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Internet Cultural Studies

I just wanted to put in a brief plug for Kathy Bowrey’s Law and Internet Cultures; it looks like a very interesting read. I particularly like this nugget on a consumer culture “hoist by its own petard:”

In chapter 6, “Telling Tales: Digital Piracy and the Law,” Bowrey . . . posits that the problem with the selling of the “digital piracy message” . . .is that our history of consumption has already primed us to certain expectations: “We have been sold on a story of a clean, seamless aesthetic–one that facilitates integration and co-ordination of appliances and lifestyle. As consumers of that fantasy, we place limitations on the development of the technology market, on what is believable as consumer education, and on the ability of law to sell us a structure of ‘control'” (p. 143).

Those familiar with the Baffler’s Commodify Your Dissent might not be surprised at the questions asked by a later chapter:

In “Participate/Comply/Resist,” Bowrey asks what should be done about the power of information communication technologies: should forms of resistance be developed through technology? Is it acceptable to technologically undermine state action that is deemed questionable?

As one piqued by urbanites’ civil disobedience, I look forward to reading this chapter on defiance in cyberculture. The question, I guess, is what is the line between a truly political act and mere cheating or hacking? Well, given the insights of Sato Roams, perhaps one shouldn’t call hacking “mere”….