Synopses & Reviews
Blog Theory offers a critical theory of contemporary media. Furthering her account of communicative capitalism, Jodi Dean explores the ways new media practices like blogging and texting capture their users in intensive networks of enjoyment, production, and surveillance. Her wide-ranging and theoretically rich analysis extends from her personal experiences as a blogger, through media histories, to newly emerging social network platforms and applications.
Set against the background of the economic crisis wrought by neoliberalism, the book engages with recent work in contemporary media theory as well as with thinkers such as Giorgio Agamben, Jean Baudrillard, Guy Debord, Jacques Lacan, and Slavoj ?i?ek. Through these engagements, Dean defends the provocative thesis that reflexivity in complex networks is best understood via the psychoanalytic notion of the drives. She contends, moreover, that reading networks in terms of the drives enables us to grasp their real, human dimension, that is, the feelings and affects that embed us in the system.
In remarkably clear and lucid prose, Dean links seemingly trivial and transitory updates from the new mass culture of the internet to more fundamental changes in subjectivity and politics. Everyday communicative exchangesÑfrom blog posts to text messagesÑhave widespread effects, effects that not only undermine capacities for democracy but also entrap us in circuits of domination.
"Dean is asking the right questions about online life … We certainly need vigilance and critique to help us resist dotcom charisma, and no one is fiercer or smarter than Dean on this front." LA Review of Books
"Jodi Dean’s Blog Theory
takes as its proximate subject the eponymous blog—and its living death … what is offered is both simple and, oddly enough, also hopeful."Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory
"If Ballard invited the 20th century viewer to witness their own mass atrocity exhibition, we now have the update for the 21st century: Jodi Dean's demolition job of the Internet as we know it. With Blog Theory
we can finally terminate the hype of blogging and seriously engage the deeply distracted condition of the networked present. The incestuous relationship between journalism and bloggers is exposed to make way for critical reflections on techniques of self-management for our all-too-fragile identities."Geert Lovink
"Blog Theory is refreshingly free of received ideas about the wonderful new world of media. Jodi Dean manages the difficult art of being critical of new media without becoming a cranky curmudgeon. She uses psychoanalytic concepts to produce a synoptic view of the decline of symbolic efficiency under communicative capitalism, and the way the blogosphere participates in this dissipation of the totems and tokens of what we once thought of as the public sphere. She clears the way for imagining the politics of media by other means."
McKenzie Wark, The New School University
“A must read for those seeking to understand the impact of digital culture and their attendant communication technologies on our quest for liberty and equality.”
“A determined philosophical inquiry into the nature of information politics, from the abstraction of the cloud to the battlegrounds of hactivists, to identify the forms of exploitation and liberation endemic to the recursive movement of information. This book offers rich philosophical grounding for current and future studies of new media.”
“Tim Jordan has yet again produced a compelling and incisive account of fundamental developments in our increasingly digital world. His sophisticated theoretical analysis is clearly articulated and is based on a thorough grasp of both the technical and the social. He brilliantly avoids both cultural pessimism and techno-utopianism in his presentation of ‘political antagonisms.’”
Conflict over information has become a central part of twenty-first century politics and culture. Currents of liberation and exploitation course through the debates about Edward Snowden and surveillance, Anonymous, the Arab Spring, search engines, and social media. In Information Politics
, Tim Jordan confronts contemporary panic about whether we are being controlled by digital systems, such as social networks, iPhones, and Google. He approaches these issues in relation to the information politics that have emerged with the rise of mass digital cultures and the internet. Within our modern world, he argues for possibilities of rebellion and liberation interwoven among social and political conflicts including gender, class, and ecology.
The first of Pluto Press’s new Digital Barricades series, focusing on ground-breaking critical explorations of resistance within the digital world, Information Politics explores the exploitations both facilitated by, and contested through, increases in information flows; the embedding of information technologies in daily life; and the intersection of network and control protocols. Anyone hoping to get to grips with the rapidly changing terrain of digital culture and conflict should start here.
About the Author
Tim Jordan is the author of Internet, Society and Culture,Hacking, and Hacktivism and Cyberwars. He is professor and head of the School of Media, Film and Music at the Univeristy of Sussex.
Table of Contents
1: Information as a Politics
Part 1 Theory of Information Power
3: Technologies' Embrace
4: Network and Protocol Theory: Dis/Organising Information Power
Part 2 Platforms
5: Clouds: Platform 1
6: Securitisation of the Internet: Platform 2
7: Social Media Networks: Platform 3
Part 3 Battlegrounds
9 Information Exploitation and Information Liberation