When Technocultures Collide
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When Technocultures Collide provides rich and diverse studies of collision courses between technologically inspired subcultures and the corporate and governmental entities they seek to undermine. The adventures and exploits of computer hackers, phone phreaks, urban explorers, calculator and computer collectors, “CrackBerry” users, whistle-blowers, Yippies, zinsters, roulette cheats, chess geeks, and a range of losers and tinkerers feature prominently in this volume. Gary Genosko analyzes these practices for their remarkable diversity and their innovation and leaps of imagination. He assesses the results of a number of operations, including the Canadian stories of Mafiaboy, Jeff Chapman of Infiltration, and BlackBerry users.

The author provides critical accounts of highly specialized attributes, such as the prospects of deterritorialized computer mice and big toe computing, the role of electrical grid hacks in urban technopolitics, and whether info-addiction and depression contribute to tactical resistance. Beyond resistance, however, the goal of this work is to find examples of technocultural autonomy in the minor and marginal cultural productions of small cultures, ethico-poetic diversions, and sustainable withdrawals with genuine therapeutic potential to surpass accumulation, debt, and competition. The dangers and joys of these struggles for autonomy are underlined in studies of RIM’s BlackBerry and Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks website.



Publié par
Date de parution 25 octobre 2013
Nombre de lectures 4
EAN13 9781554588992
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

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Cultural Studies Series
Cultural Studies is the multi- and inter-disciplinary study of culture, defined anthropologically as a way of life, performatively as symbolic practice, and ideologically as the collective product of varied media and cultural industries. Although Cultural Studies is a relative newcomer to the humanities and social sciences, in less than half a century it has taken interdisciplinary scholarship to a new level of sophistication, reinvigorating the liberal arts curriculum with new theories, topics, and forms of intellectual partnership.
Wilfrid Laurier University Press invites submissions of manuscripts concerned with critical discussions on power relations concerning gender, class, sexual preference, ethnicity, and other macro and micro sites of political struggle.
For more information, please contact:
Lisa Quinn Acquisitions Editor Wilfrid Laurier University Press 75 University Avenue West Waterloo, ON N2L 3C5 Canada Phone: 519-884-0710 ext. 2843 Fax: 519-725-1399 Email: quinn@press.wlu.ca
Innovation from Below and the Struggle for Autonomy
Gary Genosko
This book has been published with the help of a grant from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, through the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program, using funds provided by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Wilfrid Laurier University Press acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund for our publishing activities.

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Genosko, Gary, 1959-, author
When technocultures collide : innovation from below and the struggle for autonomy / Gary Genosko.
(Cultural studies series)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Issued in print and electronic formats.
ISBN 978-1-55458-897-8 (bound).-ISBN 978-1-55458-899-2 (epub).-ISBN 978-1-55458-898-5 (pdf)
1. Technology-Social aspects. 2. Technological innovations-Social aspects. 3. Technology and civilization. I. Title. II. Series: Cultural studies series (Waterloo, Ont.)
T14.5.G48 2013 306.4 6 C2013-903854-X C2013-903855-8

Cover design by Blakeley Words+Pictures. Front-cover photo: Anonymous , by Declan Roache. Reproduced with permission of the photographer. Text design by James Leahy.
2013 Wilfrid Laurier University Press
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada www.wlupress.wlu.ca
This book is printed on FSC recycled paper and is certified Ecologo. It is made from 100% post-consumer fibre, processed chlorine free, and manufactured using biogas energy.
Printed in Canada
Every reasonable effort has been made to acquire permission for copyright material used in this text, and to acknowledge all such indebtedness accurately. Any errors and omissions called to the publisher s attention will be corrected in future printings.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written consent of the publisher or a licence from the Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency (Access Copyright). For an Access Copyright licence, visit http://www.accesscopyright.ca or call toll free to 1-800-893-5777.
For Hannah and Iloe, my crafty daughters
1 Beyond Hands Free: Big-Toe Computing
2 Cultures of Calculation: William Gibson Collects
3 Rebel with an IV Pole: Portrait of Ninjalicious as an Urban Explorer
4 Home-Grown Hacker
5 Hacking the Grid: Does Electricity Want to Be Free?
6 Whistle Test: Blindness and Phone Phreaking
7 In Praise of Weak Play: Against the Chess Computers
8 CrackBerry: Addiction and Corporate Discipline
9 WikiLeaks and the Vicissitudes of Transparency
O ver the course of the ten years that I ran the Technoculture Lab, I was fortunate to have a number of very talented graduate students who assisted me in several of the projects that appear as chapters in this book. I am indebted to the work of Scott Thompson (creator of the tables) during the period when I was writing about Mafiaboy, and to Andriko Lozowy, who helped me first define the issues around Crack-Berry abuse and really drill down theoretically into failure.
During his regular visits to the Lab, Paul Hegarty worked with me on redirecting concepts from Bataille and Baudrillard towards info-tech objects and systems, especially the big toe as a way of productive disabling. Our Bletchley Park scavenger hunt was a catalyst ( http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=613 ). I am also grateful to Roberta Buiani with whom I collaborated on a postdoctoral project concerning Italian Yippies (for the journal Cultural Studies ). Working on a book, and making a film with Franco Bifo Berardi ( After the Future ), proved to be transformative for my thinking about the direction in which technoculture is headed, and about the fuzzy destinies of post-autonomist thought and practice. Greg Elmer, Ganaele Langlois, and Alessandra Renzi at the Infoscape Lab at Ryerson University were especially generous with their support during Bifo s visits to Toronto. I first aired my electrical dreams of utility hacks there. The participants in my WikiLeaks graduate seminar enthusiastically embraced the challenge of trying to make sense of a developing story and to analyze whistle-blowing. I will be revisiting the latest instalments of the WikiLeaks saga in a further seminar as it undertakes some of the tasks the US government once promised it would address. Information, like electricity, wants to be free.
Much of the research for this book was made possible by the Canada Research Chairs and Canada Foundation for Innovation programs. The final stages of the manuscript were prepared and corrected at UOIT.
T echnoculture appears to be a relatively recent coinage dating from the 1960s. In its blandest deployment, it simply makes note of the mutual influences of technology and culture, often drawing on one or more media to establish points of contact. Writing within the sweeping parameters of medium theory, American neologist Henry G. Burger wrote in a letter to the editor of the journal Technology and Culture that it was the availability of cheap Bibles (hence print), not to mention demand for them, that suggested to him the need for a new area of study that names the mutually supportive dimensions of technology and culture: I propose the discipline be named technoculture (1961: 261).
Far from constituting a new discipline or even sub-area, technoculture quickly became associated with technocratic ideology in which technology dominates cultural formations, via shifts in social organization, and determines their possibilities. It seems that the descriptive interdependence thesis, which is still in circulation today, and the technocratic hypothesis, also still much in evidence in the critical literature, together continue to influence the approaches available in technoculture studies.
The interdependence thesis is expressed by Debra Benita Shaw (2008: 4) as an enquiry into the relationship between technology and culture and the expression of that relationship in patterns of social life, economic structures, politics, art, literature It is also a quintessentially post-modern study in that it is a reflexive analysis from within, as it were, the belly of a beast that has grown to monstrous proportions. Word processing and publishing about technoculture within the belly of the technocultural beast requires reflexive awareness in the description of technoculture s expressive features in social and political life and how this very thesis is generated, relayed, and reproduced. Shaw is very clear on this point. The relative clarity of the grammar of this thesis-that a relationship exists between technology and culture the expressions of which are observable and describable-has also been troubled by critics for whom the postmodern and reflexive do not vouchsafe such ease of access. Sadie Plant (1997: 45-46), in her contribution to the discussion, points out that in both the study of culture and technology the former cannot be determined by a single coherent factor and the latter exerts a power that is riddled at all scales by turbulence and uncertainty; hence, whatever it is that is called technoculture is unstable and its interdependency difficult to access and to assess. Description is not so easy. There is a certain degree of convolution between culture and technology and a lack of givenness in the foliations.
On the other hand, the technocratic articulation of technoculture has become less focused on large-scale determinism and more nuanced over time. A good example is the work of Jodi Dean (2002). Dean does not wish to collapse technocracy and technoculture, despite the identification of the ideology of technoculture with one of the key features of technocracy, namely, publicity. Rather, the point is to expose how and what this ideology obscures, and the implications this holds for processes of subjectification. Dean s ideology critique acknowledges that technocracy in the age of info-capital relies on secrecy and esoteric knowledge, especially in the realm of information, which may be disturbed by counter-elements such as computer hackers and format pirates (2002: 99). It is the ideology of technoculture that interpellates subjects as celebrities (known for being well known) and conspiracy theorists (enthralled by cynicism and paranoia) in support of info-capitalism. However, there are other a

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