Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Digital Formations

Paul B Hartzog has a post on Saskia Sassen's recent book -Digital Formations: IT and New Architectures in the Global Realm (Edited by Robert Latham and Saskia Sassen)

Computer-centered networks and technologies are reshaping social relations and constituting new social domains on a global scale, from virtually borderless electronic markets and Internet-based large-scale conversations to worldwide open source software development communities, transnational corporate production systems, and the global knowledge-arenas associated with NGO networks. This book explores how such “digital formations” emerge from the ever-changing intersection of computer-centered technologies and the broad range of social contexts that underlie much of what happens in cyberspace.

Paul adds to this by commenting:
The networks of social, political, and economic governance that undergird the network age, are, as Latour says “local at all points” insofar as the nation state and other hierarchical legacy institutions of the industrial era no longer serve as intermediaries who mediate transnational connectivity. Panarchy is neither top-down nor bottom-up, because it is amorphous and polycentric, but some parts can be more concentrated, denser, than others, and Sassen has identified cities as one of the sites of interest, and informal, seemingly apolitical, motions as key emergent phenomena worthy of further investigation.

Digital formations are the mediators of connectivity, and urban spaces will most likely be the experimental nodes for this transition. Will cities always be cities?

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