|Felix Stalder on Thu, 16 May 2013 09:18:35 +0200 (CEST)|
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|Re: <nettime> Jaron lanier: The Internet destroyed the middle class|
On 05/15/2013 05:40 PM, Newmedia@aol.com wrote:
Is there any body of research that does this -- with or without McLuhan?
Manuel Castells immediately springs to mind, who not only wrote a book called "Internet Galaxy" (by far not his best, though), but premises his entire analysis on the transformation of the cultural-material basis of social institutions (i.e. the ground, in ML's parlance), that is, the emergence of ubiquitous digital networks and associated infrastructures, which create, what he calls, the space of flows. But even technological development always takes place in concrete historical settings, in which all kinds of dynamics unfold in different rhythms and at different scales. The difficulty is, of course, that they interact in ways that are unpredictable. The past never disappears. My favorite example here is the fact that a sizable portion of EU agricultural subsidies ends up with in the coffers of the aristocracy. So, you have basically the Acien Regime operating through the network state. The trouble with McLuhan-style analysis is that in order to avoid these complexities, one has to resort to extreme abstraction. McLuhan thought in very large historical periods and concentrated on very foundational patterns. So, in this view, little happened between 1800 and 1900, and there is little difference between Fordist capitalism and soviet communism, after all, they are both based on assembly line production (print linearity), rigid division of labor (again, print induced specialization and separation), and bureaucratic administration (typographic man). Fair enough, and anyone who disregards this is really missing something substantial. Castells bases his analysis of the collapse of the Soviet Union on its inability to move out of an industrial and into a networked mode (or, if you like, to manage its way out if the Gutenberg Galaxy). This is, in my view, the most lucid part of his entire work, because it manages to connect the movement of history with the experience of life. Because, seen from the scale of a human life, a lot of things did happen between 1800 and 1900, and, yes, life was different in the "East" and in the "West". So, if you shrink the scale, things become more difficult. It's a commonly held misunderstanding that long-term social analysis is more difficult, more ambitious than short or medium term analysis. It's exactly the other way around, and not just because "in the long run, we are all dead" (which, incidentally, is correct even if you have children, but that's another story.) Just look at McLuhan when he was trying to dispense business (i.e. short-term) advice. Pathetic. -- -|- http://felix.openflows.com ------------------------ books out now: | *|Cultures & Ethics of Sharing/Kulturen & Ethiken des Teilens UIP 2012 *|Vergessene Zukunft. Radikale Netzkulturen in Europa. transcript 2012 *|Deep Search. The Politics of Searching Beyond Google. Studienv. 2009 *|Mediale Kunst/Media Arts Zurich.13 Positions. Scheidegger&Spiess2008 *|Manuel Castells and the Theory of the Network Society.Polity P. 2006 *|Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks. Ed Futura / Revolver, 2005 | # distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission # <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism, # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets # more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l # archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: email@example.com