Talk: Can society be distributed like a computer network?

Decentralising Society
Sunday 11th of November, 2012
Room 2

by Christopher Kullenberg

In political philosophy there have been numerous attempts to derive social theories from technological systems. Sometimes these theories have been used to legitimize social oppression and de-humanizing politics. However, some of them, in particular the political interpretations of the internet and free software, have appeared as promising emancipation of both individuals and collectives.

This presentation will critically examine how we can approach "the social" by thinking "the technological". Special attention will be drawn to the distribution of power in society compared to computer networks. May concepts such as packet switching, routing and protocols be transferred to a social-political domain with preserved credibility? Can we de-stratify social domains of inequality by means of technological solutions? Or, are such lines of thinking nothing but the tools of even more ubiquitous forms of capitalism?

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