Filed under book | Tags: · apparatus, friendship, knowledge, philosophy, power
TThe three essays collected in this book offer a succinct introduction to Agamben’s recent work through an investigation of Foucault’s notion of the apparatus, a meditation on the intimate link of philosophy to friendship, and a reflection on contemporariness, or the singular relation one may have to one’s own time.
“Apparatus” (dispositif in French) is at once a most ubiquitous and nebulous concept in Foucault’s later thought. In a text bearing the same name (“What is a dispositif?”) Deleuze managed to contribute its mystification, but Agamben’s leading essay illuminates the notion: “I will call an apparatus,” he writes, “literally anything that has in some way the capacity to capture, orient, determine, intercept, model, control, or secure the gestures, behaviors, opinions, or discourses of living beings.” Seen from this perspective, Agamben’s work, like Foucault’s, may be described as the identification and investigation of apparatuses, together with incessant attempts to find new ways to dismantle them.
Though philosophy contains the notion of philos, or friend, in its very name, philosophers tend to be very skeptical about friendship. In his second essay, Agamben tries to dispel this skepticism by showing that at the heart of friendship and philosophy, but also at the core of politics, lies the same experience: the shared sensation of being.
Guided by the question, “What does it mean to be contemporary?” Agamben begins the third essay with a reading of Nietzsche’s philosophy and Mandelstam’s poetry, proceeding from these to an exploration of such diverse fields as fashion, neurophysiology, messianism and astrophysics.
“What is an Apparatus?” was originally published in Italian as Che cos’è un dispositivo?, Nottetempo, 2006
“The Friend” was originally published in Italian as L’amico, Nottetempo, 2007
“What Is the Contemporary?” was originally published in Italian as Che cos’è il contemporaneo?, Nottetempo, 2008
Translated by David Kishik and Stefan Pedatella
Publisher Stanford University Press, 2009
Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics series
ISBN 0804762309, 9780804762304
Che cos’è un dispositivo? (Italian, 2006)
L’amico (Italian, 2007)
Che cos’è il contemporaneo? e altri scritti (Italian, 2010)
What is an Apparatus? And Other Essays (English, trans. David Kishik and Stefan Pedatella, 2009)
O que é o contemporâneo. e outros ensaios (Portuguese, trans. Vinícius Nicastro Honesko, 2009)
Filed under journal | Tags: · capitalism, cognitive capitalism, geopolitics, knowledge, knowledge production, labour, theory
“The crises within cognitive capitalism and cognitive labor are mirrored in the reproduction and exacerbation of global divisions of labor and the emergence of new forms of exploitation as part of a regime of flexible capital accumulation. While drastic austerity measures and heightened control mechanisms lead to a radical transformation of the welfare state on the one hand, new networks of communication, struggle and alternative forms of knowledge emerge on the other.
This issue of transversal attempts to review some of the general assumptions of a theory of cognitive capitalism and to unsettle the very notions of knowledge and its production, discussing the conditions of its capture, its “re-invention” and its capacity for creating worlds. The individual essays follow the lines of a (post-)colonial historicity and a feminist and geopolitical critique of capitalist valorization, thereby questioning the materiality of knowledge and its production in relation to resources and bodies, as well as how art and knowledge production are interwoven with political struggles.” (Editorial)
With contributions by Anne Querrien, Marc Hatzfeld, Amina Bensalah/Myriam Suchet, Boris Seguin, Sonia Chikh (Les engraineurs), Abdoulah Bensaid (Musik à Venir), Françoise Dibotto Soppi.
Editors: Lina Dokuzović, Therese Kaufmann, Raimund Minichbauer, Radostina Patulova
Publisher eipcp – European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies, Vienna/Linz
ISSN 1811 – 1696
Filed under book | Tags: · computing, knowledge, library, memory, technology
In this book J. C. R. Licklider discussed how information could be stored and retrieved electronically. Although he had not read Vannevar Bush’s “As We May Think,” he realized that Bush’s ideas had been diffused through the computing community enough to have provided a base for his own ideas. His theoretical information network, which he called a “procognitive system” sounds remarkably similar to Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web: “the concept of a ‘desk’ may have changed from passive to active: a desk may be primarily a display-and-control station in a telecommunication-telecomputation system-and its most vital part may be the cable (‘umbilical cord’) that connects it, via a wall socket, into the procognitive utility net”. This system could be used to connect the user to “everyday business, industrial, government, and professional information, and perhaps, also to news, entertainment, and education.” (source)
Based on a study sponsored by the Council on Library Resources, Inc., and conducted by Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, Inc., between November 1961 and November 1963.
Publisher MIT Press, 1965
ISBN 026212016X, 9780262120166
via Archive.org (where it is not available anymore)
Sützl, Stalder, Maier, Hug (eds.): Media, Knowledge and Education: Cultures and Ethics of Sharing (2012) [English, German]
Filed under book | Tags: · education, ethics, filesharing, knowledge, labour, sharing, social media
“This is a volume of essays about sharing. Few people could have predicted that practices of sharing would gain such prominence in contemporary society. It is, arguably, one of the most unexpected developments of the early 21st century. Surprising, but not inexplicable. Over the last decade, numerous developments have taken place that created conditions under which new practices could flourish and the roles of sociability and sharing are being re-examined.” (from the Introduction)
The individual texts in this volume where first presented at the conference “Cultures and Ethics of Sharing” which took place at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, in November 2011.
With contributions from Manuela Farinosi, Manfred Faßler, Leopoldina Fortunati, Michael Funk, Volker Grassmuck, Doreen Hartmann, Andrea Hemetsberger, Aletta Hinsken, Tobias Hölterhof, Nicholas A. John, Magnus Lawrie, Claudia Paganini, Julia Rone, Klaus Rummler, Katherine Sarikakis, Hans-Martin Schönherr-Mann, Sebastian Sevignani, Alexander Unger, Karsten D. Wolf.
Media, Knowledge and Education: Cultures and Ethics of Sharing / Medien – Wissen – Bildung: Kulturen und Ethiken des Teilens
Edited by Wolfgang Sützl, Felix Stalder, Ronald Maier, Theo Hug
Publisher University of Innsbruck Press, 2012
Filed under book | Tags: · attention, attention economy, censorship, democracy, facebook, google, internet, knowledge, pagerank, privacy, search, web
Search engines have become a key part of our everyday lives. Yet while much has been written about how to use search engines and how they can be improved, there has been comparatively little exploration of what the social and cultural effects might be. Like all technologies, search engines exist within a larger political, cultural, and economic environment. This volume aims to redress this balance and to address crucial questions such as:
* How have search engines changed the way we organize our thoughts about the world, and how we work?
* What are the ‘search engine wars’, what do they portend for the future of search, and who wins or loses?
* To what extent does political control of search engines, or the political influence of search engines, affect how they are used, misused, and regulated?
* Does the search engine help shape our identities and interactions with others, and what implications does this have for privacy?
Informed members of the information society must understand the social contexts in which search engines have been developed, what that development says about us as a society, and the role of the search engine in the global information environment. This book provides the perfect starting point.
Publisher Polity, 2008
Digital Media and Society series
ISBN 0745642152, 9780745642154
Filed under book | Tags: · artificial life, history of science, knowledge, life, modernity, philosophy, philosophy of science, physics, politics, quantum mechanics, science, theory, time
From Einstein’s quest for a unified field theory to Stephen Hawking’s belief that we ‘would know the mind of God’ through such a theory, contemporary science—and physics in particular—has claimed that it alone possesses absolute knowledge of the universe. In a sweeping work of philosophical inquiry, originally published in French in seven volumes, Isabelle Stengers builds on her previous intellectual accomplishments to explore the role and authority of science in modern societies and to challenge its pretensions to objectivity, rationality, and truth.
For Stengers, science is a constructive enterprise, a diverse, interdependent, and highly contingent system that does not simply discover preexisting truths but, through specific practices and processes, helps shape them. She addresses conceptual themes crucial for modern science, such as the formation of physical-mathematical intelligibility, from Galilean mechanics and the origin of dynamics to quantum theory, the question of biological reductionism, and the power relations at work in the social and behavioral sciences. Focusing on the polemical and creative aspects of such themes, she argues for an ecology of practices that takes into account how scientific knowledge evolves, the constraints and obligations such practices impose, and the impact they have on the sciences and beyond.
This perspective, which demands that competing practices and interests be taken seriously rather than merely (and often condescendingly) tolerated, poses a profound political and ethical challenge. In place of both absolutism and tolerance, she proposes a cosmopolitics—modeled on the ideal scientific method that considers all assumptions and facts as being open to question—that reintegrates the natural and the social, the modern and the archaic, the scientific and the irrational.
Cosmopolitics I includes the first three volumes of the original work: The Science Wars; The Invention of Mechanics; and Thermodynamics.
Arguing for an “ecology of practices” in the sciences, Isabelle Stengers explores the discordant landscape of knowledge derived from modern science, seeking intellectual consistency among contradictory, confrontational, and mutually exclusive philosophical ambitions and approaches. For Stengers, science is a constructive enterprise, a diverse, interdependent, and highly contingent system that does not simply discover preexisting truths but, through specific practices and processes, helps shape them.
Stengers concludes this philosophical inquiry with a forceful critique of tolerance; it is a fundamentally condescending attitude, she contends, that prevents those worldviews that challenge dominant explanatory systems from being taken seriously. Instead of tolerance, she proposes a “cosmopolitics” that rejects politics as a universal category and allows modern scientific practices to peacefully coexist with other forms of knowledge.
Cosmopolitics II includes the first English-language translations of the last four books: Quantum Mechanics: The End of the Dream; In the Name of the Arrow of Time: Prigogine’s Challenge; Life and Artifice: The Faces of Emergence; and The Curse of Tolerance.
Publisher La Découverte; Le Plessis-Robinson (Essonne): Synthélabo, Paris, 1996, 1997
Translated by Robert Bononno
Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 2010, 2011
ISBN 0816656878, 9780816656875 (Vol. I)
ISBN 0816656894, 9780816656899 (Vol. II)
312 and 472 pages
Cosmopolitics I (1-3) (English)
Cosmopolitics II (4-7) (English)
Cosmopolitiques I: La Guerre des sciences (French, Nov 1996)
Cosmopolitiques III: Thermodynamique: la réalité physique en crise (French, Jan 1997)
Cosmopolitiques VI: La Vie et l’Artifice: visages de l ‘émergence (French, Apr 1997)
Cosmopolitiques VII: Pour en finir avec la tolérance (French, May 1997)
Filed under book | Tags: · actor-network-theory, knowledge, language, meaning, neural networks, prosthesis
Much of what humans know we cannot say. And much of what we do we cannot describe. For example, how do we know how to ride a bike when we can’t explain how we do it? Abilities like this were called “tacit knowledge” by physical chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyi, but here Harry Collins analyzes the term, and the behavior, in much greater detail, often departing from Polanyi’s treatment.
In Tacit and Explicit Knowledge, Collins develops a common conceptual language to bridge the concept’s disparate domains by explaining explicit knowledge and classifying tacit knowledge. Collins then teases apart the three very different meanings, which, until now, all fell under the umbrella of Polanyi’s term: relational tacit knowledge (things we could describe in principle if someone put effort into describing them), somatic tacit knowledge (things our bodies can do but we cannot describe how, like balancing on a bike), and collective tacit knowledge (knowledge we draw that is the property of society, such as the rules for language). Thus, bicycle riding consists of some somatic tacit knowledge and some collective tacit knowledge, such as the knowledge that allows us to navigate in traffic. The intermixing of the three kinds of tacit knowledge has led to confusion in the past; Collins’s book will at last unravel the complexities of the idea.
Tacit knowledge drives everything from language, science, education, and management to sport, bicycle riding, art, and our interaction with technology. In Collins’s able hands, it also functions at last as a framework for understanding human behavior in a range of disciplines.
Publisher University of Chicago Press, 2010
ISBN 0226113809, 9780226113807