© 2017 – Routledge
This book examines the ways digital networks facilitate new dissemination models for information, aesthetic texts, and amateur media by tracing the proliferation of "viral structures." A viral structure can be a text, video, internet joke, computer virus, game, blog post, or technological platform that represents or relies upon a paradigm of infectiousness, i.e. operation outside of control structures, obscured paths of transmission, and an engagement in production and reproduction via unconventional means. Here Knight examines how viral structures are affected by, or can affect, the relationship between powerful institutions and the subjects of network society, arguing that though the viral structure opens up space for participation by media makers from underrepresented groups, the disruptive possibilities of this space are tempered by the pre-existing media models of control society. Methodologically, she combines close reading of texts with analysis of data patterns. Chapters two through four have accompanying digital companions and invite the reader to engage with the book’s materials.
Introduction 1. Strange Signal: A Theory of the Viral Structure 2. Mutating Media: Transmission of the Ring Virus 3. The Work of the Viral Structure in the Age of Networked Transmission 4. Making Viral Structures and Counterpublics