Saturday, August 10, 2019

Digital Platforms, Porosity, and Panorama

I published an article in the Platform Surveillance issue of Surveillance & Society back in March, but was so busy at the time that I neglected to post it here. Here is the abstract and link to the full text online:

The concept of porosity, developed by Walter Benjamin and Asja Lacis, is proposed as a useful concept for examining the political, social, and economic impacts of digital platform surveillance on social space. As a means of characterizing and comparing how interconnected spaces are shaped through a diversity of interfaces, porosity bypasses a simplistic distinction between analog and digital technologies without losing sight of the actual material affordances, social and surveillance practices, and politics that these differing and interacting technologies enable. As part of Benjamin’s project of uncovering the tension between the present and the utopian visions that capitalism repeatedly invokes through new technologies, an attention to the politics of porosity can situate the effects of digital platforms within the ongoing history of struggle over the production and experience of urban space.

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