I’ve been busy reviewing and replanning my dissertation project - only five weeks to go until hand-in! I’ve cut a lot out since my proposal last year, tightening my focus and shortening my reading lists. My four papers now look something like this…

  • Who Governs in a Networked Society (final draft complete) - My first chapter is concerned with the depoliticisation of government and the politicisation of the social world in a global networked society. In this chapter I explore the networked society thesis (Giddens, Castells) contra globalisation. I draw on Virilio’s real/virtual city dichotomy in order to move towards Hardt & Negri Empire. I am interested in the post-material politics of NSM/NGO and the relationship between these organisations and the de/politicisation in networked society. I conclude with a discussion about the imagination and the affective dimension of the political.
  • Free, Libre and Radically Open Communities (in draft) - This paper will consider the hacker identity and hacker social and cultural relations. In exploring this subjects ontology and its relationships with others I will also question the understanding of purpose, of telos, by this subjectivity. Freedom and openness are two central concepts in hackerism and the contemporary social movements it has influenced. My research will lead me to examine critically the political philosophy of hackerism in order to reveal the meaning in these emerging redefinitions of freedom and openness and the challenge they present to the corresponding dominant liberal notions of the same terms.
  • Communicative Capitalism and F/los - In my third paper I will explore the political economy of contemporary communicative capitalism and f/los. Here I will draw on the networked society ideas from my first chapter and the hacker work ethic from my second. I am conscious of a dynamic between pragmatism and idealism and how this conditions political economy. I am searching for the `positive possibility' of f/los and how this, in transmission, may effect our contemporary order.
  • A New Politics of Openness? - I am not quite sure how this chapter will fit together yet. I am interested in how the hacker idea of freedom, `what kind of rules make possible a good society that is good for the people in it' (Stallman) is be realised. McKenzie Wark, author of `A Hacker Manifesto', in his paper `Escape from the Dual Empire' wrote “020. The search for a counter strategy to ‘globalization’, if it does not look backwards to the reinstatement of the topographic boundaries of a lost age, looks forward instead to a new topography, in which the topical might hold the power of the digital, rather than being held within its thrall.” I think that the hacker ethic and the open political models of f/los are no longer emergent, existing at the frontiers of our networked society. I contend that they already among us and are radically altering established politics.

I’ve just sent the draft of my first paper to my supervisor and I’ve yet to run it past my Chief Editor (thanks B). I’ll post a PDF when its been reviewed and edited.