Disorder and the Disinformation Society
The Social Dynamics of Information, Networks and Software
This book is the first general social analysis that seriously considers the daily experience of information disruption and software failure within contemporary Western society. Through an investigation of informationalism, defined as a contemporary form of capitalism, it describes the social processes producing informational disorder. While most social theory sees disorder as secondary, pathological or uninteresting, this book takes disordering processes as central to social life. The book engages with theories of information society which privilege information order, offering a strong counterpoint centred on "disinformation." Disorder and the Disinformation Society offers a practical agenda, arguing that difficulties in producing software are both inherent to the process of developing software and in the social dynamics of informationalism. It outlines the dynamics of software failure as they impinge on of information workers and on daily life, explores why computerized finance has become inherently self-disruptive, asks how digital enclosure and intellectual property create conflicts over cultural creativity and disrupt informational accuracy and scholarship, and reveals how social media can extend, but also distort, the development of social movements.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Information Society and Disorder 1. Disorder and Social Theory 2. Robustness and Order in Theories of the Information Society 3. Computers, Systems, Instability and Failure 4. Networks, Disorder, Unpredictability 5. Disorders of Information 6. Capitalism and Disinformation 7. Software Development 8. Software Disorder and Everyday Life 9. Finance, Crisis and Informationalism 10. Disorders of the Commons, Peer to Peer 11. Information-Disorder in Academia 12. Communication Technology and the Origins of Global Justice Movements. Conclusion: Disinformation Society
Jonathan Paul Marshall is an anthropologist and senior research associate at the University of Technology Sydney.
James Goodman conducts research into social change and global politics and is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Didar Zowghi is Professor of Software Engineering, and the Director of the research centre for Human-Centred Technology Design (HCTD) at the Faculty of Engineering and IT at UTS.
Francesca da Rimini is an Honorary Associate at the University of Technology, Sydney (Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology).
"Disorder and the Disinformation Society is a groundbreaking collective effort. The study shifts our attention from hyped possibilities to the dark side of our excessive information flows. After the digital rush, let's get analytic and study the informational impulse. We can no longer deny the multitudes of failures. As Freud already taught us: it is through the study of disorder that we hold a mirror to society and learn about the laws of society. In order to prevent eternal repetition of the same complaints, let's develop the necessary critical concepts. How will the data catharsis look like? This book is an excellent attempt at that practice."
- Geert Lovink, internet critic, Institute of Network Cultures and European Graduate School
"Rather than considering disorder and disinformation an undesirable by-product of networking, the authors make a convincing case for the persistence of unintended and unplanned consequences of human action—especially as applied to information networks. Provocative, creative, and meticulously researched, this remarkable study changes our understanding of our today’s information society in profound ways. Not to be missed!"
- Manfred B. Steger, Professor of Political Science, University of Hawai’i-Manoa, and author of Globalization: A Very Short Introduction