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Networks and Power from the Freemasons to Facebook

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Lecture
Niall Ferguson explains why the tension between rigid hierarchies and fluid, informal webs of interconnection has been a defining, if misunderstood, driver of change and disruption throughout modern history
Speakers
Niall Ferguson
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About This Event

Hierarchical structures such as states dominate our understanding of history. But even as rulers asserted their power from the towers of palaces, real power often resided in the town squares below, within constantly shifting networks of people. The age of the world wide web has illuminated the power of networks but, Niall Ferguson argues, this is an age-old phenomenon. The tension between rigid hierarchies and fluid, informal webs of interconnection has been a defining, if misunderstood, driver of change and disruption throughout modern history. Are there historical analogies to the rise of today’s online social networks? What does history teach about the ability of networks to overcome established hierarchies? Ferguson explains the answers drawing from The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power from the Freemasons to Facebook

About the Speakers
Niall Ferguson
Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Niall Ferguson is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. He is the author of fifteen books