The Politics of Networks/Network Politics Spring 2015

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The Politics of Networks/Network Politics

Spring 2015

STS 250/CRI 200b, Mondays 1–4

Instructor: Kris Fallon

Office: 219 Voorhies

Email:kfallon@ucdavis.edu

Office Hours: Mondays, 11-1
Description: From social networks to transportation networks to information networks, the network as a concept has become one of the dominant metaphors of the digital age. But are networks themselves benign forces capable of equalizing social relations and undoing the established hierarchies which they seek to undermine? Or are they instead an ever-more perfect panopticon, reinforcing existing regimes of surveillance and selective marginalization? This course will investigate the alternately radical and repressive power of networks. Rather than approaching networks as an abstract relation among individual entities or an ontological description of material relations, we will focus our attention on the space between. As a metaphor for describing the world, the figure of the network has served to structure evolving social and political structures, and as these structures have shifted they have in turn altered our conception of what the network is, and what it can be. To find this middle ground we will study both the theory and reality of different networks.
Required Texts

Bruno Latour, Reassembling the Social

Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri, Multitude

Yochai Benkler, The Wealth of Networks

Alex Galloway, Protocol

Jussi Parrika, Digital Contagions

Manuel Castells, Rise of the Network Society & Networks of Outrage and Hope

Tiziana Terranova, Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age

Thacker & Galloway, The Exploit

Fred Turner, From Counter Culture to Cyberculture

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