Can we apply Lacan’s discussions of topology in psychoanalysis to social and cultural considerations?
"The time for petty politics is past: the very next century will bring with it the struggle for mastery over the whole earth" Friedrich Nietzsche 1886.
Once our authoritarian technics consolidates its powers, with the aid of new forms of mass control, its panoply of tranquilizers and sedatives and aphrodisiacs, could democracy in any form survive? -- Lewis Mumford
<ul><li>Myths and Realities of Globalisation </li></ul><ul><li>Panopticon </li></ul><ul><li>Surveillance (Public encryption) </li></ul><ul><li>Telecommunications Bill 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>Cyber Activism (Slapper Software) </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic Civil Disobedience </li></ul><ul><li>Artworks – Boat people.org, pvi collective </li></ul>
<ul><li>Habermas, i.e., communicative action </li></ul><ul><li>Communicative action and criticism by Foucault. </li></ul><ul><li>The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) </li></ul><ul><li>The public sphere </li></ul><ul><li>What is meant by democracy? </li></ul><ul><li>Can the Internet help promote democracy? </li></ul><ul><li>The ways advertisements use the city to evoke power and how it erodes civil liberties. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The ways electronic technologies infiltrate our private space. How does this impact on democratic rights, or can electronic technologies be used to empower? </li></ul><ul><li>Utopian / dystopian views of the technology. </li></ul><ul><li>Being mindful of governmental control and governance laws that diminish the ability of the Internet to support democracy effectively. </li></ul><ul><li>Systemic colonisation </li></ul><ul><li>Unequal division of wealth. </li></ul>
<ul><li>Information Superhighway will not balance the world into a productive global village, but provide further fragmentation and marginalisation. As Will Hutton asserts, there is a massive deregulation of the labour market and the deregulation in the world of finance is transforming the way we live. </li></ul><ul><li>The movement of money across the world in seconds, gives to the people in financial sectors enormous power, becoming much more powerful than the national authorities, than nation states. Where the wealthy minority are sequestered from the majority world poor. </li></ul><ul><li>Community / (Virtual Community) / Escapism </li></ul><ul><li>The body and virtuality Cyborg / Avatar </li></ul><ul><li>Personal Identity / multiple identities </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual construction / commmodification </li></ul><ul><li>The Internet: Communications, commerce and entertainment </li></ul>
It is this (arguably undemocratic) cultural context of globalisation with the decentralisation of power, mass mobilisation of peoples, demise of the public space (to name only a few features) that is drastically changing our lives. We hear the familiar utopian discourses for the information technologies contrasted with the harsh reality of systems of power and domination that squash these aspirations of democracy, freedom of speech and the betterment of all societies. As Howard Rheingold (2000, p. 298) warns, “Whoever gains the political edge on this technology will be able to use this technology to consolidate power”.
<ul><li>There are many problems with the Internet such as; standardised information, limited interactivity, and its’ primary concern being one of consumption. These issues (to name only a few), attribute to the Internet becoming and to a certain degree has already become another colonised medium, however Salter (2003, p.137) is hopeful when he states: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This process as grand as it might seem, is not predetermined. It is up to citizens, representatives, and political, social, and cultural movements to stake their own claims on the frontier and ensure they remain protected as necessary. </li></ul></ul>
As Lee Salter suggests, “if one rejects the view that the Internet can be thought of as a public sphere in itself, we might come to regard it as a supporting foundation upon which public spheres can be built”. So not to look at the Internet as a totalising space, but as a tool that can be utilised to re-establish community groups and reinvigorate the public sphere. This is what Habermas means by the lifeworld and communicative action.
Now we must politicize cyberspace by creating possibilities for new relations of force, that change the face of power, "showing its potentialities no less than its dangers". To say that cyberspace is just a residue of the late capitalist economy…or on the other hand, if we consider cyberspace as a flow of unrestricted desires or unconscious, where one can build a cyber-society without power and domination, we put ourselves into another trap: it implies that to "avoid reality of power" (which is bad and polluted) is to "get free" from it in virtual reality, which is good and innocent, that corresponds to libertarian utopia. Thus, sooner we understand that we cannot "avoid" power relations in cyberspace, sooner we start using it for our purposes. We must try and reduce the potential of domination implied in power relations, and employ it as a means for inventing new forms. Irina Aristarkhova http://www.heise.de/tp/english/pop/topic_3/4126/1.html#14