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This article examines two different approaches to the political significance of networked technologies like the Internet. It considers Richard Kahn and Douglas Kellner’s “critical/reconstructive” methodology and Jodi Dean’s account of “communicative capitalism,” and shows how the respective approaches are insufficient to elucidate the genuinely radical possibilities we may harbor for the Internet. The case study of “hypertextual databases” or “wikis” is used, both to contextualize the limitations of the above arguments and to present a more radical overture for thinking about network politics. I also utilize Ned Rossiter’s concept of “organized networks” and show how these social-technical forms can provide a more radical proposition for thinking about the political possibilities of wikis. I proceed to translate wikis as specific kinds of organized networks that take us beyond a purely perfunctory language – whether as “information-rich data banks” or else animating the “fantasy of abundance” – and allow us to see them in a decidedly “political” way, as necessarily “incomplete” and thus eminently “rewritable” formations. This essay then concludes by examining the wider implications this “political” reading has for the way in which we understand the multiple situations of nascent forms of democratic politics.
This is a list of all of the articles about Wikileaks, or using Wikileaks data, that I have written to date:
Since 2007, I have taught an undergraduate class on computer hackers at New York University where I am Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Culture and Communication. The class opens a window into the esoteric facets of hacking: its complicated ethical codes and the multifaceted experiences of pleasures and frustrations in making, breaking, and especially dwelling in technology. Hacking, however, is as much a gateway into familiar cultural and political territory. For instance, hacker commitments to freedom, meritocracy, privacy and free speech are not theirs alone, nor are they hitched solely to the contemporary moment. Indeed, hacker ethical principles hearken back to sensibilities and conundrums that precipitated out of the Enlightenment’s political ferment; hackers have refashioned many political concerns — such as a commitments to free speech — through technological and legal artifacts, thus providing a particularly compelling angle by which to view the continued salience of liberal principles in the context of the digital present.
Here I want to give a fuller picture of what it looks like to participate in Anonymous, how they arrive at some consensus, how they change tactics, and how they use technology to produce collaboratively. Although this is quite an incomplete picture, it will perhaps give a more human face to an operation that otherwise seems faceless.
A Canadian anthropologist who has donated money to Wikileaks mounted a vigorous defense of the embattled Julian Assange on Wednesday in an article posted on the website CounterPunch. — Maximillian C. Foote is especially exercised by the scrupulous concern for legality evinced by the U.S. government and, inter alia, FOX News, “eager to dedicate its time and energies to looking for legal loopholes by which to hang Wikileaks. It demonstrated no such concern for the finer points of international law, let alone another country’s domestic laws, when it came to the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.” — For Prof. Foote, all the supposed “arguments” presented by the U.S. national security state are really “appealing to something more visceral with all of this posturing: fear. It wants to strike fear into the minds and bodies of people working with Wikileaks, or anyone else doing such work, and anyone contemplating leaking any classified records. Fear is its greatest weapon of psychological destruction, with proven success at home.” — It all amounts to “fear promotion,” to which “the best answer is a combination of further tactical innovation, and greater humor.” …
Flashback time: The language used to depict Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden as craven life forms has returned for a repeat performance except that this time the target is Julian Assange and his merry band of WikiLeakers. “Execute him” say dozens of U.S. politicians and assorted government officials. “Arrest him and hang him,” say others. OMG! laments the US government over news of critical infrastructure locations revealed worldwide. Never mind that maps of pipelines, cable routes, etc. can be pulled with ease right off the Internet.
We have certainly reached some sort of turning point, a critical crossroads between power, information, and activism, with an uncertain outcome except for one: it is certain that the future will not be merely a seamless extension of the past. Few observers disagree on that, whether speaking of the near-, middle- or long-term. One of the primary actors, Julian Assange, recently stated: “I believe geopolitics will be separated into pre and post cablegate phases.” Carne Ross, a British diplomat, wrote in similar terms: “History may now be dated pre- or post-WikiLeaks.”
But what could be different post-cablegate?
It is widely expected – and reasonably so – that the release by Wikileaks of thousands of US diplomatic cables will have a profound effect on how states communicate both internally and with other states. This global event is also highly likely to alter in important ways existing relationships between digital activists, governments and the news media. How can these changes be studied comparatively, across countries and regions?
I don’t think Wikileaks really accomplishes its purpose. Even if it is somehow making people more aware of their government, it isn’t REALLY. The average person definitely cannot go through gov documents and get anything from it. All they know is what politicians, academics, and the media tells them they should get from it. It’s getting a lot of people in trouble for not doing all that much.
I think that Wikileaks problematizes both our conceptions of media and information, but more about that later. Since officially launched in 2006 (according to Wikipedia) or 2007 (according to its site), the organization has posted a staggering number of leaked documents. Until recently, everyone’s favorite leak, for which it won the 2009 Amnesty International human rights reporting award (New Media) was the 2008 publication of “Kenya: The Cry of Blood – Extrajudicial Killings and Disappearances”, a report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights about police killings in Kenya. According to the Wikileaks website, the leak “swung the vote by 10%. This led to changes in the constitution and the establishment of a more open government”. Since the beginning of 2010, Wikileaks has made four major releases, possibly all from the same leak, of information from various branches of the US government: on 5 April 2010 a video of US soldiers in an Apache helicopter shooting people in an Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad; on 25 July 2010 the “Afghanistan War logs” and on 22 October 2010 the “Iraq War Logs”, both compilations of documents detailing the war and occupation of those countries by the United States military; and beginning on 28 November 2010, what will eventually be a quarter million diplomatic cables from US Embassies around the world.
In recent months there has been considerable discussion about the WikiLeaks phenomenon, and understandably so, given the volume and sensitivity of the documents the website has released. What this discussion has revealed, however, is that the media and government agencies believe there is a single protagonist to be concerned with—something of a James Bond villain, if you will—when in fact the protagonist is something altogether different: an informal network of revolutionary individuals bound by a shared ethic and culture.
Vindictive, politicized, conspiratorial, reckless: one need not agree with WikiLeaks’ modus operandi to acknowledge its service to democracy. Geert Lovink and Patrice Riemens see in WikiLeaks indications of a new culture of exposure beyond the traditional politics of openness and transparency.
Assange said that Wikileaks “practices civil obedience, that is, we are an organization that tries to make the world more civil and act against abusive organizations that are pushing it in the opposite direction.” And a moment later, he clarified that “It is not our goal to achieve a more transparent society; it’s our goal to achieve a more just society.”
This is an important point that gets lost if we focus too much on the techno-utopianism of the original essay, which can credibly be read as too easily equating secrecy — in all its forms — as evil.
Readers should be deeply skeptical of claims that the the NY Times reporting on Iran’s involvement in Iraq based on the Wikileaks documents constitutes some kind of smoking gun about Iran’s involvement in attacks on the U.S. military, or, actually, that the reporting constitutes anything new at all.
WikiRebels – The Documentary
Interprete » If I could have, I would have
wrote an Annual Review of Anthropology on digital media last year. About a month ago, I found out that anyone can download it thanks to a link provided by the ARA, which we are allowed to put on one institutional web page. So go here (and go to the citation for the link) for those who are interested in a way too short review of some of the ethnographic literature on digital media.
Writing the piece left me many psychological wounds and scars, one of which had to do with the fact that I probably overlooked some folks. I have been left out of review type essays and honestly, it sucks. I tried to be as comprehensive as possible: I chose not to massively whittle down the scope (which was an option) and was able to smuggle in more citations than originally allowed and yet I still cut out 200 citations. But in the end I overlooked some folks as I found out about them too late. If I could go back in time, this is who I would include (well there are others but I have chosen these for now).
Assange man of the year in Naples nativity creches | Reuters
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange may be alone in jail in London, but in the traditional Neapolitan Christmas creches he is in good company — with Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
Ideas about the sort of objects that are needed to face the afterlife are indeed most interesting. In traditionally catholic France, it is common to come across portraits of Jesus or the Virgin Mary displayed on tombs. Celebrities can now also be added to the list.
Dr. Michalak noted his research is not comprehensive, but the broad scope of films selected and explored demonstrate that Arabs and Muslims have gone from being generally vilified in cinema to being humanized and respected. “The substantial number of films with positive Arab and Muslim characters is a sign that things are changing. Presumably, we can all agree that negative stereotyping is harmful and that Americans should strive for critical thinking, understanding, tolerance and multi-culturalism.”
There’s something comforting about this story: even Nobel-winning economists procrastinate! Many of us go through life with an array of undone tasks, large and small, nibbling at our conscience. But Akerlof saw the experience, for all its familiarity, as mysterious. He genuinely intended to send the box to his friend, yet, as he wrote, in a paper called “Procrastination and Obedience” (1991), “each morning for over eight months I woke up and decided that the next morning would be the day to send the Stiglitz box.” He was always about to send the box, but the moment to act never arrived. Akerlof, who became one of the central figures in behavioral economics, came to the realization that procrastination might be more than just a bad habit. He argued that it revealed something important about the limits of rational thinking and that it could teach useful lessons about phenomena as diverse as substance abuse and savings habits. Since his essay was published, the study of procrastination has become a significant field in academia, with philosophers, psychologists, and economists all weighing in.
The desire to crown an intelligent, sexy-yet-fashionable lady as the Carrie Bradshaw of the Middle East has been a fierce competition, because, you know, there is nothing more mysterious than the lack of sex and dating in the Middle East.
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani ‘at home’ pictures trigger confusion over her fate
Woman sentenced to death by stoning in Iran is pictured at home with her son – but she may have been filming a confession
On Tuesday the Afghan national women’s soccer team had only two days left to practice before leaving for its first international competition.
If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside without cover, and the cats come to eat it … whose fault is it, the cats’ or the uncovered meat’s? The uncovered meat is the problem. If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred.
So spoke Sheikh Hilali four years ago, an Egyptian-born cleric living in Australia. This little gem of a statement instantly gained worldwide notoriety and became a classic example of Muslim fundamentalist preaching in the West. After receiving a wave of criticism, he backtracked, saying, “This does not mean I condone rape. I condemn rape. Women in our Australian society have the freedom and right to dress as they choose. The duty of man is to avert his glance or walk away.”
But it was too late.
The northern Spanish town of Lleida has become the country’s first to implement a law banning the wearing of face-covering Islamic veils such as burqas in municipal buildings. Mayor Angel Ros says he is proud “that Lleida is the first city in Spain to regulate against something that is
discriminatory against women.”
Amal Ali, a Muslim mother from the Chicago suburbs, sees the fallout from 9/11 through the eyes of her young children.
Norway’s Muslim schoolchildren could soon face a ban on wearing hijabs. The far-Right Progress Party (FrP) is to present its proposal in Parliament today.
Angelina Jolie is known more for being the sexier half of Brangelina and her patchwork family, but her luscious lips and film projects are a close second. The latest controversy regarding the actress’s directorial debut flick in Bosnia is about a Muslim woman.
They call Oklahoma the buckle of the Bible Belt. It’s the state where all 77 counties voted Republican when Barack Obama was elected and where 70.8 percent of the electorate last month approved a “Save Our State Amendment” banning Islamic, or Shariah, law.
Drie jaar na de start van mijn comité voor ex-moslims en het daarop gebaseerde debat, moet ik constateren dat er tot op heden weinig vooruitgang is geboekt in het denken en handelen van de moslims in Nederland.
Insluiten in plaats van uitsluiten. De boodschap van oud-premier Ruud Lubbers aan zijn partij bevat sympathieke elementen. Zaterdag op de viering van het dertigjarig bestaan van het CDA riep hij zijn partijgenoten op met meer nadruk de dialoog aan te gaan met moslims die vanuit hun geloof democratische politiek willen bedrijven.
In 2006 nam Harry Mintjes afscheid als docent godsdienstwetenschap aan de Protestantse Theologische Universiteit. Ter gelegenheid van zijn afscheid werd in Kampen een tweedaags symposium gehouden waarin godsdienstwetenschappers en theologen zich gezamenlijk bogen over de vraag hoe de islam in Nederland er nu uitziet. De resultaten van dit symposium zijn inmiddels gebundeld en bieden een boeiend palet. De artikelen variëren van een portret van de kleine Molukse moslimgemeenschap en het debat rond de positie van moslimvrouwen tot beschouwingen over het gesprek tussen joden, christenen en moslims en het beeldenverbod in de islamitische traditie. Ook is er een viertal artikelen over de islam in Duitsland, Denemarken en Groot-Brittannië.
De begrippen jihad, sharia en taqiyyah hebben tegenwoordig een volledig nieuwe betekenis gekregen die weinig meer van doen hebben met religiewetenschap of islamgeschiedenis.
Een kleine 60% van de Duitsers heeft negatieve gevoelens over moslims. Dat blijkt uit een Europese opiniepeiling van de universiteit van Münster. Ook over Nederland hebben de onderzoekers nieuwe cijfers. En wat blijkt? Nederlanders zijn stukken positiever.
Musulmans_serophobie002.jpgWel ja, serofobie is ook een fobie. Ik kreeg een mail van Merhaba met onderstaande oproep. Doorsturen naar alle moslims die je kent!
Filosofe Marlies ter Borg legde de Bijbel en de Koran naast elkaar en vond veel overeenkomsten. De verhalen over de ark van Noach, Jona die in de walvis komt, en Abraham en zijn zonen komen in beide voor. Maria blijkt in de Koran een intellectuele vrouw die heeft gestudeerd.
“Nederland is nog steeds een progressief land, maar het wordt steeds intoleranter, vooral ten opzichte van moslims.” Dat zegt oud VVD-kamerlid Sam (Oussama) Cherribi in een podcast op de website van de Emory Universiteit, waar Cherribi als hoogleraar werkt. Volgens Cherribi is de islam in Nederland als een ras geconstrueerd. Hij wordt geinterviewd naar aanleiding van het verschijnen van zijn boek ‘ In the House of War’; Dutch islam observed.
In tegenstelling tot wat vaak wordt gedacht betekent het principe tussen de scheiding van kerk en staat in Nederland niet dat de overheid en de publieke ruimte, zoals bij de Franse laïcité, volledig a-religieus zijn. Nederland kent bijvoorbeeld een bede na de troonrede, de tekst “God zij met ons” op de 2 euromunt en het ambtsgebed in sommige gemeenteraden. Een ander misverstand over scheiding van kerk en staat in Nederland is dat het niet mogelijk zou zijn dat religieuze instellingen financiering van de overheid ontvangen. Dat mag in Nederland wel, en diverse religieuze instellingen, zeker christelijke, ontvangen subsidie.
De volgelingen van de Gülenbeweging moeten openheid van zaken geven, stelt Martin van Bruinessen, hoogleraar vergelijkende studie van moderne moslimsamenlevingen aan de Universiteit Utrecht. De Tweede Kamer ontvangt binnenkort het resultaat van zijn onderzoek naar de omstreden beweging. Hij schreef het rapport in opdracht van voormalig integratieminister Eberhard van der Laan naar aanleiding van een NOVA-uitzending over de islamitische indoctrinatie van kinderen op een internaat van Gülen-volgelingen.