Mark Poster - Information Please: Culture and Politics in the Age of Digital Machines - Duke University Press, Usa, 2006


Information Please advances the ongoing critical project of the media scholar Mark Poster: theorizing the social and cultural effects of electronically mediated information. In this book Poster conceptualizes a new relation of humans to information machines, a relation that avoids privileging either the human or the machine but instead focuses on the structures of their interactions. Synthesizing a broad range of critical theory, he explores how texts, images, and sounds are made different when they are mediated by information machines, how this difference affects individuals as well as social and political formations, and how it creates opportunities for progressive change.
Poster’s critique develops through a series of lively studies. Analyzing the appearance ofSesame Street’s Bert next to Osama Bin Laden in a New York Times news photo, he examines the political repercussions of this Internet “hoax” as well as the unlimited opportunities that Internet technology presents for the appropriation and alteration of information. He considers the implications of open-source licensing agreements, online personas, the sudden rise of and interest in identity theft, peer-to-peer file sharing, and more. Focusing explicitly on theory, he reflects on the limitations of critical concepts developed before the emergence of new media, particularly globally networked digital communications, and he argues that, contrary to the assertions of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, new media do not necessarily reproduce neoimperialisms. Urging a rethinking of assumptions ingrained during the dominance of broadcast media, Poster charts new directions for work on politics and digital culture.

About The Author(s)

Mark Poster is Professor of History and of Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine. His many books include What’s the Matter with the Internet?; Cultural History and Postmodernity; The Second Media Age; and The Mode of Information.

Table of contents:
Introduction  1
I. Global Politics and New Media  
1. Perfect Transmissions: Evil Bert laden  9
2. Postcolonial Theory and Global Media  26
3. The Information Empire  46
4. Citizens, Digital Media, and Globalization  67
II. The Culture of the Digital Self  
5. Identity Theft and Media  87
6. The Aesthetics of Distracting Media  116
7. The Good, the Bad, and the Virtual  139
8. Psychoanalysis, the Body, and Information Machines  161
III. Digital Commodities in Everyday Life  
9. Who Controls Digital Culture?  185
10. Everyday (Virtual) Life  211
11. Consumers, Users and Digital Commodities  231
12. Future Advertising: Dick’s Ubik and the Digital Ad  
Conclusion  267
Notes  269
References  281
Index  299

“Engaging, informative, and thoroughly enjoyable, Information Please is a tour de force in its clear articulation of a coherent approach to the spectrum of issues arising from the penetration of information technology into every aspect of human life, from questions of global politics to the construction and protection of identities and selves in the context of digital media.”—Tim Lenoir, Kimberly J. Jenkins Professor of New Technologies and Society, Duke University