Communication, Power and Counter-power in the Network Society 2007
Manuel Castells wrote substantiated theories to demonstrate how technology based communication influences, forms and defines societal structures and associations, “network society”. His opinions are strengthened through written evidence and verifiable events that shows network media as the societal platform that commands, controls people, their alliances, governments and business.
The article would probably look different though, if it was written today, in the era of Trump, where the media is a very important tool to inform the public about what is really happening. For example, I just read an article in the German news magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ which analyzed one of Trump’s recent speeches about climate change and revealed the many wrong statements in his speech. Free media is the most important tool in a democracy. The author also writes that there is an increasing distrust in the media. I think, seriously, that this is very different in Germany.
Castells linked the international political crisis of authenticity to media, suggested “mass self-communication” via the internet and wireless networks allows resistance, opposition and resultant social movements to organize, strengthen and operate. Corporate media and political factions have followed populous examples.
Politics seeks to influence, through staged media messages, each with adapted language and presentation methods, evincing the “cascading activation” theory where media abets political policy and politics constructs media content and “indexing”.
We have seen in the Third Reich what happens when a system controls the media, stages media settings and see it currently in countries like Turkey.
Scandal politics weakens trust, feeds contempt which alters power structures. Castells cited examples of political and journalistic practices prompted by public distrust. Protest through pervasive, global mass self-communication by individuals empowered affects change.
Having grown up in Germany after WWII, we Germans have come to appreciate the incredible importance of a free media. During the past decade, there has been a dramatic raise in so called fake news, the media and individuals launching wrong news. Trump as we can see uses this term to influence people to distrust media. This is very dangerous. People need to be able to trust the media as a tool of information from a different source than the government who might be misleading the people.
Violence, Mourning, Politics
Studies in Gender and Sexuality 4(1):9–37, 2003
Judith Butler, Ph.D.
Judith Butler’s thesis links an interpersonal conception of the self to an ethics of nonviolence and restructured politics of humanizing consequences. She suggests that nonviolence can and should evolve from the practice of mourning. She asked “who counts as human? “, “what makes for a grievable life?”, associating global violence, how lives are rated as valuable and grievable. Mourning contributes ways to altering community and international interactions pertaining to human vulnerability. Military functions to de-realize loss, which challenges human connection. Butler says the practice of mourning can and should result in nonviolence, humanizing requires the ethics of nonviolence. Because of current politics, she explained, people are differentially grieved, equable mourning expands the concept of being human. She asserted people are complicit through vulnerability to loss, with the associated task of mourning.
Butler discusses Freud’s conflicting theories, stated that grieving allows change and transformation and that incorporation, originally associated with melancholia, was essential to the task of mourning. Freud reminded that when we lose someone, we do not always know what it is in that person that has been lost.
Butler conceived violence as an exploitation of bodies outside ourselves and for one another. She questioned if this is a normative reorientation for politics, where mourning, dramatic for social movements’ losses, a means to secure self defense are limited. Butler suggested mindfulness of this vulnerability can be the basis of non-military political solutions, as denial of vulnerability can be the basis for war.
Exclusion from humanity questions reality, the relation between violence and “unreal” lives.
When lives become publicly grievable (obituaries), Butler contended, they are icons for national self recognition, nation building. When death is ungrievable, discourse is unintelligible.
(Violence inflicted is selectively in public view, Butler observed. She considered violent trauma to be an opportunity to establish egalitarian international ties through the experience of losing, mourning sovereign entitlement, resulting in transformation, rearticulating democratic political culture. She described feminist conversion, a rational for military action, feminism as a trope to impose values on cultural contexts. She probed for feminists’ response to vulnerability to violence, observed its cost, how aggression forms and reforms. She stated there is a denial of vulnerability, called for restraint, as socially constituted women become violent. She suggested vulnerability must be perceived and recognised as an ethical encounter, a precondition for humanization, a reciprocal exchange, a model for agency and intelligibility. Butler declared that attachment is crucial to survival. She stipulated we encounter one another, break up and yield, gain knowledge of the other, of the self through disorientation and loss and renewal.)
Engaging Anthropology: An Auto- Ethnographic Approach 2007.
Chapter 3, “Reluctantly Engaged”
Anthropologist Shahram Khosravi wrote an auto-ethongraphy (personal experiences injected into ethnographic writing) and linked his world involvements as migrant, activist and public intellectual in the social context of and between Sweden and human world experiences. His narratives utilized his personal experiences, connected his origins, decades as Iranian nomad (ashayer) an ethnic minority to thirty years as Swedish immigrant (invandrare), both socio-political constructs. He describes the stigmatisation of both these nouns given to him by the authorities of the relevant country. His constant negotiation and confrontation with majority groups resulted in his public political engagement. He says that the geography and the history that have formed his life have left him with no other option but to be politically engaged and that if he is not dealing with racism and discrimination in Europe, then he deals with vulnerabilities, insecurities and human tragedies in Iran. The gap between “unfittingness” and “non-belongingness” of the nomad / migrant, Khosravi identified as the place of politics, where those that embody the gap, challenges and occupies, participates in change. The aim of his writing is to link and to connect human experiences.
Khosravi explained his initial political involvement was the result of being shot by a racist. Instead of being a debate participant, his “victimhood” became an object of debate. Further, a journalist altered facts to objectify him as a stereotype. Over years, his scholarly opinion about migration was supplanted. His “empirical example for my colleagues’ theoretical input” and the unqualified subject of his “qualified” colleagues mitigated Khosravi’s acceptance. Public perception of his body and accent disqualified him as Swede.
Khosravi contributed to policy-relevant anthropology, provided knowledge and practical solutions for decision makers. Conflict occurred because activist associates interpreted this work as a collaboration with authorities. Migrants felt contradicted. Colleagues criticized him for jeopardizing objectivity.
Although he remains at risk through activism and as public intellectual, Khosravi, “storyteller who integrated individual experiences into the collective ones”, he focused on what is between subjectivity and the objective world, co-participation to connect human experiences. He says that his activism did not only help other people and gave a voice to otherwise voiceless people, advocates vulnerable people, first of all his public engagement would have helped him.