think the suggestion that:

Reciprocity is key to the power of networks, the alchemy of mutual give and take over time turning to a golden trust…

is the essence of CCK08. I believe unequivocally that a space of flows flourishes when ego is subsumed in collective flourishing. Dr Perri 6’s network signatures framed this thought for me in Figure 1 on page 135.

Given Manual Castells’ protest background, I was drawn inexorably to Howard Rheingold’s Smart Mobs chapter. I liked in particular his assertion that:

The ‘killer apps’ of tomorrow’s mobile infocom industry won’t be hardware devices or software programmes but social practices.

I enjoyed reading about Paul Skidmore’s six characteristics of leadership and these resonate with my own thoughts about energy giving in reciprocal relationships in flat organisations (a legacy of my Celestine Prophecy days!).
Then to the Afterword. Reading it reminded me of the  Jerzy Kosiński novel (1971) and Peter Sellar’s film Being There. (Some YouTube links to the film here.) I noted with reverence the conclusion to Manuel’s chapter:

Networks matter because they are the underlying structure of our lives. And without understanding their logic we cannot change their programmes to harness their flexibility to our hopes, instead of relentlessly adapting ourselves to the instructions received from their unseen codes. Networks are the Matrix.


  1. Hi Keith – I think you raise an important point in highlighting reciprocity.
    I haven’t yet read Karen Stephenson’s Chapter 3 that suggests that:
    Reciprocity is key to the power of networks, the alchemy of mutual give and take over time turning to a golden trust…
    I’ll have to do so, as although reciprocity might be the key to power in networks, I’m not sure that it’s the key to making connections in a network.
    It appears that on this course there are a lot of people who have made connections in that they are engaging with the course by reading and observing from a distance and are interacting with the content – but these connections are being made without any reciprocity.
    Reciprocity seems to me to be more a characteristic of communities and groups than networks.
    Thanks Keith – I’ve enjoyed your post.

  2. Jenny
    What a good point. Thank you for posting this comment. You have encouraged me to think about reciprocity, mutuality and trust beyond what I noted in my post.


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