Saturday, February 6, 2010

An essay in Periodisation

Before all this began, cutting the long story short. there was the Sovereign, the alphabet and the manuscript.

In the era of the Nation, there was printing, the republic, discipline and capital version 1. In the era of the Market, photomechanical and broadcast media shared their diagram with representational democracy, biopolitical management of populations, and the globalisation of capital version 2. In the era of the network which is coming (and in many respects already here), telecommunications align with government by control (Deleuze) or protocol (Galloway). But we do not yet know what political or which economic forms are emerging. The choices would appear to be between Sassen's TAR (territory-authority-rights) model, and Hardt and Negri's multitude as polity, and Bauwens' peer-to-peer or a harder and deeper capital as economy.

Form of government, principle of power, and mode of economy are relatively autonomous, in the sense that they evolve according to their internal logics, but informed by relations with the other spheres. The media forms are slightly different, autonomous but at the same time integral to both the internal functioning of each sphere and the relations between them.

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