Hacking Cyberspace

Hacking Cyberspace

Hacking Cyberspace

Hacking Cyberspace

Synopsis

In Hacking Cyberspace David J. Gunkel examines the metaphors applied to new technologies, and how those metaphors inform, shape, and drive the implementation of the technology in question. The author explores the metaphorical tropes that have been employed to describe and evaluate recent advances in computer technology, telecommunications systems, and interactive media. Taking the stance that no speech is value-neutral, Gunkel examines such metaphors as "the information superhighway" and "the electronic frontier" for their political and social content, and he develops a critical investigation that not only traces the metaphors' conceptual history, but explicates their implications and consequences for technological development. Through Hacking Cyberspace, David J. Gunkel develops a sophisticated understanding of new technology that takes into account the effect of technoculture's own discursive techniques and maneuvers on the actual form of technological development.

Excerpt

If there is a challenge here for cultural critics, then it might be presented as the obligation to make our knowledge about technoculture into something like a hacker's knowledge, capable of penetrating existing systems of rationality that might otherwise be seen as infallible.

Ross 1991b, 132

Knowledge about cyberspace is shaped and delimited by the questions we ask and the kinds of inquiries in which we engage and are already engaged. Questioning, however, is never objective or neutral. As Martin Heidegger (1962) demonstrated, a question, no matter how carefully articulated, necessarily harbors preconceptions and preunderstandings that direct and regulate the inquiry (24). When we ask, for example, whether cyberspace portends a new world of opportunity that is uninhibited by the limitations of embodiment and physical existence, a technodystopia of alienation and surveillance where digital artifacts supersede lived reality, or something in between these two extremes, our query already affiliates with the terms and conditions of a well-established debate (cf. Critical Art Ensemble 1997; Mattelart 2000) and employs a complex set of assumptions concerning the essence, function, and significance of technology. This network of . . .

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