Monday, October 1, 2012

On Power and Information

What I found especially interesting about Terranova’s argument was her ability to show the way the internet reinforces borders and barriers between people while also linking people and information to each other. In lab tonight, we gained a sense of the way information is linked but must be sorted through and mapped.  Indeed, tonight’s lab felt like an exercise in decoding: where are we located spatially? In what ways are our actions recorded and tracked? What is the power of a space of common information? What can we do with this space which Terranova describes as having the potential to be political? When Terranova writes, “How does one avoid the openness of virtual space being overruled by its tendency to reinforce specialized interest and the narrow group identities? How does one undermine the rigid lines of territorialization that divide electronic space in disconnected island of specialized interests and firewalled domains,” (62) she calls attention to the danger of a seemingly open space which actually reinforces certain molds of identity. In so doing, she calls attention to these same dangers within a globalized and transnational world in which borders are viewed as nonexistent despite real tensions between nation-states with opposing interests. 

Terranova’s discussion of power and information does not end here. Instead, she links democracy with a notion of free speech and political representation (131). She challenges media power in which those with access to resources are better able to share their opinions and gather a viewership/audience.  What is important, however, is the way Terranova questions relationships such as those of a sender and a receiver or a politician and his audience (18). She writes, “both the sender and receiver, the politician or his director of communication and their audience, are in fact immersed within a larger field of interactions that packs within itself a constitutive potential that the mathematical theory of communication does not capture” (18). I am interested in this larger field of interactions. What can this field do to destabilize the relationship of a sender and a receiver or a politician and his/her waiting audience?  

What does Terranova mean when she discusses the power of engaging with “the political concept of the ‘multitude’ beyond the temptation of reconstituting a new, indefinite subject of history” (129)?

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