Network Power

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Book: David Grewal. Network Power.

"examining the political, sociological, and philosophical implications of network formation and standards adoption"


"David, what is the argument of your book?

The book was motivated by a puzzle. On the one hand, globalization is often celebrated for the new freedoms and opportunities it provides. Individuals are, it is claimed, freer now than ever before to roam the globe with their money, ideas, and ambitions—and to create a new world order outside the traditional hierarchies of states. On the other hand, globalization is often criticized for the inequalities and exclusions that it generates, and is sometimes alleged to represent a new kind of “empire.”

In Network Power: The Social Dynamics of Globalization, I advance an argument that tries to make sense of these different accounts. I argue that globalization can best be understood as the rise to dominance of shared “standards” underlying newly transnational and international networks in areas including media, trade, language, and even some forms of culture. These new global networks link people together as never before—but they also generate problems of insider/outsider dynamics that raise challenging ethical questions, for to become part of a global network often means adopting a dominant standard at the expense of alternative ones that could mediate the same activity.

I devote a significant part of the book to examining these ethical issues, including trying to consider what we owe to people left out of new global networks and whether (and how) we should try to destabilize a standard that has become dominant and threatens to eliminate local and less powerful—but nevertheless deeply valued—attachments of one kind or another. It is in this ethical assessment of the new power at work in global networks that I try to consider what a “fairer globalization” might look like, and which I hope will be of particular interest to readers of Policy Innovations." (

See also the video presentation at


Review by Frank Pascuale at

More Information

  1. Netarchical Capitalism
  2. Protocollary Power