Richard Grusin on Sat, 26 Feb 2011 21:59:02 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> The Arabs are democracy's new pioneers

On Feb 26, 2011, at 1:34 AM, Praveen A wrote:

> I would like to highlight this part:
> "The prevalence in the revolts of social network tools, such as
> Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, are symptoms, not causes, of this
> structure. These are the modes of expression of an intelligent
> population capable of organising autonomously."

Funny, when I read this the same passage jumped out at me, but perhaps for a different reason. Sadly, Hardt and Negri perpetuate in this passage the over-simple account of agency and causality in relation to media. The logical or causal opposition between humans and "social network tools" puts all of the agency, intelligence, and powers of coalition on the side of the human, while media and technologies are merely instruments or tools of an autonomous human agency ("Guns don't kill people; people kill people."). Hardt and Negri's position here, sadly, is not much further advanced than reflection theory. Bring me instead the machinic assemblages of Deleuze, Guattari, or Lazzarato, or other attempts to do the more difficult work of understanding the complex and heterogeneous forces that coalesce in the emergence of these inspiring events.

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