Leadership or Employees (power short version)

Filed under: event, text, narrative, the political, network — sdv @ 09:44:39 pm

Some years ago a place I worked in received, in the morning mail sack a bomb. It was sent from some Yorkshire based fascist group and contained enough explosive to maim or kill. In the moment of panic and virtual violence we called the police, along came the bomb squad and some armed officers, and they set about disarming the bomb they then disappeared leaving us to be interviewed by a second set of information gatherers.

Prior to this I might have thought of the police less ambiguously but after that moment of employment…. [’ur… please come we’ve got a terrorist bomb…’ ‘Ok we are on our way’] I realized later that after that moment and a few subsequent burglaries that Serres is correct in his analysis that they are our employees, people who we employ to carry out specialized tasks so that we do not have to.

So the question to ask about these functions is what do I want to do ? Become an expert in explosives ? Have to spy on my neighbour in case he’s abusing his wife ? In case she is abusing her children and animals ? Evaluate and judge whether this person should be allowed to work with children ? Evaluate which path should be relaid ? Judge whether Socrates should be accused ?

We could go on. But the point is that what might have been everyday actions have become roles and tasks carried out by others so that we don’t have to do them. You can interpret some of these roles as oppressive, the police, judiciary, politics, management and so on, but when the bomb arrives though the post who are you going to call ?

This may have the smell of liberalism, it smells of consequences, of course it does. But it is an alternative way of understanding what the chief of police does. The alternative is to nostalgically believe that these people are leaders who expect you to follow them like the main character in Celine’s Journey to the end of night blindly into the abyss, when you should be saying ’sorry, you work for me, don’t think the abyss is a good idea…’


future models

Filed under: philosophy, difference, text, fiction, the political, network — sdv @ 10:44:29 pm

A model of the future. So then what might an achievable image of the future look like ? After to many years of SF and terrifying utopian novels. Only Tarkvovski’s Solaris and these paragraphs from Peter Handke get even close…

Part of it was that the rivers and their characteristic surroundings were increasingly shaping everyday life, were gradually permeating it almost to the exclusion of everything else. In the market stalls you could still see all the varieties of salt-water fish laid out. But the point was that these were laid out, dead or half-dead, whereas the freshwater fish cavorted in glass tanks nearby; even if there were not quite as many varieties; each individual exemplar was almost a species unto itself, and not only because it was palpably alive, leaping about amid the throng of other fishes. For many years out of style, they were now increasingly prized, purchased, and prepared according to old recipes, and even more according to new ones, were a component of the daily regional culture (regional having become no less important than national).
Similarly the old orchards and the other vegetable gardens or fields or terraces along both rivers, which had been long left fallow, now, wherever they had not been turned into building sites, were experiencing a second spring-summer-fall. The varieties once planted there were being supplemented and enriched by imported varieties or varieties moving on there own into an area as a result of the abrupt warming of the climate all over the continent. Of course exotic fruits, as well as olives wine grapes, pistachios, and such, continued to be imported into the north-western region. But in the meantime it had become customary-this to part of the new way of living – that once locally grown crops had been sold, used up, consumed, no substitutes were flown in from another hemisphere. No more fresh cherries or blueberries from Chile in the winter. No more early fall apples from New Zealand, in the spring. No more Cepes from South Africa with lamb at Eastertime. And in her two river city, the ripening of the local fruits, rather than being accelerated was actually held back… courtesy of Handke


Network List

Filed under: philosophy, event, difference, text, network — sdv @ 08:52:47 pm

The network society list i’m working with is listed below. I’m still unsure how useful it will be to think of it it in these terms but my ongoing research into the area suggests that these are the current lines of thought which are the most descriptive of the network society we live in. It is necessary to differentiate this is critically not to be considered in terms of a network society to come, nor as coming society, as a futurism but rather I think in terms of understanding the present. I freely admit that this line of thought has been caused by my experimental experience with twitter, which led me to rethink some of the lines of thought that in some sense references networks. Of course it remains provisional and still developing but I still think (I) we can begin to see the way that the paradigm of the network is mirroring the present and affecting the future.

So the following attempts to outline the epistemological, the social and political concerns - my own personal reluctance to say ontological at this point is because it’s not clear to me that a concept that derives its force from the technical should be considered as developing the way i\we think of the ontological, but even with this caveat it’s obvious how the ontological haunts the differing discourses below. Here at least I think that the two predominant ontological lines being the post-heideggerian line and the more material Spinozist-Marxist line of thought and flight.

The wide array of the discourses of networks has played an increasingly predominant role in the recent decades, to the extent that I would unhesitatingly identify it as paradigmatic. It has been used in evolutionary science, electrical engineering, systems theories, adaptive systems, mathematics, marketing, business theory and economic modelling of capital. What this thinking does is to challenge disciplines and our standing epistemological thinking, translating the implications of networks from its original fields into the new assemblages of social research, materialist history, nomadic thinking into the various posthumanisms to discussions of power and the gradual recognition that class exists.

The list then looks like the following:

The usual self-proclaimed gurus of network science, new global assemblage theory, Niklas Luhmann – systems theory, Deleuze and Guattari rhizomes and lines of flight, Annelise Riles network thinking, Bord and Somerville netocracy, Zygmunt Bauman reconceptualisation of the postmodern as the Liquid Modern, Manuall Castells theorization of the network society as the interbet galaxy, and manual de Landa’s assemblages and meshworks, Bruno Latours ANTs, Jean Luc Nancy’s ecotechnics, Negri and Hardt’s spinozist empire and the commons, and Alain Supiot legalistic idealistic return to Dogma, Mary Poovey and Lorraine Daston on philosophy of science, Serres Angels and accountability, Luciana Parisi abstract sex, Bernard Steigler on Technics, Pierre Levy’s digital virtual, Price’s Slow Tech, Elizabeth Grosz evolution, Malabou plasticy, Benkler’s neoliberal wealth of networks and David Edgerton’s revisionist history…

It seems important to say that the list does not make any claims for quality or even readability, let alone usefulness of the concepts they invent and co-opt. Nor can I know where the list or the research will take me …..

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