From the Internet to Al Qaeda, the teetering electricity grid to old school ties, we live in a world of networks. A profoundly disruptive shift has occurred in our societies, making networks the most important organisational form of our time and reshaping the activities of families, governments and businesses.
Our public response to these changes has so far been partial and fragmented. Although social, political and technological networks hold our modern world together, we lack the language to apply them to solving our common problems.
But if we can learn more accurately to understand the patterns and impacts of networks, we can begin to tap their full potential for organisation and decision-making, and to make possible new forms of coordination and collective action.
In this collection of essays, Demos seeks to address that challenge. Drawing on some of the world's leading thinkers on networks across a range of disciplines, we seek to distil the most important lessons from the study of networks and address some of the critical questions that our 'network society' presents: from the distribution of power and inequality to the future of civic participation and the impact of new technologies.
Embracing this network logic will help us to change not just our tools of intervention, but our ways of seeing the world.