Saturday, 20 October 2007
Society was once highly uniform. Organised in top-down hierarchy, in pyramid like structures. At the apex lived the state, the church, the army, the university.
Underneath lay a large wall of homogeneous social blocks, with class as its mortar, and the family unit as it foundation. In this time, stability and centralisation was the scheme for the individual, the family, the firm and government alike.
Stability gave a predicable future, which encouraged the laying of plans and roots, with a sure knowledge that tomorrow would be pretty much the same as yesterday. Centrality gave everyone a place, everything a demarcation.
So in this old world prudence mandated the rules of the game, and of course efficiency the ultimate and absolute aim.
But now look? We live in a kind of network society, where ideas transcend borders at the speed of light via ubiquitous media from elementary comic book to live internet television.
Where the great wall of social conformance quakes and crumbles to mere rubble. Where hierarchy and deference is eroded by egalitarianism, where rank and title matters increasingly little. Where homogeneity and class is supplanted by diversity and multiidentity.
Suddenly we are confronted by a profusion of styles, ethnicity and brands. We are all - in the workplace, at play, at school, even within the privacy of our own home -progressively multiviewed, multilingual, multivalued, multifaceted and multichannelled.
A Hypersociety now swarms through and around us all......