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The meaning of network culture

January 22, 2010

Kazys Varnelis in Eurozine:

Not all at once but rather slowly, in fits and starts, a new societal condition is emerging: network culture. As digital computing matures and meshes with increasingly mobile networking technology, society is also changing, undergoing a cultural shift. Just as modernism and postmodernism served as crucial heuristic devices in their day, studying network culture as a historical phenomenon allows us to better understand broader sociocultural trends and structures, to give duration and temporality to our own, ahistorical time.

If more subtle than the much-talked about economic collapse of fall 2008, this shift in society is real and far more radical, underscoring even the logic of that collapse. During the space of a decade, the network has become the dominant cultural logic. Our economy, public sphere, culture, even our subjectivity are mutating rapidly and show little evidence of slowing down the pace of their evolution. The global economic crisis only demonstrated our faith in the network and its dangers. Over the last two decades, markets and regulators had increasingly placed their faith in the efficient market hypothesis, which posited that investors were fundamentally rational and, fed information by highly efficient data networks, would always make the right decision. The failure came when key parts of the network – the investors, regulators, and the finance industry – failed to think through the consequences of their actions and placed their trust in each other.

The collapse of the markets seems to have been sudden, but it was actually a long-term process, beginning with bad decisions made longer before the collapse. Most of the changes in network culture are subtle and only appear radical in retrospect. [More]

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 22, 2010 9:00 AM

    Where did you get your blog layout from? I’d like to get one like it for my blog.

    • January 23, 2010 10:06 AM

      The host site for this blog, wordpress, has a range of templates to choose from. The template has been slightly modified to suit our needs, but similar layouts can be found among the ones offered at the site. Good luck.

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