G. M. Bell

On Techne of Authority: Political Economy in a Digital Age

Paperback – June 24, 2014 | 210 Pages | ISBN here* | ISBN here*

How does information (data) infiltrate the global socioeconomic fabric with forces that aggregate and disaggregate authority and political alliances? This book uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine the politics of net culture. While the Internet opens up new discursive formations (Foucault) for the anonymous collective social subject, it also incites more disciplinary reactions from the state and corporate establishments. Alliances that embody techniques such as monetary monopoly, intellectual property monopoly and censorship uphold ideologies that attempt to centralize authority. Alliances that veer towards decentralization apply techniques such as open-source software, BitTorrent software, virtual private networks and cryptocurrencies to alter discourse. Ruptures between centralized and decentralized techniques oscillate authority in paradoxical directions that open up Net culture to new paradigms. Ultimately, this text argues that the Internet is an apparatus that is Janus-faced, one that provides a clearing for the proletariat, a swarm that leads socioeconomic change through disintermediation, but with the foresight that this may only prolong itself if the circulation of information remains fluid on the network.