Geert Lovink on Tue, 6 May 2014 00:06:03 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Wolfgang Schivelbusch: a digital Trafalgar

>From the Eurozine newsletter:

Digital Trafalgar: Wolfgang Schivelbusch compares the US position in the NSA scandal to that of the UK at the height of the British Empire. Substitute the marine sphere for cyberspace and you sense an affinity between the apparently incontrovertible "freedom of the seas" and the later American slogan of "freedom and democracy", the cultural historian argues.

The text of Schivelbusch's February 2012 speech in acceptance of the prestigious Lessing Prize from the City of Hamburg, now published in Mittelweg 36, is devoted to the subject:

"The US enjoys a lead extending well beyond the purely technological, in view of which, it may be that a digital Trafalgar awaits Europe. By way of reminder: it was during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 that the English effortlessly destroyed (without losing a single ship) the French fleet that Napoleon had in previous years invested great effort building from scratch."

Schivelbusch therefore predicts it will take an "oceanic know-how", one that incorporates not least an intuitive understanding of the power to convince, if continental Europe is to have any chance when up against both the NSA and GCHQ.

The full table of contents of Mittelweg 36 2/2014:

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