[iDC] The internet that is not one

Sean Cubitt scubitt at unimelb.edu.au
Sun Jul 12 17:18:43 UTC 2009

Funnily enough I was scribbling note son this on a train ride yesterday
while reading Vattimo on nihilism and emancipation, and reflecting on a
not-so-good conference presentation I'd just done. Vattimo says something
like "we have to have a social constru8ctivist concept of history: that we
build our own historical provenance of the situation where we are in order
to make a (non-metaphysical) ethical act". After Latour etc, the "we" is not
wholly human and after everyone else, not wholly individual. Agency is in
networks. So the question is whether there can exist networks
(political-technical-physical) which have sufficient autonomy from The
Network to have ethical agency and/or the capacity for action. Apocalyptic
scenario: TCP/IP and the protocological constrains all possible action.
Glass hlf full scenario: bounded and often ephemeral networks maintain
sufficient autonomy for sufficient time to act politically and/or ethically.
The second is only thinkable if there is not a single internet but a
multiple (network of networks) where the networks, despite integration,
retain their autonomy to some extent. Bad news: many of these incompletely
integrated networks are banks, military, corporate, subscriber-only etc.
Good news: iDC and similar flourishing 'minor' articulations evidence the
capacity of incompletely integrated networks to produce discourse of

BBS and others don;t necessarily run on TCP/IP; different use of layers in
the suite also disctinguishes different zones/activities insode TCP/IP
internet. These quite apart from areas marked off by language or by

Good question!

On 11/07/09 5:57 PM, "Dean, Jodi" <JDEAN at hws.edu> wrote:

> A question for the list (this is a real question that comes out of
> conversations I've had in the last few months):
> Is there one internet?
> Is the internet singular, a unity?
> Are there multiple internets?
> thanks,
> Jodi
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Prof Sean Cubitt
scubitt at unimelb.edu.au
Media and Communications Program
Faculty of Arts
Room 127 John Medley East
The University of Melbourne
Parkville VIC 3010

Tel: + 61 3 8344 3667
Fax:+ 61 3 8344 5494
M: 0448 304 004
Skype: seancubitt

Editor-in-Chief Leonardo Book Series

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