Capital and Cybernetics
Current debates on techno-capitalism often underplay the relative autonomy of the digital realm. Responding to Evgeny Morozov’s ‘Critique of Techno-Feudal Reason’ in NLR 133/4, Timothy Ström outlines the abstractionist and expansionist logic of a novel cybernetic-capitalist form, originating at the apex of the US imperial system.
Critique of Techno-Feudal Reason
Countering current claims that digital capitalism is issuing in a ‘neofeudal’ age, as the rentier barons of Silicon Valley and Wall Street extract non-productive fortunes from their users and debtors, Evgeny Morozov returns to classic debates over the transition to capitalism to question the relation of the economic and the political.
The Politics of Recognition in the Age of Social Media
In the 1990s, the Hegelian notion of a struggle for recognition was reclaimed by critical theorists to conceptualize the politics of subaltern identities. But in platform-mediated civil society, even the powerful seem to feel under-recognized. What becomes of the struggle for recognition in the reputation economy?
Talking to the Mailman
Growing domination of companies over users, malicious functionalities, tracking and widespread surveillance. The leading campaigner for software freedom discusses the present technological landscape and the political relevance of the campaign for free software.
Against the Universal Library
A librarian reflects on her profession’s destructive and preservative urges, from microfilming of newspaper archives in the 1940s, via stress-testing experiments and de-acidification gassings to digitization and the coming of the ebook, as the library becomes a hollowed-out portal onto the private sector.
Hailed as organizational tools of the oppressed, social media have also emerged as powerful surveillance apparatuses, but could existing power structures be reinforced even by the very algorithms they use to order data? A history of algorithmic filtering and a case study of its role in the land struggles of Brazil’s Guarani and Kaiowá peoples.