It should be noted that this blog post will not discuss the meaning of this title statement (or distinction); but rather its usages ….for me lol.
When I first approached the topic of control over information networks, I encountered a problem with the specific locations in which a cluster of communication exchanges intersected. To put it plainly, there was a noticeable issue with pin-pointing the particular centres of exchange of information in which agents of both ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ ties were formed and operated. David Lux’s foray into communication networks and their varying methods for enhancing or restricting the flow of information was particularly helpful in this regard. When he analyses the centres of communication exchange, he utilizes the distinction between ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ personal ties to explain the foundation of information controls and their respective aims.
‘Weak’ ties (acquaintances, associates; often from different social strata) and ‘strong’ ties (relatives, family friends) are the two components of information exchange networks. However, Lux elucidates that with careful examination of the ‘weak’ ties, which ultimately created and upheld long-distance networks of communication, it is possible to explain the areas in which governmental control (or control by a stately authority) was solely dependent on and at the mercy of ‘tacit’ alliances. This will be a significant focus of my essay on the nature and extent of authoritative control over information, either by transnational entities or nation-states. Moreover, my attempts to explain the Royal Society of London’s etc. reliance on ‘weak’ bonds between a multitude of social groups will be crucial in order to analyse the ‘real’ effect that government could have on communication networks. Committees erected by the Royal Society of London and their apparent efforts to find some form of control by formulating a report for travelling Britain’s to fill in.
In short, I will use the example of less policy-driven initiatives (those by RSoL committies) on the part of governments/state authorities to analyse the multitude of methods employed towards ‘policing’ (not sure if right word) transnational exchanges. Nevertheless, this explanation of the more ‘un-constructed’ controls utilized by state authorities is not the basis of my essay. Rather, in my attempt to explain that controls on communication were evident and distinguishable (instructed vs advised), I will use Lux’s distinction to explain that characterising the types of control is not as easy as merely establishing they existed (no duh). Though, the clarification between ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ is one separates easily-restricted information networks from those that operate with effectively no obstructions. In conjunction with Lux’s analysis, the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ distinction will also provide a point of comparison when studying the different reasons for the success of ‘weak’ ties and the failure of ‘strong’ ones. However, unlike ‘weak’ vs ‘strong’, push vs pull (obviously very different in terms of direction) has a particularly restrictive form of analysis. These distinctions warrant further cross-examination and, while it may produce further confusion, additional distinctions (strategic vs un-strategic) might well provide an interesting take – although I am not optimistic.
Essentially, ‘weak’ vs ‘strong’ ties will form the basis of analysis, which will be expanded upon by analysis of strong and weak ties amongst civilian agents and amongst stately entities. This is the real scope of my essay and I am hopeful that this analysis will prove essential to understanding the nature and extent of control exerted by varying actors in communication networks.