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141

From Ground Zero to Cyberspace and Back Again

0
terms
4
notes

Mosco, V. (2005). From Ground Zero to Cyberspace and Back Again. In Mosco, V. The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace. MIT Press, pp. 141-217

156

Digitization takes place along with the process of commodification or the transformation of use to exchange or market value. The expansion of the commodity form provides what amounts to the material embodiment for digitization. It is used first and foremost to expand the commodification of information and entertainment content, enlarge markets in the audiences that take in and make use of digitized communication, and deepen the commodification of labor involved in the production, distribution and exchange of communication. Digitization takes place in the context of powerful commercial forces and also serves the advance the overall process of commodification worldwide. In other words, commercial forces deepen and extend the process of digitization because it enables them to expand the commodity form in communication. From a cultural or mythic perspective, cyberspace may be seen as the end of history, geography, and politics. But from a political economic perspective, cyberspace results from the mutual constitution of digitization and commodification.

Digitization expands the commodification of content by extending opportunities to measure and monitor, package and repackage entertainment and information. [...] Initially, commodification was based on a relatively inflexible system of delivering a batch of channels into the home and having viewers pay for the receiver and for a markup on products advertised over the air. The system did not account for different use of the medium; nor did it make any clear connection between viewing and purchasing. It amounted to a Fordist system of delivering general programming to a mass audience which was marketed to advertisers for a price per thousand viewers. Each step along the way to the digitzation of television has refined the commmodification of content, allowing for the flow to be "captured" or, more precisely, for the commodity to be measured, monitored and packaged in increasingly more specific and customised ways. [...]

really excellent

—p.156 by Vincent Mosco 3 years, 4 months ago

Digitization takes place along with the process of commodification or the transformation of use to exchange or market value. The expansion of the commodity form provides what amounts to the material embodiment for digitization. It is used first and foremost to expand the commodification of information and entertainment content, enlarge markets in the audiences that take in and make use of digitized communication, and deepen the commodification of labor involved in the production, distribution and exchange of communication. Digitization takes place in the context of powerful commercial forces and also serves the advance the overall process of commodification worldwide. In other words, commercial forces deepen and extend the process of digitization because it enables them to expand the commodity form in communication. From a cultural or mythic perspective, cyberspace may be seen as the end of history, geography, and politics. But from a political economic perspective, cyberspace results from the mutual constitution of digitization and commodification.

Digitization expands the commodification of content by extending opportunities to measure and monitor, package and repackage entertainment and information. [...] Initially, commodification was based on a relatively inflexible system of delivering a batch of channels into the home and having viewers pay for the receiver and for a markup on products advertised over the air. The system did not account for different use of the medium; nor did it make any clear connection between viewing and purchasing. It amounted to a Fordist system of delivering general programming to a mass audience which was marketed to advertisers for a price per thousand viewers. Each step along the way to the digitzation of television has refined the commmodification of content, allowing for the flow to be "captured" or, more precisely, for the commodity to be measured, monitored and packaged in increasingly more specific and customised ways. [...]

really excellent

—p.156 by Vincent Mosco 3 years, 4 months ago
162

[...] Almost a century and a half ago, at the birth of the electric sublime, competing telegraph interests established the International Telecommunication Union, a global body made up mainly of government organizations and managed on a one-nation, one-vote basis to set global standards for the new technology. [...]

However, as the number of nations grew, including former colonial societies eager to create standards that would help them expand widespread access to communication technology (and not just the profits of communication companies), conflict grew at the ITU. As a result, core industrial powers, led by the United States, began to consider alternatives. These included, first, political bodies, like Intelsat, a global communication satellite organization whose rules permitted Western control and more recently, private corporations, such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which helps to establish technical standards for the web. [...]

[...] the number of global interests is expanding so that even something as seemingly innocuous as setting a country code for a web address becomes a political question when, to cite one particularly fractious case, it is Palestine petitioning for "p.s"(Clausing 19999). Should ".union" join ".com" on the list of acceptable suffixes, as one public-interest group proposed? Private businesses expect to depoliticize these issues by setting up Western controlled private or only quasi-public standards organizations. But they are actually only displacing tensions and contradictions.

In 2002 ICANN ultimately succeeded in eliminating democratically elected members of its board, but even this neo-liberal stroke does not guarantee smooth functioning (Jesdanum 2002). [...]

fascinating stuff. need to look into this more. i remember when i first thought about how US-dominated the internet is and wondered why

—p.162 by Vincent Mosco 3 years, 2 months ago

[...] Almost a century and a half ago, at the birth of the electric sublime, competing telegraph interests established the International Telecommunication Union, a global body made up mainly of government organizations and managed on a one-nation, one-vote basis to set global standards for the new technology. [...]

However, as the number of nations grew, including former colonial societies eager to create standards that would help them expand widespread access to communication technology (and not just the profits of communication companies), conflict grew at the ITU. As a result, core industrial powers, led by the United States, began to consider alternatives. These included, first, political bodies, like Intelsat, a global communication satellite organization whose rules permitted Western control and more recently, private corporations, such as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which helps to establish technical standards for the web. [...]

[...] the number of global interests is expanding so that even something as seemingly innocuous as setting a country code for a web address becomes a political question when, to cite one particularly fractious case, it is Palestine petitioning for "p.s"(Clausing 19999). Should ".union" join ".com" on the list of acceptable suffixes, as one public-interest group proposed? Private businesses expect to depoliticize these issues by setting up Western controlled private or only quasi-public standards organizations. But they are actually only displacing tensions and contradictions.

In 2002 ICANN ultimately succeeded in eliminating democratically elected members of its board, but even this neo-liberal stroke does not guarantee smooth functioning (Jesdanum 2002). [...]

fascinating stuff. need to look into this more. i remember when i first thought about how US-dominated the internet is and wondered why

—p.162 by Vincent Mosco 3 years, 2 months ago
162

[...] the dominant political tendency today is neo-liberalism, which was founded on the retreat of the state from vital areas of social life, including communication, where the state was once very significantly involved in building infrastructure, establishing technical standards, regulating market access, and providing services. According to neo-liberalism, such functions are best provided by the private sector with minimal state involvement. Specifically, neo-liberalism aims to customize state functions, tailor them to suit business needs, and thereby avoid what its supporters contend is the stalemate created by excessive public demands for state services.

decent description of neoliberalism from one angle. could be useful

—p.162 by Vincent Mosco 3 years, 2 months ago

[...] the dominant political tendency today is neo-liberalism, which was founded on the retreat of the state from vital areas of social life, including communication, where the state was once very significantly involved in building infrastructure, establishing technical standards, regulating market access, and providing services. According to neo-liberalism, such functions are best provided by the private sector with minimal state involvement. Specifically, neo-liberalism aims to customize state functions, tailor them to suit business needs, and thereby avoid what its supporters contend is the stalemate created by excessive public demands for state services.

decent description of neoliberalism from one angle. could be useful

—p.162 by Vincent Mosco 3 years, 2 months ago
171

[...] Nortel's product also reflects a fundamental contradiction besetting the business of cyberspace, i.e., the conflict between he goals of building consumer confidence to turn the Internet and its users into a universal market and commodifying without government intervention whatever moves over the Internet, including personal identity [...]

basically sold consumer internet behaviour tracking software. privacy activists shut it down. its behaviour was totally sensible - it needed to "expand the commodification of its major resource, the Internet"

—p.171 by Vincent Mosco 3 years, 4 months ago

[...] Nortel's product also reflects a fundamental contradiction besetting the business of cyberspace, i.e., the conflict between he goals of building consumer confidence to turn the Internet and its users into a universal market and commodifying without government intervention whatever moves over the Internet, including personal identity [...]

basically sold consumer internet behaviour tracking software. privacy activists shut it down. its behaviour was totally sensible - it needed to "expand the commodification of its major resource, the Internet"

—p.171 by Vincent Mosco 3 years, 4 months ago