Cyberpower: The Culture and Politics of Cyberspace and the Internet

By Tim Jordan | Go to book overview

Chapter 7

Cyberpower

Key concepts

Cyberpower

Cyberpower is the form of power that structures culture and politics in cyberspace and on the Internet. It consists of three interrelated regions: the individual, the social and the imaginary. Cyberpower of the individual consists of avatars, virtual hierarchies and informational space and results in cyberpolitics. Power here appears as the possession of individuals. Cyberpower of the social is structured by the technopower spiral and the informational space of flows and results in the virtual elite. Power here appears as forms of domination. Cyberpower of the imaginary consists of the utopia and dystopia that make up the virtual imaginary. Power here appears as the constituent of social order. All three regions are needed to map cyberpower in total and no region is dominant over any other.


Introduction

Power is the condition and limit of politics, culture and authority. Power seeps through and around all forms of politics and subjectivity, at times bringing opposites into conflict in a way that reinforces the fundamental flow of power, just as the opposition between Barlow’s mysticism and Haraway’s materialism reinforces the heaven in cyberspace’s imaginary. Power concerns not immediately obvious forms of politics, culture and authority but the structures that condition and limit these three. Power is pre- and post-politics, pre- and post-culture and pre- and post-authority. Cyberpower reveals the underlying workings of lives, societies and dreams in cyberspace. A certain complex form of power can now be seen careering through the virtual lands and it explains why conflict and consensus tend to occur around certain distinctive issues. All that remains to complete the definition of cyberpower is to link its three levels together and outline the outstanding, overarching issue of politics, culture and authority that results from cyberpower. To do this the three levels will first be summarised and then their relations established.

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