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Toward a Sociology of the Network Society Author(s): Manuel Castells Source: Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 29, No. 5 (Sep.

, 2000), pp. 693-699 Published by: American Sociological Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2655234 Accessed: 15/11/2010 18:20
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693

Toward a Sociology of the Network Society


MANUEL CASTELLS University of California, Berkeley

The Call to Sociology Information Age. We are neededbecauseas Thetwenty-first century theCommon did would-be of Era scientists society arepositioned of we not necessarily to usherin a new society. betterthananyoneelse to produce have knowledge But it did. Peoplearound worldfeel the about newsociety, to be credible orat the the and windsof multidimensional changewith- least morecredible social than the futurologists and out trulyunderstanding let alonefeelinga ideologues litterthe interpretation curit, that of grasp upontheprocess change. of Thusthechal- rent historicalchanges,let alone politicians lengeto sociology, thescience study soci- always as of of jumping the latesttrendy on word. ety.More thaneversociety needssociology, but So, we areneeded, to do what? but Well,to not just any kind of sociology. The sociology study processes constitution, the of organization, thatpeopleneedis not a normative meta-disci- andchangeof a new society, probably starting pline instructing them,fromthe authoritative with its socialstructurewhat I provisionally towers academia, of about whatis to be done.It callthe network society. is evenlessa pseudo-sociology upof empmade ty word games and intellectualnarcissism, A New Society for academic econoexpressed termsdeliberately in incomprehensi- Except a few stubborn consensus that we bleforanyone without access a French-Greek mists,there is widespread to haveentered neweconomy. contend are a I we dlctlonary. of Because needto know,andbecause we peo- alsolivingin a new society, whichthe new Since this ple need to know,morethan everwe need a economyis only one component. will throughout world, the during sociology rootedin its scientific endeavor. Of society unfold, century, survival sociolothe of course, musthavethe specificity its object the twenty-first it of activity depends itsrenewon of study, thusof its theories methods, gyasa meaningful and and with to withoutmimicking naturalsciencesin a al,in accordance thenewphenomena be the and issues be tackto futilesearch respectability. it must for And have studied the newanalytical Sincethefocus a clearpurpose producing of objective knowl- led.Butwhatis thisnewsociety? is not I edge(yes!thereis sucha thing,always rela- of thisarticle on sociology, society, have in and tive terms), brought about by empirical no optionbut to be schematic declarative, than taking liberty refer the to observation, rigorous theorizing, unequivo- rather analytical, and to on (Castells cal communication. Then we can argue and the reader mytrilogy the matter we will! aboutthe best wayto proceed with [1996]2000a).Hereare,in myview,the main of and observation, theory building, formal and expres- dimensions socialchangethat,together constitutea new social sion of findings, depending subjectmatter in their interaction, on underlying "new the society." and methodological traditions. withouta structure, But First a new technological is paradigm, based consensus sociology science indeed, a on as as of techspecific socialscience we sociologists fail on the deployment new information will geneticengineering as in our professional intellectual and duty at a nologiesand including technology livingmatter. of I timewhenwe areneeded most.We areneeded the information because, individually collectively, peo- understandtechnology, following Claude and most (1992),asmaterial culture thatis, asa ple in the worldarelost aboutthe meaning of Fischer embedded process, as an exogenous not the whirlwind are goingthrough. they socially we So society. we musttakeseriYet needto knowwhichkindof society arein, factoraffecting we transformation oursocial of which kind of social processes emerging, ouslythe material are technologies allow what is structural, what can be changed fabric,as new information and of of through purposive social action.And we are the formation new forms socialorganizaalongelectronically needed because without understanding, people, tion andsocialinteraction rightly, blockchange, we maylosethe basedinformation will networks. the sameway and In extraordinary revolution, potential creativity of based upongenerembedded thatthe industrial of into the values and technologies of the ationanddistribution energy, couldnot be
. . .

694 Symposia

is as separated the industrial from societythatchar- sentation redefined well, sincedemocracy in enclosure. The acterized lasttwocenturies, information wasconstituted the national the the key havea global frame referof technology revolution, in its early still stages, more decisions is people about care theirlocal a powerfulcomponentof multidimensional ence,andthe more the social change. Whilenewinformation technolo- experience, more politicalrepresentation becomesdevoid of giesarenot causal factors thissocialchange, throughthe nation-state of other than as a defensive device, a theyareindispensable fortheactual means man- meaning ifestation manycurrent of processes social resource lastresort of of against would-be tyrants or corrupt politicians. another of In axis change, suchas the emergence newforms of of blatantly change, thereis a fundamental crisis production management, newcommuni- structural and of brought aboutby women's insurcationmedia, of theglobalization economy of patriarchy, or of gencyand amplified gay and lesbiansocial by andculture. challenging heterosexuality a as The seconddimension socialchangeis, movements, of of Therewillbe otherforms precisely, globalization, understood the tech- foundation family. as as values diffuse theday, by nological, organizational, and institutional offamily, egalitarian struggle setbacks. it is diffiand But capacity the corecomponents a givensys- notwithout of of at socitem(e.g.,theeconomy) work a unitin real cult to imagine, leastin industrialized to as orchosentimeon a planetary scale.Thisis his- eties, the persistence patriarchal of families as The is torically new, in contrast with past formsof the norm. realissue how,atwhichspeed, advanced internationalization, couldnot andwithwhichhuman which cost,the crisisof patriwill forms, benefitfrominformation communication archy extend,with its own specific and around world. crisis the The of technologies able to handlethe current size, intootherareas of redefines sexuality, socialcomplexity, speed, theglobal and of system, it patriarchy, course, as personality formation. has been documented DavidHeld et alter ization,and ultimately by Because crisis the stateandof the family, the of ( 1999). dominated markets networks, by and Thethird dimension theenclosing dom- in a world is of an void, inantcultural manifestations an interactive, is creating institutional thereare(and in electronic hypertext, whichbecomes com- increasingly be) collectiveaffirmations the will of identity around keythemes relithe of monframe reference symbolic of for processing primary ethnicity, locality, whichwilltend fromall sources all messages. Internet gion,nation, and The (248 millionusers currently, 2000;700 mil- to break societies in up based negotiated on instilion projected the end of 2001;2 billionby tutions, favor value-founded by in of communes. 2007) will link individuals groups and among Last, but not least, progress scientific in and its themselves to the shared and multimedia hyper- knowledge, the useof scienceto correct development, redefining are the text.Thishypertext constitutes backbone ownone-sided the of betweencultureand naturethat a new culture, culture realvirtuality, relationship the of in whichvirtuality becomes fundamental a compo- characterized industrial A deepecologithe era. nent of oursymbolic environment, thusof calconsciousnesspermeating human and is the mind ourexperience communicating as beings. and affecting way we live, produce, the conThe fourthaxisof change,largely conse- sume, perceive a and ourselves. arejustat the We quenceof the global networks the economy, beginning a mostextraordinary of of cultural transthat the of communication, knowledge informa- formation is reversing course thought and and tion,is thedemise the sovereign of nation-state. thathasprevailed among world's the dominant Not thatcurrent nation-states disappear groups will in sincethe Enlightenment. This new societywas produced during the theirinstitutional existence, theirexistence but of century, through aspower apparatusesprofoundly is transformed, last quarter the twentieth astheyareeither bypassed rearranged net- the interaction among three independent or in that to in the works shared of sovereignty formed national processes happened coincide time: by governments, supranational institutions,co- revolution in informationtechnology;the restructuring both capitalism of national institutions(such as the European socioeconomic Union,NATO, or NAFTA),regional govern- andstatism (withdifferent fortheseantagfates ments, localgovernments, NGOs,all inter- onisticmodesof production); the cultural and and that in acting in a negotiatedprocessof decision socialmovements emerged the 1960sin making. a result, issueof political As the repre- the UnitedStatesandWestern Europe. While

Symposia 695 omized the Internet. by Electronic communication systemsgive networksthe capacityto decentralize adaptthe execution tasks, and of whilecoordinating purpose decisionmakand ing.Therefore, flexibility be achieved can without sacrificing performance. Becauseof their superior performing capacity, networks, through competition, gradually are eliminating centered, hierarchical forms organization theirspeof in cificrealm activity. of The Netsvork Society: The Social A network a set of interconnected is nodes. Structure of the Information Age Networks flexible,adaptive are structures that, The new societyis madeup of networks. by technology, perform can Global financial markets builton electronic powered information are in networks process that financial transactions anytaskthathasbeenprogrammed the netin work. Theycanexpand indefinitely, incorporatrealtime.The Internet a network computis of ing any new node by simply reconfiguring er networks. electronic The hypertext, linking on different mediain global/local connection,is themselves, the conditionthat these new an to madeup of networks communication of pro- nodesdo not represent obstacle fulfilling in For duction studios, newsrooms, computerized infor- key instructions theirprogram. instance, in maybe linkedinto the mation systems, mobiletransmission and all regions the world units, economy, onlyto thepointwhere but they increasingly interactive senders receivers. global and function this of The globaleconomyis a network financial addvalueto the value-making of transactions, productionsites, markets,and economy, by their contributionin human laborpools,powered money,information, resources, by markets, materials, othercomraw or andbusiness organization. network The enter- ponentsof production distribution. a and If prise, a newformof business as organization, region not valuable sucha network, will is is to it madeof networks firmsor subunits firms not be linked or if it ceases be valuable, of of up; to it organized around performance a business will be switched withoutthe network a the of off, as project. Governance relieson the articulation wholesuffering major inconvenience. Naturally, among different levelsof institutional decision networks based alternative on values exist, also making linkedby information networks. And andtheirsocialmorphologysimilar thatof is to the mostdynamic socialmovements con- dominant are networks, thatsocialconflicts so take nected theInternet via across city,thecoun- the shapeof network-based the struggles reproto try,andthe world. gram opposite networks the outside. from How? Networks however, veryold formof Byscripting codes(newvalues, instance) are, a new for social organization. throughout But history, net- in the goalsorganizing performance the the of works major had advantages a major and prob- network. is whythe mainsocial This struggles of lem. Their advantagesare flexibility and the information lie in theredefinition culage of adaptability, characteristics essential managfor codesin thehuman mind. ing tasksin a worldas volatileandmutable as tural The prevalence networks organizing of in ours. problem theembedded The was inability of socialpractice redefines socialstructure our in networks manage to complexity beyond critia By cal size.Networks werehistorically usefulfor societies. social structure I meanthe organizaof in personal interaction, solidarity, reciprocal tionalarrangementshumans relationships for for of production/consumption, experience,and support. theywerebadperformers mobiBut in in interaction lizingresources focusing and theseresources on power,as expressed meaningful by In Age, the execution a giventask.Large, of centralized framed culture. theInformation these arrangements based are apparatuses usuallyoutperformed networks in specificorganizational networks powered microelecby the conduct war,in the exercise power, of of in on information information technologies (andin symbolic domination, in theorganization tronics-based and of future biologically information by based standardized, production. thissubstan- thenear mass Yet Under conditions thisnew, the of tiallimitation networks' of competitive capacity technologies). social structure, sociology address rnust was overcome with the development new emerging of information/communication technologies, epit- several conceptual methodological in and issues this multidimensional changeinduces social a variety socialandcultural of expressions each in specificinstitutional context, I proposethe notionthat thereis somecommonality the in outcome, notin theprocess, thelevelwhere if at newsocialforms constituted thatis, in the are socialstructure. the rootsof the newsociety, At in all its diversity, a newsocialstructure, is the network society.

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management labor the ephemeral and and characterof project-based, industrial organizations require newconceptual a apparatus, focusing on Theorizing Social Structure as networked relationships rather thanon vertical Interactive Information Netsvorks hierarchies. thisperspective, In I propose conto The studyof socialnetworks well estab- ceptualizethe new occupationalstructure is lishedin sociological research, spearheaded around interaction in the among threedimensions contemporary American sociology Wellman of production by relationships: making, value rela(e.g., 1999), Fischer(e.g., 1992), and Grano- tionmaking, decision and making. vetter(e.g.,1985).Thereis alsoan internation- Forvaluemaking, an information-based in al association the studyof socialnetworks, production for process, maydifferentiate we various whichconstitutes fruitful a milieu research. structural of It positions: commanders stratethe (or canprovide concepts methods willfos- gists), researchers, designers, integraand that the the the ter understanding socialnetworks specific tors,the operators, the humanterminals. of as and forms organization relationship, of and including Relationmakingdefinesanotherset of posielectronic communication networks. while tions:the networkers, networked, the Yet, the and building thistradition, advance notion switched-off. on I the And the relativepositioning in thattwenty-first-century sociology haveto decision making differentiatesamong the will expandthe network-based perspective the to the and analysis the entiresocialstructure, accor- deciders, participants, the executors. of in The threedimensions analytically are independancewith current trendsof socialevolution. dent.Thus, empirical the observation thevarof This impliesmorethan analyzing socialnetamong different positions in works.It will require reconceptualizing many iousarrangements the threedimensions built around perforthe social processes institutions expressions and as of may networks, moving away fromconceptual frame- manceof a givenproject yieldsomeclues of of worksorganized around notion of centers on the emergence newsocialrelationships the production, thesource newsocial at of structure. andhierarchies. A second example: transformation the of spaForthesake communication, usetwo of I will tialstructure,classic a themeof urban sociology. illustrations make case,taking to my themfrom of based comtwo different verytraditional and sociological Withthe diffusion electronically munication technologies, territorial contiguity fields: industrial sociology urban and sociology. I to for willthendraw somegeneral theoretical implica- ceases be a precondition the simultaneity of interactive socialpractices. "thedeathof But tionsfrom change perspective. this of is dimension The prevailing of business form organization distance" not theendof the spatial of society. First, "space places," the of basedin emerging advanced in societiesand diffusing meaningful physical proximity, continues bea to throughout globaleconomyis thenetwork the and functionfor enterprise, whichI define,in sociological terms, majorsourceof experience And asthespecific ofenterprise form whose system of manypeopleand in manycircumstances. second, distant, interactive communication does meansis constituted the intersection segby of noteliminate space; transforms A newform it it. ments autonomous of systems goals. follows of It It a completetransformation relationships of spaceemerges "the spaceof flows." is of of of circuits information and sysproduction management, thus of the made electronic and and physical occupational structure whichsocialstructure tems,but it is alsomadeof territories, on or meaning is largely based. Howcan we conceptualize the places,whosefunctional symbolic roleof producers information theirdiffer- dependson their connectionto a network, of in as ential positionalong an interactive network? ratherthan on its specificcharacteristics Howcan we conceptualize variable the geome- localities. The space flowsis made bitsandpieces of of try of new industrial organizations, basedon firms' permeable boundaries, bringing together of places,connectedby telecommunications, and systems, workers, capital, knowledge specific and in pro- fast transportation, information by and of jectsthatform, dissolve, reform and under dif- andmarked symbols spaces intermedia international hotels, ferent configuration? Yes, work, workers, ation (such as airports, by exploitation, cooperation, conflict, negotia- businesscenters, symbolized de-localized and For in years there tiondo not disappear, the ensuing but individu- architecture). instance, recent debateaboutthe emeralization of the relationship between has been considerable order be equipped analyze processes to to core of socialorganization socialpractice. and

Symposia 697 goals.Networks increase their genceof"theglobal city." global is not each network's The city as In justa major metropolitan center ranks that high valueexponentially theyaddnodes. formal as years scienin the worldwide geography management terms, proposed agobycomputer of of wealthand information. suchcities (New tistandInternet For entrepreneur Metcalfe, Bob the of as of York, London, Tokyo,Paris, Sao Paulo)we value a net increases thesquare thenumor formula is already had the descriptive notion of "world berof nodeson the net. (Theprecise 1, city," proposed years The global 20 ago. city,in V= n(n whereV is the valueof the network of Thus,a networked the strictanalytical sense,is not anyparticular andn the number nodes). is city.Andempirically extends spaces it to locat- social structure an open systemthan can as ed in many citiesaround world, the someextra- expandindefinitely, long as the networks in are large, others large, still others so large. included the meta-network compatible. and not The issuearises, then,of the contradictions The global is made territories in difcity of that ferent citiesensure management theglob- amongnetworks, the of which lead to conflictsand al economy of global and information networks. social change. fact,network In theory could help Thus,a fewblocks Manhattan partof the solveoneof thegreatest in are difficulties theexplain global city,butmostof New York, factmost nation social in of change. history sociology The of by of of Manhattan, verylocal,not global.These is dominated the juxtaposition andlackof is between analysis socialstructhe of globalized segments Manhattan linkedto integration of are otherspaces around world, the whicharecon- ture and the analysis of social change. and have been nectedin networks global of management, while Structuralism subjectivism rarely in theoretical framework. A beingloosely connected theirterritorial to hin- integrated the same perspective on interactive based networks the as terlands. and So the globalcity is a network noncon- commonbasisfor social structure social of resultsby tiguous territories, reunited around taskof action may yield some theoretical the the withinthe same managing globalism networks transcend ensuring communication, by that thesetwoplanes human of praclocality(Graham Simon2000). From and this logic,between structure upofnetworks an made is theoretical perspective can developmodels tice.A social we system,constantlyon the move. to analyze new spatialformsconstituted interactive the as add around interterritorial networks,and then Socialactorsconstituted networks and components, which bringwith them examine theirdifferential relationship their subtract to network values interests new and surrounding, environments. local Thus,it is the intothe acting in of in connectionbetweenlocal and global,rather defined terms theirmatrix the changing thanthe "end geography" the ageof glob- socialstructure. of in Structures makepractices, and enactandchangestructures following alization, becomes appropriate that the perspec- practices networking anddealing similar logic in tive for the new urbansociology(Borjaand thesame with and Castells 1997). Networks discontiguous of places terms theprogramming reprogramming goals,by settingup thesegoalson in interaction a diverse with range localities of networks' of of codes. are the components the new sociospatial the basis cultural of A theorybasedon the conceptof a social structure. centralanalytical The question then built networks breaks with becomes shared how socialmeaning produced structure on dynamic is outof disjointed spatial unitsreunited a pure- thetworeductionist in metaphors whichsociolon historically: mechanical the view ly instrumental, globallogic (Castells 2000b). ogywasbased madeup of institutions Byredefining spatial structure the basisof a of societyas a machine on and view of networking we openupa newfrontier logic, for and organizations; the organicist with with one of the oldestsociological traditions, urban societyas a body,integrated organs specific bodilyfunctions. Instead, we need a if sociology. the of The analysis socialstructures a multidi- new metaphor, sociology the network of as mensional, evolvingsystemof dynamicnet- societywouldbe built on the self-generating works helpexplain may socialevolution the processes in discovered molecular by biology,as through theirinteracInformation Indeed, Age. networks dynamic, cellsevolveanddevelop are of withinthe body self-evolvingstructures, which, poweredby tion in a network networks, Interactive netinformation technologyand communicating and with their environment. are of as with the samedigitallanguage, grow,and works the components socialstructure, can of The includeall socialexpressions, compatible with wellas the agencies socialchange. soci-

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who will analyze societymaybe able to of youngsociologists-those ology of the network society. analyt- the network in and structure practice the same bridge to enough In doingso, theywillbe fortunate icalgrasp. via to haveaccess a hugepoolof information the A New Methodology? (or of Internet.Given knowledge languages of The renewal the studyof societycannot automated to access globprograms), translation is Sociology al sourcesmay liberatesociologyfrom the grounds. just proceed on theoretical withinallthe limitsinher- embedded science, anempirical of ethnocentrism its observation. non- Each under of ent to the constraints observation or may study be comparative cross-cultural new in its approach, contrasting Thus,new issues, conditions experimental genobservation by new tools. erated novo in a particular to the accurequire new perspectives concepts, study ex net- mulated information of The emergence interactive fromglobal on knowledge the matter makes sources. of as works the backbone socialstructure as of critique sources wellas Naturally, even moreacutethe needto takeup the great- problemsof methodological integrationof challenge for empirical diverse willbenecessary est methodological for requisites useof data Whilemostof ouranalyt- this wealth of information. in research sociology. The practiceof most meta-analysis, fulldevelopment otherscirelationships, on icaltoolsarebased linear in in socialphenomena even moreso in the net- ences, particularly may becomea economics, by worksociety are characterized nonlinear This tool of sociologicalresearch. we But dynamics. in the lasttwodecades, have standard and training methodproper also would require witnessed the development of numerous from to for guidance sociologists benefit rela- ological toolsableto dealwithnonlinear research without of possibilities information expanded tionships. by field On one hand,we havean expanding of beingoverwhelmed it. and should, will,overcome sociology Overall, basedon of the new mathematics complexity quantibetween opposition artificial the sterile, properties, emergent notionssuch as fractals, and research, between and the like (Capra tative and qualitative autopoieticnetworks, of In study. theperspective and discoveries theory empirical 1996).Mostof thesemathematical literacy,and with the formal computational with exercises slight to confined formal remain that in of But research. theyare integration observations a theory conto relationship empirical of as structure a network interactive and to toolsready be used,transformed, perfect- ceivessocial whatcomes matter it with ed by ableresearchers boththe knowledge networks, doesnot really Whatmator fromstatistics fromethnography. to knowledge of the tools and the substantive and of tersis the accuracy the observation, its formal language. senseof this make in modelsscripted the Thus,formal of power com- meaning. On the otherhand,enhanced programmingcomputer programsmust be theoretically computer and puters, new,flexible apt yet of the enable to handle complexity informed, ableto begiveninformation to us languages, in raised the theory. the an interactivenetworkstructurein precise answer questions societywill of The sociology the network system analysis of terms. Computer-based theorelevant among synergy through dynamicnetworksmay constitutea fruitful develop and literacy, sociological computational and whichobservation theory rizing, through approach can be reconciledwithout excessive social maglnatlon. modelsin the social Simulation reductionism. sciencesgot off to a bad startin the 1960s References wereutterly Borja,Jordi and Castells, Manuel. 1997. Localand theories theirunderlying because of The Global: Management Citiesin theInformation were programs techniand simplistic, computer Age. London:Earthscan. by callyconstrained theirset of rigidassumpin capacity, dynamic Capra,Fritjof.1996. TheWebof Life:A New Scientific tions.Butnewcomputing of Understanding Living Systems. New York: processed assumptions of interaction alternative Doubleday. at high speed,may changeeverything as is Carnoy,Martin.2000. Work Family andCommunity In research. this in happening biological already MA: Harvard Age. in the Information Cambridge, (that is, knowing literacy sense,computational UniversityPress. than rather just Castells,Manuel.[1996]2000a. The Information with howto interact computers, Age: may programs) be a fundamental Economy Society, and Culture. 3 vols. 2d Ed. runstatistical generation for Oxford& Malden,MA: Blackwell. requirement the current learning
. . .

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. 2000b. "The Cultureof Cities in the Granovetter, Mark.1985. "Economic Action and Information Presented conference The Age." at on SocialStructure: Problem Embeddedness." The of Library Congress, of "Frontiersthe Mindin the of American Journal Sociology 481-510. of 19: 21stCentury." Forthcoming (2001)in TheCastells Held, David,AnthonyMcGrew, DavidGoldblatt, Reader Citiesand SocialTheory,editedby Ida on and Jonathan Perraton. 1999. Global Susser. Oxford Malden, Blackwell. & MA: Transformations. Stanford, CA: Stanford Fischer,Claude.1992. AmericaCalling. Berkeley: University Press. University California of Press. Wellman, Barry, 1999. Networks the Global ed. in Graham, Stephen and Marvin Simon. 2000. Village: Life in Contemporary Communities. Splintering Boulder, Westview Networks. CO: London: Press. Routledge.

Age Structure and Social Structure


CHARLES GORDON C. Carleton University, Ottawa CHARLES LONGINO, F. JR. Wake Forest Universfy

As sociology continues evolvein the twenty- stepbeyond Theyconnected to it. individual aging firstcentury, willdemographic how structure with historical be time, so that those individuals understood? Demographic structure minimal areseenasaging is within cohort a context. the As basic knowledge about members a society. newcentury the of begins, Americans aging are within Yetit becomes interesting sociologically because an agingAmerica. Settersten (1999) recently it is connected intimately so with our under- asserted, this context,thatthe agestructure in standings globalsocialchange,with social overtimeinfluences number people of the of availorganization, withtheeveryday of peo- ableto different in society, thuspopuand lives roles and ple.Herewe argue the distinction that between lationstructure partially determines amount the demographic structure socialstructure an of competitionfor those roles within and and is arbitrary artificial Actually, and one. thesestruc- betweenage groups. number peoplein The of tures are very difficult to differentiate. lineahead social for security, example, for affects Population structure a dynamic changing the amount is and takenoutof your paycheck. phenomenon, that is enactedin everyday one In addition, agestructure the society the of life. Changes population in structure occurin maybe seenas an "intervening variable" affectshippingcontainers filled with illegal immi- ing the relations among othersocialprocesses. grants NorthAmerican in ports.Highpopula- Forexample, placeof home ownership the is tion densities occurin foodlinesandin traffic affected the aging thosewhodo ownpropby of jams. Change the agestructure in occurs the erty.Undernormal in circumstances, middle-aged needforhomecareandin lossof thesense self andolderpeoplearemorelikelythanyounger of dueto chronic illness. people be homeowners. rapid to The increase in In this essaywe focuson age structure. As the construction rentalunitswhenthe baby of rapid societal change occurs, cohortdifferences boom cohortbeganestablishing independent become evidentamong groups. age Indeed, the residence pinpoints intersection populathe of development age cohortsas important of ele- tion andeconomic processes. market The presmentsof socialstructure a product cultural surefromthe larger is of birthcohortinflated the and institutionalchange (Eisenstadt1956). cost of housing postponed and homeownership Discussing cohorts part social birth as of change, forthisagecohort(Forrest Leather and 1998). Ryder(1965) firmly wedded population strucFurthermore, structure a useful in age is tool tureandsocialstructure. conception a a world-systems That is perspective. Nationsthathave matter not justsocialtheorizing commer- relatively of but young populations are rapidly and cialpractice. example, For age-based marketing modernizing, asseveral such Asiannations, find is essentially cohort-focused a strategy. seg- theirpopulations The agingveryrapidly. maybe It menting markets ageandgender of by categories difficultto shift nationalpolicyfocusjust as is firmly fixedin business culture today. quickly from youthful to aging sectors. Rileyandher colleagues (1968, 1988)took Consequently, nations withveryyoung populaRyder's conceptof birthcohortand moveda tionsmaytend to exportyoungpeopleas less