Brian Holmes on Fri, 18 May 2012 11:04:29 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Capitalism is FINISHED -- As a Result of the Internet!

On 05/17/2012 12:28 AM, Keith Hart wrote:

> I would add that each individual or group inserts themsleves
> into the social and technical movement at a particular point in
> time with a bundle of assets and drawbacks in terms of skills,
> experience, online history and offline engagements. It is how
> these are combined and the character of our ongoing engaement with
> the medium that makes different aspects of digital social life
> distinctive for each of us.

Ha ha! Well said. And this is also where you really have to open your
eyes and ears if you want to do social theory.

You know, that's why in the past I used to read Ulrich Beck and
even Giddens, because they were able to talk about the diversity of
society. (Of course I'm aware Giddens was the leading theorist of
center-left neoliberalism, but it was important to understand how that
became hegemonic.) Some of the old Multitudes group could also write
very well about those multiple entry-points, in a more leftist and
workerist way: like Lazzarato in his book on Tarde, or in his work
on Bakhtin. This attention to the multiplicity of uses comes through
very strongly in The Memory Bank (that's one of Keith's books, a great

The question I have is how to develop that in a more polarized
situation like the one today?

Those who were politicized in the Bush years don't read Deleuze and
Negri (who basically did try to argue that capitaism was finished
because of a-centric networks) but instead, Zizek and Badiou. There's
a reason for that: It's called class war from the top down. It has set
off a massive return of what we used to call "molar" distinctions.

Yet in the discursive style of the Occupy movement what I've found
is a mix of the two approaches: an incredible openness to hearing
the other's experience, and an incredible tenacity when it comes to
identifying the structural wrongs from which specific groups and
individuals profit. So maybe there is a new style of social theory
just waiting to be invented?

best, Brian

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