Usually you can observe a life cycle in networks:

It starts off with informal interactions between like minded people. When they start thinking of joint actions, they must deal with their action network, which we define at three levels:


  • the horizontal network in which they want to create movement
  • the core network of actors who are supposed to do this
  • the vertical network as the larger whole to which the action should contribute.


Gradually they start making arrangements about who does what and how they will communicate; they create a structure.


When operations reach a point at which external funding or permission is required, structures become formalised. Actually, it then has become an organisation, even though people involved may prefer to call it a network, a platform, an alliance or whatever.The degree to which decision making is centralized or to which it remains easy for partners to step out of the network might differ.


Over time, the formalized network can lose its function. Signals are that those who feel most responsible for the network spend much of their time on raising funds, while it becomes harder every day to keep partners in the network motivated to give their contributions.


Structures can come to the end of their life span, and should be destroyed to make space for other forms of activity. While the structure is being decomposed, the movement can continue through different channels.


For those among us, who have always believed that we as individuals are autonomous beings, taking our own rational decisions as emperors of our own universe, it is a bit hard to accept that we might be part of something bigger, and that our range of what we used to call freedom is actually quite limited. But we get something back for this.

It is rather lonely at the top of our own universe. There is much fulfilment in being part of a larger entity.

We are not just unresisting victims either. We are connected.

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