Unlike predictions, ‘networks’ are on their way out

Die Verbundenheit der Dinge. Eine Kulturgeschichte der Netze und Netzwerke

“Unlike predictions, ‘networks’ are on their way out. The reason for this is the unprecedented concentration of money, power, and infrastructures in the hands of a few monopoly players. Instead of ‘social networks’ we speak of ‘social media’, and that is no coincidence. In fact, ‘network theory’ has followed this trend for some time and has been in relative decline for longer than we might be aware. We can consider the 1990s the golden period of network theory, dominated by a scientific-mathematical method (Barabasi, Watts) and also a social science approach (Castells). Since the crisis of the rhizomatic and productivist Deleuze and the subsequent rise of ‘dark Deleuze’ (Culp), the question has become: why connect, if machines will connect us regardless?. The reason for this is the unprecedented concentration of money, power, and infrastructures in the hands of a few monopoly players. Instead of ‘social networks’ we speak of ‘social media’, and that is no coincidence. In fact, ‘network theory’ has followed this trend for some time and has been in relative decline for longer than we might be aware. We can consider the 1990s the golden period of network theory, dominated by a scientific-mathematical method (Barabasi, Watts) and also a social science approach (Castells). Since the crisis of the rhizomatic and productivist Deleuze and the subsequent rise of ‘dark Deleuze’ (Culp), the question has become: why connect, if machines will connect us regardless?”

A philosophy of weaving the web: An interview with media theorist Sebastian Giessmann

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