[NetBehaviour] The Immaterial Aristocracy of the Internet.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Jul 10 13:24:42 CEST 2008

The Immaterial Aristocracy of the Internet.

By Harry Halpin

Taking issue with the argument that, after decentralisation, control is 
embodied within the protocols of networks, Harry Halpin gives a 
historical account of the all-too-human actors vying for power over the 
net. Not technical standards but immaterial aristocrats rule cyberspace 
and their seats of power are vulnerable to revolutionary attack

Is there anything redeeming in the net? It all seemed so revolutionary 
not so long ago, but today it appears this revolutionary potential is 
spent. Is this disillusionment symptomatic ofthe structure of the net 
itself? Such is the analysis presented in Alexander Galloway and Eugene 
Thacker's book, The Exploit. However, I think it is problematic at best 
to forsake the net's revolutionary potential at this point. My general 
impression of Galloway's previous work Protocol: How Control Exists 
After Decentralization, is that while it is undoubtedly some of the best 
workin 'new media' studies to be produced in recent years, it leads 
ultimately not to action but to paranoia.


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