Tuesday, June 26, 2007

...by Siva Vaidhyanathan

Anarchist in the Library, by Siva Vaidhyanathan

The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control Is Hacking the Real World


Remote Control: The Rise of Electronic Cultural Policy by: Siva Vaidhyanathan, New York University

Since the early 1990s, the United States has been formulating, executing, and imposing a form of "electronic cultural policy." This phrase means two things: a state-generated setof policies to encourage or mandate design standards for electronic devices and dictate a particular set of cultural choices; and the cultural choices themselves, which have been embedded in the design and software of electronic goods. The goal of electronic cultural policy has been to encourage and enable "remote control," shifting decisions over the use of content from the user to the vendor. The intended macro effects of such micro policies are antidemocratic. Their potential has created the possibility of a whole new set of forms of cultural domination by a handful of powerful global institutions. Yet so far, the actual consequences of these policies have been different from those intended, igniting activism and disobedience on a global scale.


2006 - Vaidhyanathan Receives Griffiths Research Award for The Anarchist in the Library


The Anarchist in the Coffee House: A Brief Consideration of Local Culture, the Free Culture Movement, and Prospects for a Global Public Sphere, By Siva Vaidhyanathan

The global network of networks that President George W. Bush calls “the Internets” represents the first major communicative revolution since the publication in 1962 of Jürgen Habermas’ influential historical work, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. In that work Habermas described a moment in the social and political history of Europe in which a rising bourgeoisies was able to gather in salons and cafes to discuss matters of public concern. The public sphere represented a set of sites and conventions in the 18th century in which (almost exclusively male) members of the bourgeoisies could forge a third space to mediate between domestic concerns and matters of state. It was a social phenomenon enabled by a communicative revolution: the spread of literacy and the rise of cheap printing in Europe. Habermas asserts that such a space had not existed in Europe in a strong form before the 18th century and that by the end of the 19th century it quickly underwent some profound changes. The democratic revolutions in the United States and France, parliamentary reform efforts in England, and the unsteady lurches toward republics in Germany and other parts of Europe eventually codified many of the democratic aspirations of the public sphere: openness, inclusiveness, and fairness. I use the word “revolution”cautiously. It is far too early in the 20-year history of the Internet to assess its effects in a balanced and sober manner. Hype and fear still dominate the discussions of the effects of the Internet on culture, societies, politics, and economics. In addition, the Internet hype may have distracted scholars from another revolution. I believe that the proliferation of the magnetic cassette tape and player in the 1970s has had a more profound effect on daily life in all corners of the Earth than the Internet has so far. ...

Hey, thanks for posting this stuff.

-- Sivago
Hi Siva!

What a nice surprise. I was trying to mooch your book anarchy in the library from http://bookmooch.com. It was from someone in Belgium. Well, he wouldn't send it to me, he said he only sends out books to other countries when they're hard to get in the US...He said yours is not hard to get..so...I'm going to buy my own copy today....

Thanks for popping in.. :)
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