The Physiognomy of Dispersed Power

MIT Press
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Leonardo Eelectronic Almanac (LEA), 2009, 16 (4-5), pp. 1 - 21
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The web of post-modern power appears nomadic, elusive and always elsewhere. Like our online presences, it has no obvious boundaries and appears as spirit-like, a magic life haunting the net and the world. Government becomes liminal: 'Liminal identities are neither here nor there, they are betwixt and between the positions assigned by law, custom and ceremonial' to quote Victor Turner. This liminality has changed the balance of power between the corporate and non-corporate sectors, however this does not mean that power is straightforward. When everything is interlinked through information technology then exercises of power may even increase confusion and undermine the bases or legitimacy of that power. Modes of ordering can produce perceived disorder. Knowledge of the system becomes divination and trapped in magic. It is suggested that an awareness of this, and focusing on contradiction, or oscillation is more useful than focusing on simplicity.
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