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Summarize (a minimum of 300 words) the central points argued by R. Kahn & D. M. Kellner, “Oppositional Politics and the Internet” on “A critical/Reconstructive Approach” to new forms of global communication, technopolitics, and Internet activism. (Durham & Kellner, Ch. 43/Lecture Notes)

TExtbook Link

https://we.riseup.net/assets/102142/appadurai.pdf

LECTURE NOTES

Richard Kahn and Douglas Kellner propose that there are several possibilities for technopolitcs in the “Internet Age” which should be evaluated from a critical reconstructive approach in order to develop a better understanding for new forms of social movements. In their article “Oppositional Politics and the Internet: A Critical/Reconstructive Approach” they argue “that the continued growth of Internet, both as a form of mainstream media and as a tool for organizing democratic social interactions, requires that Internet politics be re-theorized from a standpoint that is both critical and reconstructive” (https://pages.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/essays/oppositionalpoliticstechnology.pdf).

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Networks of Outrage and Hope is an exploration of the new forms of social movements and protests that are erupting in the world today, from the Arab uprisings to the indignadas movement in Spain, from the Occupy Wall Street movement to the social protests in Turkey, Brazil and elsewhere. While these and similar social movements differ in many important ways, there is one thing they share in common: they are all interwoven inextricably with the creation of autonomous communication networks supported by the Internet and wireless communication. In this new edition of his timely and important book, Manuel Castells examines the social, cultural and political roots of these new social movements, studies their innovative forms of self-organization, assesses the precise role of technology in the dynamics of the movements, suggests the reasons for the support they have found in large segments of society, and probes their capacity to induce political change by influencing people’s minds. (https://books.google.com/books/about/Networks_of_Outrage_and_Hope.html?id=ETHOCQAAQBAJ) (Links to an external site.)

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In “A Network Theory of Power”, Manuel Castells explains power and its different forms, in addition to counterpower, in the network society as follows:

Power in the network society is exercised through networks. There are four different forms of power under these social and technological conditions:

1. Networking Power: the power of the actors and organizations included in the
networks that constitute the core of the global network society over human
collectives and individuals who are not included in these global networks.

2. Network Power: the power resulting from the standards required to coordinate
social interaction in the networks. In this case, power is exercised not by exclusion
from the networks but by the imposition of the rules of inclusion.

3. Networked Power: the power of social actors over other social actors in the network. The forms and processes of networked power are specific to each network.

4. Network-making Power: the power to program specific networks according to the interests and values of the programmers, and the power to switch different networks following the strategic alliances between the dominant actors of various networks.

Counterpower is exercised in the network society by fighting to change the programs of specific networks and by the effort to disrupt the switches that reflect dominant interests and replace them with alternative switches between networks. Actors are humans, but humans are organized in networks. Human networks act on networks via the programming and switching of organizational networks. In the network society, power and counterpower aim fundamentally at influencing the neural networks in the human mind by using mass communication networks and mass self-communication networks.

… my central argument, which is three-fold:
1. As stated at the outset of this article, power is constructed around multidimensional networks programmed in each domain of human activity. But all networks of power exercise their power by influencing the human mind predominantly (but not solely) through multimedia networks of mass
communication. Thus, communication networks are the fundamental networks of power making in society.

2. Networks of power in various domains of human activity are networked among themselves; they do not merge. Instead, they engage in strategies of partnership and competition, practicing cooperation and competition simultaneously by forming ad hoc networks around specific projects
and by changing partners, depending on their interests in each context and in each moment in time.

3. The network of power constructed around the state and the political system does play a fundamental role in the overall networking of power.
(International Journal of Communication 5 (2011), 773–787)

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