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The Exploit: A Theory of Networksby Alexander R. Galloway and Eugene Thacker
Synopses & Reviews
“The Exploit is that rare thing: a book with a clear grasp of how networks operate that also understands the political implications of this emerging form of power. It cuts through the nonsense about how 'free' and 'democratic' networks supposedly are, and it offers a rich analysis of how network protocols create a new kind of control. Essential reading for all theorists, artists, activists, techheads, and hackers of the Net.” —McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto
The network has become the core organizational structure for postmodern politics, culture, and life, replacing the modern era’s hierarchical systems. From peer-to-peer file sharing and massive multiplayer online games to contagion vectors of digital or biological viruses and global affiliations of terrorist organizations, the network form has become so invasive that nearly every aspect of contemporary society can be located within it.
Borrowing their title from the hacker term for a program that takes advantage of a flaw in a network system, Alexander R. Galloway and Eugene Thacker challenge the widespread assumption that networks are inherently egalitarian. Instead, they contend that there exist new modes of control entirely native to networks, modes that are at once highly centralized and dispersed, corporate and subversive.
In this provocative book-length essay, Galloway and Thacker argue that a whole new topology must be invented to resist and reshape the network form, one that is as asymmetrical in relationship to networks as the network is in relation to hierarchy.
Alexander R. Galloway is associate professor of culture and communications at New York University and the author of Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (Minnesota, 2006) and Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization.
Eugene Thacker is associate professor of new media at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the author of Biomedia (Minnesota, 2004) and The Global Genome: Biotechnology, Politics, and Culture.
Book News Annotation:
The world is increasingly organized around the form of the network, argue Galloway (culture and communication, New York U.) and Thacker (new media, Georgia Institute of Technology), in politics, in social relations, in communications, etc., but they warn that networks are by no means inherently egalitarian, as some have theorized. Networks instead exhibit entirely new forms of material, non-human control. They theoretically explore the operation of network power, especially in its variant of American empire, and theorize future means of resistance. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Alexander R. Galloway is associate professor of media studies at New York University and lives in New York, NY. He is the author of four books on digital media and critical theory, most recently The Interface Effect.
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