Alexander Halavais: Search Engine Society (2008)

2 January 2013, dusan

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
196 pages

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Culture Machine journal 13: Paying Attention (2012)

24 July 2012, dusan

“This issue of Culture Machine sets itself two interrelated tasks in response to the scope and implications of these interrelated positions concerning attention, consciousness, culture, economics and politics. Firstly, it interrogates the notion of attention as it is elaborated in approaches to the attention economy and to media as forms of attention capture. The essays by three leading contributors to thinking in and around these themes, Bernard Stiegler, Tiziana Terranova, and Jonathan Beller, have such an interrogation as their principal task. They develop different, overlapping and sometimes contrasting perspectives on how a critical reposing of the question of attention might reframe its purchase on the central themes of the relation between interiority and exteriority, minds and media, economics and culture. The interview with Michel Bauwens, and the essays by Ben Roberts and Sy Taffel, are also working toward this end in that they identify various limitations and exclusions of the predominant articulation of the attention economy and move toward alternative, more productive, ethical or socially just formulations.

The second task of this issue is pursued in the essays of Tania Bucher, Martin Thayne, Rolien Hoyng and the three contributions to the additional section of the issue. These three – from Ruth Catlow, Constance Fleuriot and Bjarke Liboriussen – represent less scholarly but no less acute strategic inquiries into the thinking and re-making of what Stiegler calls attentional technics. Together, these contributions address particular instantiations of media forms, design practices and phenomena – from Facebook and Second Life to pervasive media design and Istanbul’s digitally mediated City of European Culture project – as a way of exploring and critically inflecting the implementation of the attention economy. This second mode moves from material phenomena to theoretical analysis and critique, while the first goes the other way. As we have argued, however, the necessity of the traffic between them is a central tenet of how we endeavour to pay attention to contemporary digital technoculture in this issue.” (from the introduction)

Edited by Patrick Crogan and Samuel Kinsley
Part of Open Humanities Press
ISSN 1465-4121

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Christian Marazzi: Capital and Language: From the New Economy to the War Economy (2002/2008)

22 March 2011, dusan

“The Swiss-Italian economist Christian Marazzi is one of the core theorists of the Italian postfordist movement, along with Antonio Negri, Paolo Virno, and Bifo (Franco Berardi). But although his work is often cited by scholars (particularly by those in the field of “Cognitive Capitalism”), his writing has never appeared in English. This translation of his most recent work, Capital and Language (published in Italian in 2002), finally makes Marazzi’s work available to an English-speaking audience.

Capital and Language takes as its starting point the fact that the extreme volatility of financial markets is generally attributed to the discrepancy between the “real economy” (that of material goods produced and sold) and the more speculative monetary-financial economy. But this distinction has long ceased to apply in the postfordist New Economy, in which both spheres are structurally affected by language and communication. In Capital and Language Marazzi argues that the changes in financial markets and the transformation of labor into immaterial labor (that is, its reliance on abstract knowledge, general intellect, and social cooperation) are just two sides of the same coin.

Capital and Language focuses on the causes behind the international economic and financial depression of 2001, and on the primary instrument that the U.S. government has since been using to face them: war. Marazzi points to capitalism’s fourth stage (after mercantilism, industrialism, and the postfordist culmination of the New Economy): the “War Economy” that is already upon us.

Marazzi offers a radical new understanding of the current international economic stage and crucial post-Marxist guidance for confronting capitalism in its newest form. Capital and Language also provides a warning call to a Left still nostalgic for a Fordist construct—a time before factory turned into office (and office into home), and before labor became linguistic.”

Introduction by Michael Hardt
Translated by Gregory Conti
Originally published in Italian by DeriveApprodi, 2002
Publisher Semiotext(e), 2008
Foreign Agents series
ISBN 1584350679, 9781584350675
180 pages

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