My 3d Tchotchke

Two Ways to Confuse Your Audience, A Guide, by Kyle D. Stedman, PhD:

  1. Use big-theory words over and over without tying them to anything that we can see or touch.
  2. Carefully compose a pastiche of sources, meanings, and ideas, leaving it somewhat up to the audience to put the pieces together, resulting in a lot of meanings that are all in the same key, even if no one self-composed exactly the same mental song.
    • Corollary to 2: This may result in not so much confusion as pleasure” (2015).

So, this is my tchotchke.  Quite clearly, I’m reducing Network Society vis-a-vis Castells down to its most efficient form-factor: the combination of cultures, information, and systems of capital in what I referred to in-class as the “network fire triangle.”

3d Model

The notion of a fire triangle is that you can reduce a fire down to three primary factors: an ignition source, a fuel, and an environment conducive to sustained flame (typically labelled as “oxygen;” though chemically you could have alternative atmospheres, one would suppose that to be an overly-specialized argument).

Fire Triangle (illustration from Wikimedia Commons, Sharealike license)
Fire Triangle (illustration from Wikimedia Commons, Sharealike license)

The argument, then, that my tchotchke makes is that a global “network” society depends upon three factors – a “fuel” of information, an “atmosphere” of cultures which are conducive to networking, and an “ignition source” of capitalism.  Without these three factors, network society would not functionally be possible.

Additionally, one might note that this argument is inherently pejorative by design – you don’t actually want capitalism to be at the core of a technologically-driven process in almost any model, since to have that would be to acknowledge the functional foundation of Castells’ world view is The Leviathan of technoscientism and technofuturism.

P.S.  Boy, the “society” of the network sure is violently impaling the Earth while representing itself (with those little flower stickers) as implicitly pro-environmental, isn’t it?  Surely that wasn’t intentional!


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