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The Exploit: A Theory of Networks (Electronic Mediations) Paperback – October 1, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0816650446 ISBN-10: 0816650446

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Product Details

  • Series: Electronic Mediations (Book 21)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816650446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816650446
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,031,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Henry Berry on December 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Authors Galloway and Thacker--with New York University and the Georgia Institute of Technology respectively--pose a dichotomy between networks and sovereignty. Sovereignty is the longtime, historical form of government and society; often described as "hierarchic." Networks, on the other hand as any contemporary person knows, are newer, postmodern, forms of social organization--or topology--and activity. The difference between sovereignty and network is the difference between architecture and biology.

The co-authors take a "more speculative, experimental approach [resulting in] a series of marginal claims" rather than a theory to try to grasp the essential nature and actual effects of networks; all the while recognizing that "the nonhuman quality of networks is precisely what makes them so difficult to grasp". With sovereignty, leaders--i. e., persons--and laws or conventions were recognizable formative elements. With networks on the other hand, there are no permanent nor widely-accepted leaders and no code of law or centuries of convention forming or even governing them. Yet, there are businesses and services such as protocols and institutions such as Microsoft and Google which strongly influence and in some ways determine the presence and activity of networks. The belief that networks, particularly the Internet, are naturally, intentionally, or inevitably egalitarian is misleading.

The author's "speculative" approach carries them to summaries and critiques of philosophers from widely differing ages and with widely differing ideas and even worldviews; among these, Plato and Hobbes, Foucault and Guattari, Baudrillard and Virilio, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ryan on September 5, 2014
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A refreshingly sober look at the socio-political effects of contemporary network technologies, advancing thought along the trajectory established by Deluze's late work on societies of control.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ken on January 20, 2014
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Surely the idea is interesting but the content is nonsense, not very well structured (it talks about protocols for 50 pages and then it defines them), talks about a lot of useless things without getting to the point, there is not a single example that touches ground in the whole book.
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14 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mark J. Tomko on July 26, 2011
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The authors clearly had a great idea, but this book ends up containing a lot of nonsense, bluster, and outright garbage. Too bad: I would have loved to read the book that it promised to be. There are real implications of our increasingly networked society; changes to dynamics of power and control. Unfortunately, the authors are too busy tying themselves in knots of their own psychobabble to sort any of it out.

I don't think that the authors really understand the technology whose implications on society they purport to review. Anyone who's taken a course in computer networking will understand that there are no political implications in the maxim "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send," enshrined in RFC 1122. That is a guideline for implementing a software system and nothing else. One chapter includes a series of "fork bombs", little Perl scripts intended to crash a computer if they're run. They inserted in the text without comment, as a way to make the authors look smart, but any script kiddie could have looked up these little programs on the Internet. Why present them here? Turn to the end of the book and you'll see the authors' own "programming language" full of idiotic constructs that in the end add nothing to the book. Obviously, it's not intended to be implemented anywhere, but it also doesn't further anyone's point to include some Duchampian computer language. How childish.
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The Exploit: A Theory of Networks (Electronic Mediations)
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