Mosco—The Digital Sublime

The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace

by Vincent Mosco

[Mosco, Vincent. 2005. The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace. MIT Press.]


  • “computers and the world of what came to be called cyberspace embody and drive important myths about our time. Powered by computer communication, we would,according to the myths, experience an epochal transformation in human experience that would transcend time (the end of history), space (the end of geography), and power (the end of politics)” (2-3).
  • “it is when technologies such as the telephone and the computer cease to be sublime icons of mythology and enter the prosaic world of banality—when they lose their role as sources of utopian visions—that they become important forces for social and economic change” (6).
  • “cyberspace is a mythic space, one that transcends the banal, day-to-day worlds of time, space, and politics to match the “naked truth” of reason with the “dancing truth” of ritual, song, and storytelling (Lozano 1992: 213). Indeed,cyberspace is a central force in the growth of three of the central myths of our time, each linked in the vision of an end point: the end of history, the end of geography, and the end of politics” (13).
  • “the real power of new technologies does not appear during their mythic period, when they are hailed for their ability to bring world peace, renew communities, or end scarcity, history, geography, or politics; rather, their social impact is greatest when technologies become banal—when they literally (as in the case of electricity) or figuratively withdraw into the woodwork” (19).

Annotation Summary for: Mosco – The Digital Sublime_ Myth, Power, and Cyberspace-The MIT Press (2004)

Page 5, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “2004 Massachusetts Institute of Technology”

Page 6, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “1 The Secret of Life 1 2 Myth and Cyberspace 17 3 Cyberspace and the End of History 55 4 Loose Ends: The Death of Distance, the End of Politics 5 When Old Myths Were New: The Ever-Ending Story 6 From Ground Zero to Cyberspace and Back Again 85117141”

Page 14, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Moore’s Law: The processing power of the computer doubles every 18 months. Gore’s Law1: Myths about the Internet double in their distance from reality every 18 months.”

Page 15, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “how many of us recall, through personal experience or reading, that peo- ple once spoke of the Age of Radio as easily as we speak of the Computer Age? Even fewer would know that among the heroes of that earlier age were the Radio Boys—youngsters who lent romance and spirit to the time by building radios, setting up transmitters, and creating networks. Often this was done surreptitiously, contravening patents, copyrights, and other government rules as well as the business plans of big compa- nies. Popular fiction celebrated their exploits. we hardly remember them today, for radio, like its prede- cessors the telegraph and the telephone and like communication media that followed (including broadcast and cable television), entered the realm of the commonplace and the banal.”

Page 15, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 15, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “One of the central points of this book is that computers and theworld of what came to be called cyberspace embody and drive importantmyths about our time. Powered by computer communication, we would,according to the myths, experience an epochal transformation in human”

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “experience that would transcend time (the end of history), space (the end of geography), and power (the end of politics).”

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Useful as it is to recognize the lie in the myth, it is important to state at the outset that myths mean more than falsehoods or cons;”

Page 16, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Myths are stories that animate individuals and societiesby providing paths to transcendence that lift people out of the banalityof everyday life. They offer an entrance to another reality, a reality oncecharacterized by the promise of the sublime. ”

Page 19, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “I will argue that it is when technologies such as the telephone and the computer cease to be sublime icons of mythology and enter the prosaic world of banality—when they lose their role as sources of utopian visions—that they become important forces for social and economic change.”

Page 19, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 20, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “In this book I start with culture and specifically examine the range of ways to think about myth. It is beyond the scope of one book to provide a complete cultural analysis of cyberspace. Rather, I choose to focus here on one important dimension of a cultural analysis—myth—and its appli- cation to computer communication. But, on the epistemological ground- ing of my 1996 book, I eschew determinism to demonstrate how an analysis founded on myth can build a bridge to a political economic understanding, indeed is mutually constituted with political economy. Myth is the starting or entry point to a valuable understanding of com- puter communication, but it leads to, requires, and (particularly as I will demonstrate in the final chapter) is mutually constituted with a political economic perspective.”

Page 20, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Chapter 2 takes up the meaning of myth and examines how cyberspace contributes to the construction of contemporary myths. In large measure it provides a cultural analysis of myth and cyberspace. However, it demon- strates the mutually constitutive relationship between myth and power by examining some of the leading mythmakers from the academic, political, and business worlds and the institutions that support this mythmaking process. The chapter concludes by considering the relationship between”

Page 21, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “myths of cyberspace and other ways of reflecting on and telling stories about it, particularly the connection between myth and metaphor.”

Page 21, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Chapter 3 takes up the connection between myths of cyberspace and one of the central myths of our time: the end of history. The mix of pow- erful new information and communication technologies and widespread support for the belief that we have entered an age marked by radical changes having to do with time, space, and social relations creates a new vision of social life.”

Page 21, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “the end of history.”

Page 21, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Chapter 4 discusses two related myths: the end of geography and the end of politics. These myths promise that, in addition to a radical dis- junction in time, we are participating in radical transformations in space and in social relations.”

Page 21, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “the end of geography”

Page 21, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “the end of politics.”

Page 21, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Chapter 5 shifts from the intellectual sources of cyberspace myths totheir history in the experience of earlier communication and informationtechnologies. It examines popular and intellectual responses to the tele-graph, electricity, telephone, radio, and television. The widely held beliefsthat computer communication is ending history, geography, and politicsare not at all new. Time, space, and politics were also to be radicallytransformed by earlier new technologies. Not only does this demon-strate that our response to computer communication is far from unique;it also documents our remarkable, almost willful, historical amnesia.One generation after another has renewed the belief that, whatever wassaid about earlier technologies, the latest one will fulfill a radical andrevolutionary promise. ”

Page 21, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Chapter 6 concludes the book by building a bridge from the largely cultural analysis of myth to a political economic analysis by concretely examining the political, economic, and social significance of cyberspace. It starts in an increasingly mythic place: “Ground Zero,” the site of the attack on the World Trade Center. But the site was mythic even before the attack. If there ever was a physical location for the birth of the myths of cyberspace, it was here, even more so than in Silicon Valley or any of the many other high-tech centers that claim to be the birthplace of the Information Age. The World Trade Center was constructed as the cen- terpiece of a planning effort that began in the 1950s to transform lower Manhattan into a global center for communication, information, and trade, the international capital of a burgeoning post-industrial world.”

Page 22, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “New York was to be the informational city and the twin towers its icon. Beginning at Ground Zero, this chapter goes on to consider the signifi- cance of what grew from those towers, taking us through the political economic forces that propelled the boom that inspired so much mythic thinking to the bust that, in combination with the physical destruction of the World Trade Center, led some to surmise that the Information Age might be over. The chapter suggests that any such judgments are as prema- ture and shortsighted as visions of the end of history. It ends by return- ing to Ground Zero, where questions about what will be done there mirror questions about the future of cyberspace and call to mind a peren- nial myth of American culture and politics.”

Page 23, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Cyberspace is indeed technological and political, but it is also a mythic space—perhaps even a sacred space in the sense that Mircea Eliade (1959) meant when he referred to places that are repositories of the transcendent.”

Page 23, Stamp (Quote!)

Page 23, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “To be more precise, we can say that cyberspace is mutually constituted out of culture and political economy, out of the interconnected realities of myth and social institution.5”

Page 24, Underline (Red): Content: “William Gibson,”

Page 24, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “‘Cybernetics’—a word derived from ‘kubernetes’, the classical Greek word for the helmsman of a ship—designates the science of steering or managing large systems.”

Page 24, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “‘Cybernetics’”

Page 25, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Gibson’s definition of ‘cyberspace’7 “Cyberspace. A consensual halluci- nation experienced daily by billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being taught mathematical concepts. . . . A Graphic representation of data abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system. Unthinkable complexity. Lines of thought ranged in the nonspace of the mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights, receding. . . .” (ibid.: 51)”

Page 25, Highlight (Yellow): Content: ““Cyberspace.”

Page 25, Underline (Red): Content: “Bruno Latour”

Page 25, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “According to Latour, we insist on under- standing science as natural (that is, as the rational integration of mate- rial forces, including technologies); as politics (the strategic maneuvers of self-interested social actors and forces); or as text (that is, the rhetor- ical strategies that are used to explain and thereby linguistically consti- tute the world).”

Page 25, Note (Orange): We Have Never Been Modern

Page 25, Highlight (Cyan): Content: ” By placing each of these elements in its own box, Latourmaintains, we are able to retain the natural quality of science even as weunderstand that politics and rhetoric play roles. By doing this, accord-ing to Latour, we retain a powerful fiction—sustain a myth, perhaps—that we are distinct from our pre-scientific predecessors. We say we aremodern; Latour disagrees. In making the case that “we have neverbeen modern,” Latour insists that the three ways of seeing—natural,political, and textual—are mutually constitutive, or, perhaps betterput, mutually contaminative. There is no distinctly natural world of sci-ence separate from the political and the rhetorical. There is therefore nodistinctly modern. ”

Page 26, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Latour and his fellow science-studies scholars (Hughes 1983; Pinch 1986) compel us to examine how politics and rhetoric are constitutive of the scientific enterprise.”

Page 26, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “This book applies some of these ideas to the growth of the computer, theInternet, and cyberspace. Specifically, it argues that cyberspace is amythic space, one that transcends the banal, day-to-day worlds of time,space, and politics to match the “naked truth” of reason with the “danc-ing truth” of ritual, song, and storytelling (Lozano 1992: 213). Indeed,cyberspace is a central force in the growth of three of the central mythsof our time, each linked in the vision of an end point: the end of his-tory, the end of geography, and the end of politics.”

Page 26, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 26, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The purpose of the book is to understand these myths in order to develop a deeper appre- ciation of the power and the limitations of computer communication.”

Page 26, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “As we shall see, myths are not just a distortion of reality that requires debunking; they are a form of reality. They give meaning to life, partic- ularly by helping us to understand the seemingly incomprehensible, to cope with problems that are overwhelmingly intractable, and to create in”

Page 27, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “vision or dream what cannot be realized in practice.”

Page 27, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Perhaps the greatest mistake people make about technology is to assume that knowledge of its inner workings can be extrapolated over years to tell us not only where the machine is heading but also where it is taking us. Research has provided some correction to this view by demonstrating that economic, political, and social forces are as important in determining where we are headed as is an understanding of the tech- nology. We now know that culture is also deeply implicated in the mix of influential forces, and that culture, even for us moderns, includes mythology.”

Page 28, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Critically examining myths of cyberspace may help us to loosen the powerful grip of myths of the future on the present. It may lead us to question the naturalized tendency to see the future as the pure extension of logic, technical rationality, and linear progress, and other bulwarks against the primitive forces of instinct and intellectual poverty that have historically weighed against human accomplishment.”

Page 28, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The critique of mythology helps to disturb and subvert the conventional and therefore solid sediment of meaning and common sense that gives cyberspace a normality and indeed a certitude of superiority. This is par- ticularly important now because cyberspace is today’s repository of the future.”

Page 29, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “I would agree with the histo-rian of religion Wendy Doniger (1998) on the need to replace RolandBarthes’s vision of myth as post-political (in essence, what is left after thepolitics is eliminated) with the view of myth as pre-political. Myths canbe viewed as an early step in a process that, when examined with a crit-ical eye, can restore with every critical retelling a political grounding thatmyths appear to leave out. In essence, myths can foreclose politics, canserve to depoliticize speech, but they can also open the door to a restora-tion of politics, to a deepening of political understanding.10 ”

Page 30, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “2 Myth and Cyberspace”

Page 31, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “What is the link between myth and cyberspace?”

Page 31, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The news media, popular culture, and government policy debates are increasingly filled with variations on the theme that society and culture are in the process of a great transformation brought about by the intro- duction of computers and communication technology.”

Page 32, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “This book argues that one cannot understand the place of computer communication technology without taking account of some of the cen- tral myths about the rise of global computer communication systems, particularly those identified with the Internet, the World Wide Web, and cyberspace. It maintains that myths are important both for what they reveal (including a genuine desire for community and democracy) and for what they conceal (including the growing concentration of commu- nication power in a handful of transnational media businesses).”

Page 32, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Focusing on myths about technology, it suggests that by understanding the myths that animated the spread of earlier technologies, such as electrification, broadcasting, and telecommunications systems, we can deepen our under- standing of cyberspace.”

Page 32, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Along the way, the book describes a pattern in the history of technology: the real power of new technologies does not appear during their mythic period, when they are hailed for their ability to bring world peace, renew communities, or end scarcity, history, geog- raphy, or politics; rather, their social impact is greatest when technolo- gies become banal—when they literally (as in the case of electricity) or figuratively withdraw into the woodwork.”

Page 32, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 34, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “In the 1970s, Xerox PARC researchers began to think even more dramatically about the inevitable withdrawal of the computer from the desktop and into a host of old and new devices, including coffeepots, watches, microwave ovens, and copying machines. These researchers saw the computer as growing in power while withdrawing as a presence. This view, what some have called “embodied physicality,” is the unrec-ognized sibling of the more popular notion of virtual reality. The devel-opment of electricity certainly does not precisely match that of thecomputer, but there is sufficient similarity to compel the conclusion thatembodied physicality may prove to be a more potent force for socialchange than the development of virtual worlds. ”

Page 34, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The problem is that virtual reality has more purchase on our mythic consciousness.”

Page 35, Underline (Red): Content: “David Nye”

Page 35, Highlight (Cyan): Content: ” David Nye has called a vision of the “technological sub-lime,” a literal eruption of feeling that briefly overwhelms reason only tobe recontained by it. ”

Page 35, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “According to Nye’s mentor Leo Marx (1964: 207), “the rhetoric of the technological sublime” involves hymns to progress”

Page 35, Underline (Red): Content: “Leo Marx”

Page 36, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “that rise “like froth on a tide of exuberant self-regard sweeping over allmisgivings, problems, and contradictions.” Much of their discussion of thetechnological sublime draws on the classic work of Edmund Burke, whoremarked that the sublime so fills the mind with its object that it cannotentertain any other or apply reason to it.”

Page 37, Highlight (Cyan): Content: ““electrical sublime.” “the scientific sublime.””

Page 37, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Today, cyberspace has become the latest icon of the technological and electronic sublime, praised for its epochal and transcendent characteristics and demonized for the depth of the evil it can conjure.”

Page 38, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Information Superhighway even as the highway myth recedes in power, what Woolgar (2002) calls “cyberbole” continues to influence popular understandings.”

Page 41, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “simply debunking these mythsreflects a limited view, one restricted to the idea that myth simply falsifiesreality. It is undeniably important to demonstrate how myths about cyber-space fall short of reality and ensuing chapters do show that it does notmark the end of history (or even the start of a new age), does not presagethe end of geography (place matters more than ever), nor does it signalthe end of politics (the struggle for power goes on). ”

Page 41, Underline (Red): Content: “Claude Lévi-Strauss”

Page 41, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “myths are stories that help people deal with con- tradictions in social life that can never be fully resolved.”

Page 42, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “as the philosopher Alisdair MacIntyre (1970) concludes, myths are neither true nor false, but living or dead.”

Page 42, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “A myth is alive if it continues to give meaning to human life, if it continues to represent some important part of the collective mentality of a given age, and if it continues to render socially and intellectually tol- erable what would otherwise be experienced as incoherence.”

Page 42, Underline (Red): Content: “Antonio Gramsci”

Page 42, Underline (Red): Content: “Michel Foucault ”

Page 43, Underline (Red): Content: “Roland Barthes,”

Page 43, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The Internet provides the basis for a powerful myth because it goes a long way toward satisfying these characteristics. It is a story about how ever smaller, faster, cheaper, and better computer and communication technologies help to realize, with little effort, those seemingly impossible dreams of democracy and community with practically no pressure on the natural environment.”

Page 44, Underline (Red): Content: “(Turkle”

Page 44, Underline (Red): Content: “Karl Marx”

Page 45, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Cyberspace is not just the space in which myths are enacted; it also con- tributes to mythic thinking today, because it embodies the sense of betwixt and between (or, more formally, what cultural theorists call lim- inality).”

Page 45, Underline (Magenta): Content: “Cyberspace is not just the space in which myths are enacted; it also con- tributes to mythic thinking today, because it embodies the sense of betwixt and between (or, more formally, what cultural theorists call lim- inality).”

Page 45, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “lim-inality)”

Page 46, Underline (Red): Content: “Benedict Anderson”

Page 47, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “what Barthes called inocula- tion or the admission of a little evil into the mythic universe in order to protect against a more substantial attack.”

Page 47, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “inocula- tion”

Page 47, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “there are potholes in the Information Highway. Not everyone has access to the network, nor does every virtual community feel like a neighborhood. Not all information is available and some of it is too expensive for many people. Breaches of privacy take place and some people log on with mis- chief on the mind. Such admissions serve to protect the myth by grant- ing that there are flaws in cyberspace. But the flaws, it is concluded, are well outweighed by the unique potential to overcome time and space with communication.”

Page 48, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The denial of history is central to understanding myth as depoliticized speech because to deny history is to remove from discussion active human agency, the constraints of social structure, and the real world of politics. According to myth, the Information Age transcends politics because it makes power available to everyone and in great abundance.”

Page 49, Underline (Red): Content: “Nicholas Negroponte,”

Page 49, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Nicholas Negroponte, argues for the benefits of dig- its (what computer communication produces and distributes) over atoms (us and the material world) and contends that the new digital technolo- gies are creating a fundamentally new world that we must accommodate. In matter-of-fact prose, he offers a modern prophet’s call to say goodbye to the world of atoms, with its coarse and confining materiality, and wel- comes the digital world, with its infinitely malleable electrons, able to transcend spatial, temporal, and material constraints. Negroponte would be considered a bricoleur—someone who, following Lévi-Strauss’s usage, pulls together the bits and pieces of technology’s narratives, to fashion a mobilizing story for our time:”

Page 52, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “after a century of promises about access to technology, it is more than alittle presumptuous to speak of wiring all the world’s peoples. After all,most have yet to use a telephone”

Page 55, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “In addition to marketing magic, computer companies participate in the contemporary equivalent of the medieval pilgrimage circuit, the trade show.”

Page 58, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “From advertising to trade shows, from demonstration projects to con- ferences, there is a widespread effort to market the magic, to surround computer communication with power, speed, and the promise of freedom.”

Page 58, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “There is nothing new here. Students of the history of technology will recall similar attempts to make electricity a spectacle by lighting up streets”

Page 59, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “and buildings in the downtowns of many cities and towns, turning them into miniature versions of New York’s Great White Way.”

Page 62, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 62, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “This book addresses the myths of cyberspace in two versions myth as a distortion and myth as an attractive vision or template of perception.”

Page 62, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “We persist inbelieving that history, as we know it, is ending—that we are entering anew epoch. We insist on the death of distance, that geography is releas-ing its grip. We see cyberspace as transforming politics, perhaps endingthe banal mobilization of support, one face at a time, introducing anera of unprecedented electronic democracy and virtual community.”

Page 62, Typewriter (Red):

Page 63, Typewriter (Red):

Page 64, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Most of the metaphors that populate the language of cyberspace are lessgrandiose but more firmly established. Six are particularly prominenttoday.”

Page 64, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The Digital Library The Information Highway Electronic Commerce”

Page 65, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Virtual Community Digital Ecology The Narrative Stream”

Page 66, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “These metaphors offer useful visions of how to think about cyberspace but are less than myths because they lack the transcendent and moral force of mythology.19”

Page 68, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “3 Cyberspace and the End of History”

Page 69, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Francis Fukuyama and the End of History”

Page 75, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “From End to Post: Daniel Bell”

Page 83, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “As networks grow they add to the geosphere and biosphere a noosphere, a literal sphere of thought pressing on the earth and its environments, exerting increasing force as it becomes more complex and dense with the arrival of succeeding waves of communication and information tech- nologies.”

Page 83, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “noosphere,”

Page 84, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “It is not too much of a stretch to suggest that cyberspace, when it is more than simply the catchall for what people do with computers, is the noosphere, the space where networks of thought reside.”

Page 92, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The Young Will Lead Us”

Page 96, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Reconciling and Recycling Myth and History”

Page 98, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “4 Loose Ends: The Death of Distance, the End of Politics The Net Negates Geometry (the Euclidean Variety, at Least)”

Page 111, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The End of Politics9”

Page 114, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The Strategic Defense Initiative: A Myth in Three Acts—Epiphany, Annunciation, Rebirth”

Page 118, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “A Magna Carta for the Cyberspace Age”

Page 118, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Progress and Freedom Foundation,”

Page 119, Highlight (Cyan): Content: ““Cyberspace and theAmerican Dream: A Magna Carta for the Knowledge Age.””

Page 127, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Lawrence Lessig’s”

Page 127, Highlight (Cyan): Content: ““code is political””

Page 130, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “5 When Old Myths Were New: The Ever-Ending Story”

Page 131, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “History, geography, and politics ended in the 1850s when the tele-graph was introduced. They ended again a few decades later when elec-trification lit up the cities, but the myths were largely forgotten whenelectricity literally withdrew into the woodwork.”

Page 131, Stamp (Star (Frame, Red))

Page 131, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The end came once more when the telephone brought about a renewal of these myths. But who now refers to our era as The Age of the Telephone? In the 1920s, the arrival of radio brought along its own cast of mythmakers who saw it marking a radical change in time, space and social relations. In the 1950s, television changed the world and then changed it again in the 1960s with the multichannel world of cable television. Is it any wonder that cyberspace was hyped as bringing down the curtain on history, geography, and politics?”

Page 132, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The Telegraph”

Page 134, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Electrification”

Page 139, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The Telephone”

Page 140, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Radio”

Page 145, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Television”

Page 154, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “6 From Ground Zero to Cyberspace and Back Again”

Page 155, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “This chapter starts, as do other chapters, by identifying a general and broadly influential myth of cyberspace, post-industrialism, generally the shift from a goods producing to a service economy; from a modestly to a highly educated, indeed, technologically skilled workforce; and from a society led by elites in finance capital to a more egalitarian society led by knowledge workers.”

Page 155, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “But, it moves from the general myth to its material embodiment in a concrete local setting—New York, particularly lower Manhattan, and, even more specifically, the World Trade Center, arguably the first physical manifestation of the post-industrial ideal.”

Page 155, Underline (Red): Content: “Raymond Williams”

Page 156, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The chapter makes the connection between the world of myth that encased computer communication in a protective bubble and the politi- cal economy of the Internet by focusing on three interrelated trends: the digitization and commodification of communication, corporate integra- tion and concentration in the communication industry, and the deregu- lation of that industry.”

Page 156, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “New York’s World Trade Center was arguably the first material mani- festation of the post-industrial society idea”

Page 156, Underline (Red): Content: “Manuel Castells”

Page 158, Underline (Red): Content: “Michel de Certeau”

Page 159, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Before construction of the World Trade Center, the area it came tooccupy was mainly filled with light manufacturing firms, primarily elec-tronics shops and the businesses serving them, giving the area the infor-mal designation of “Radio Row” or the Electrical District, bounded bythe Wall Street financial area on the east and a thriving port on the southand the west. ”

Page 159, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Radio Row, that “seedy” electrical district, was a major Manhattan employer.”

Page 160, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “One of the leading historians of New York City, Mike Wallace”

Page 160, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “suggests that the loss of this center of the city’s electronics indus-try may very well be one reason why Silicon Valley sprouted in Californiaand not in the city of AT&T and RCA, the city that gave birth to thetelecommunications and broadcasting industries. M”

Page 167, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “order to appreciate the significance of this point, to understand more precisely why urban planners pour their dreams into concrete, it is use- ful to turn to the political economic relationship between digitization and commodification.”

Page 168, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Digitization refers to the transformation of communication, including words, images, motion pictures, and sounds into a common language.”

Page 168, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “Digitization”

Page 168, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “on an analog sys- tem, the voice of a telephone caller creates a series of vibrations whose characteristics are sent over a wire and, provided they are amplified at regular intervals, transmitted to a receiver. A digital system literally trans- lates that voice signal into the familiar code of ones and zeros which have become the common language of electronic communication.”

Page 169, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Digitization takes place along with the process of commodification or the transformation of use to exchange or market value.”

Page 169, Highlight (Yellow): Content: “commodification”

Page 169, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “commer- cial forces deepen and extend the process of digitization because it enables them to expand the commodity form in communication.”

Page 172, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The adoption of a common digital language across the industry is breaking down barri- ers that separated print, broadcasting, telecommunications and the infor- mation technology or computer data sectors.”

Page 173, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “The growing integration of communication sectors into a consolidatedelectronic information and entertainment arena explains much of whythere has been an unprecedented acceleration in mergers and acquisitions.”

Page 176, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN),”

Page 176, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “helps to establish tech- nical standards for the web.”

Page 184, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “cyberspace begins to look some- what different when the starting point is political economy rather than myth.”

Page 184, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Building a bridge from myth to political economy does not discount the former. Far from it, the tensions that political economy creates, however unsettling, enrich what myth teaches.”

Page 184, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “One of these spaces is, as Klein has called it, at the end of the end of history. Specifically, in No Logo (2000) Naomi Klein maintains that the culture of globalization is built on the creation of a branded world.”

Page 185, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “Indeed, from a cultural perspective, globalization might be better viewed as a brand for the world.”

Page 185, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “mythic brands are more thandepoliticized speech. Yes, for some, the Golden Arches and the Swooshserve as powerful stop signs to political conversation and action. But, they can also be prepolitical, the firststep in a process that, when examined with both eyes, can restore, ratherthan deny, with every critical retelling, a political grounding that mythsappear to leave out (Doniger 1998)”

Page 185, Highlight (Cyan): Content: “In essence, myths can end politics, can serve to depoliticize speech, but they can also restore it by providing a rich cultural dimension that deepens political understanding.”

Page 210, Underline (Red): Content: “Anderson, B. R. 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Revised and extended second edition. Verso.”

Page 210, Underline (Red): Content: “Barthes, R. 1972 (orig. 1957). Mythologies. Noonday.”

Page 210, Underline (Red): Content: “Baudrillard, J. 1994. The Illusion of the End. Stanford University Press.”

Page 211, Underline (Red): Content: “Bell, D. 1973. The Coming of a Post-Industrial Society. Basic Books. Bell, D. 1996 (orig. 1976). The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. Basic Books. Bell, D. 1988 (orig. 1960). The End of Ideology. Harvard University Press.”

Page 212, Underline (Red): Content: “Castells, M. 1989. The Informational City. Blackwell. Castells, M. 2001. The Internet Galaxy. Oxford University Press.”

Page 212, Underline (Red): Content: “de Certeau, M. 1985. Practices of space. In M. Blonksy, ed., On Signs. Johns Hopkins University Press.”

Page 213, Underline (Red): Content: “Dyer-Witheford, N. 1999. Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in HighTechnology Capitalism. University of Illinois Press.”

Page 214, Underline (Red): Content: “Foucault, M. 1973. The Order of Things. Random House.”

Page 214, Underline (Red): Content: “Giddens, A. 1979. Central Problems in Social Theory. Macmillan.”

Page 215, Underline (Red): Content: “Gramsci, A. 1971. Selections from the Prison Notebooks. Lawrence and Wishart.”

Page 215, Underline (Red): Content: “Habermas, J. 1987. The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. MIT Press.”

Page 216, Underline (Red): Content: “Haraway, D. 1985. The cyborg manifesto. Socialist Review 80: 65–107.”

Page 217, Underline (Red): Content: “Latour, B. 1993. We Have Never Been Modern. Harvard University Press.”

Page 217, Underline (Red): Content: “Lauria, R., and White, H. M., Jr. 1995. Mythic analogues of the space and the cyberspace: A critical analysis of the U.S. policy for the space and the informa- tion age. Journal of Communication Inquiry 19, no. 2: 64–87.”

Page 217, Underline (Red): Content: “Lessig, L. 1999. Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace. Basic Books.”

Page 217, Underline (Red): Content: “Lévi-Strauss, C. 1987. Anthropology and Myth: Lectures 1951–1982. Blackwell.”

Page 218, Underline (Red): Content: “Lévi-Strauss, C. 1978. Myth and Meaning: Cracking the Code of Culture.University of Toronto Press. Lévi-Strauss, C. 1963. The Structural Study of Myth. In Lévi-Strauss, StructuralAnthropology. Basic Books. ”

Page 218, Underline (Red): Content: “Marx, K. 1973. Grundrisse. Random House.”

Page 219, Underline (Red): Content: “Marx, L. 1964. The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America. Oxford University Presss.”

Page 219, Underline (Red): Content: “McLuhan, M. 1969. Interview. Playboy, March.”

Page 220, Underline (Red): Content: “Negroponte, N. 1995. Being Digital. Knopf. Negroponte, N. 1998. Beyond digital. Wired, December: 288. Negroponte, N., and Hawley, M. 1995. A bill of writes. Wired, May: 224. Nerone, J. 1987. The mythology of the penny press. Critical Studies in Mass”

Page 223, Underline (Red): Content: “Turkle, S. 1995. Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. Simon and Schuster.”

Page 224, Underline (Red): Content: “Williams, R. 1989. Resources of Hope. Verso.”

Page 224, Underline (Red): Content: “Woolgar, S. 2002. Virtual Society. Oxford University Press.”


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