Chapter II Towards a universal instrument of coordination - 15000 words

[]{#_Toc520888960 .anchor}Towards a universal instrument of coordination

“The Author of Nature writes down the equations, then fixes the fundamental constants, and finally chooses a series of boundary conditions.” (Hacking, 1990, p.56)

Table of Contents

Towards a universal instrument of coordination 2

Table of Contents 3

Table of Figures 4

Introduction 5

I. A brief history of the present 5

II. Enumeration, simplification and universalism 10

II.I The Science of Muddling Through: Or from Locals to Universals 11

II.II. What do we loose through enumeration and economical development 12

III. Governmentality or science of objectification 13

IV. Overview on Knowledge and information 15

Conclusion 25

References 27

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Table of Figures

Figure 1 Analysis of technological determinism (Misa, 1988) 7

Figure 2: Quaterly revenue of internet advertising firms (Hyland and Petrusky, 2001, p. 4) 18


This chapter consists of five sections. The aim of the first three segments is to offer an insight into some of the theoretical foundations and debates relating to technology. I will bring together references from fields of Philosophy, Science and Technology Studies (STS), Epistemology (study of knowledge) and Software engineering. My aim here is to first develop a clear line of inquiry and representation of a specific problem that arises from the way we relate and use technology as well as how we shape and make it. Philosophical enquiries will offer an insight into our understanding of technology and the hows: How to live with technology? ; How to communicate with/through it? ; How to protect our sense of being and identity and how to relate to it? The works that I referenced here from STS will offer a consistent concern around some of the current debates, and challenges that scholars from STS has raised over the past two decades. The epistemological explorations aim to justify and clarify specific problems posed and threatening the notion of our being, democracy and liberty in their widest sense and finally the Software engineering perspective helps to understand how we make and do things the way we do through the medium of technology. I made every attempt to bring together an in-depth and a wide range of substantial primary and secondary examples and discussions from academic literature. Due to the complexity and depth of these vast fields of research that I fearfully and ambisiously entered, it was not possible to give some of the scholars and domains of knowledge enough attention that they’d deserved. I had to make this sacrifice in order to be able to develop an interdisciplinary response into a common concern and problem that all these fields explored and have in common. It is possible to dedicate a whole chapter or conduct a whole investigation into some of the works that I referenced here. For example: It is common practice to discuss and explore technology from a Heideggerian perspective. There are about 17000 pages of primary work by him concerning the topic of “being” and it is outside the remit and focus of this thesis to take on the role of reviewing and interpreting all of these works and its secondary sources (Harman, 2011). I tried however to bring important discussions and fundamental arguments from primary scholars and secondary interpretations.

The first section explores the literature from an STS and philosophical perspectives, developing a historical outline of important themes such as technological determinism, a brief chronological overview of philosophers of technology with more focus on Heideggerian perspective of technology and its recent metamorphosis “object oriented philosophy”. In section two, I will investigate the dichotomy between localized forms of situated knowledge and universal ones. This will be through briefly exploring the notion of enumeration, some of its examples and in particular relevant studies tracing these practices in the last 400 years (context). Section three (specific issue) looks at the epistemological aspects of these practices, how do we get around to produce such knowledge forms? Finally in the last section I discussed how I produced the first substantial practice piece of this investigation in relation to the theories and literature explored in this chapter. At the end, I have reflected on some suggestions and arguments towards certain changes and approaches that could develop new forms of design thinking, discussing some elements of adversarial design, Disruptive design and Technological fluency. Leading ultimately to practices and productions of a more commensurable knowledge networks.

I. A brief history of the present

Technology is entwined in every aspect of our lives. “Technologies feed, clothe, and provide shelter for us; they transport, entertain, and heal us; they provide the bases of wealth and of leisure; they also pollute and kill.” (MacKenzie and Wajcman, 1999, p. 1). Whilst science and technology are being examined from variety of perspectives, In many of these argumentations there is a trace of technological determinism and using “power language“(Langdon Winner, 1980, p. 121) is common amongst both critiques and appraisers of technology. From a political viewpoint, it is crucial to objectify the technological determinism as it produces a passive attitude and discourages creative engagement with technology. From an intellectual standpoint technological determinism whilst producing knowledge and develops some aspects of our understanding of technology, it also reduces the relationship between society and things into a mere cause and effect relationship (MacKenzie and Wajcman, 1999). Hence it is vital to a) develop a historical and political understanding of the lines of enquiries about technology and what technology is. This endeavour is focused majorly within the fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and philosophy of technology. B) To develop a creative approach for crafting new technologies that can deal with fast pace of change and the new and old needs of our societies and communities. A framework that fosters and engages not only in crafting and making new technologies, but rather it is involved in shaping it and influencing it towards improvement of our beings, communities and environments.

Some of the ideas and the beliefs in technological determinism is well captured in a 5 parts 1993 TV series documentary showing the history of computers from Babbage to Silicon valley. The tone and narrative of this series has a model of “before and after an invention” approach. In this title, the history of computers is being told in a way that once an invention was introduced to society, it will then have the life of its own. This belief that technology is the primary force that brings change to society goes back to early days of industrial revolution. Amongst individuals who believe in technological determinism, there are two common approaches that they follow a) soft view b) hard view. Soft view is based on the belief that social change is caused by technological change; They also admit that technology can be affected and changed by social pressures. Hard view believers on the other hand does not take into consideration the effect of social pressures and they believe technology has its own autonomous momentum and force for change. (Smith and Marx, 1994)

Ulrich Beck in his very influential work in critique of science and technology states: “…With good reasons one can proceed from the perspective that the history of sciences was always less a history of the acquisition of knowledge than one of mistakes and practical lapses. That is why scien­tific ‘knowledge’, ‘explanations’, and practical ‘suggested solutions’ contradict each other diametrically over time” (Beck, 1992, p. 159). What Beck (1992) argues is the fact that from 18th century until mid-twentieth century science functioned as a monopolised rational force of ‘progress’ without enough necessary reflections and critiques of its own practice. He argues that there are two strands in the modernization process from ‘traditional’ societies to industrialised ones. The strands are 1) primary and 2) reflexive. In the primary phase science is “applied to a ‘given’ world of nature, people and society. “ (Beck, 1992, p. 155). In this phase the scientization process lacks reflection of its own procedures. In the second phase the enlightenment and truth that science promised will be demystified. The second phase can be traced back as early as the beginning of twentieth century. Whilst the former is promising to bring enlightenment, liberty and free us from traditions and naturally destined ways of life to an industrial one at the same time, they end up in dissolving some of their own values. In the second phase not only science is not the sole provider of solutions, but rather the cause of problems. Don Ihde in his foreword to new waves in philosophy of technology (Olsen, 2008), traced three main waves of philosophers of technology. The first wave included scholars such as Marx and Kapp. Kapp (1877) was one of the first authors who used the title philosophy of technology in the 19^th^ century. The first wave of thinkers were mainly concerned with industrial revolution and its consequences. The consensus among scholars during this wave was merely dystopian. Even influential scholars such as Marx and Kapp whilst had a hard technological deterministic approach, their criticism of technology were based on a historical mode of production and not the technology itself. It was only after the Great War that strong voices of criticism and fear of autonomous technologies began to rise and emerge. Obviously there were also positive voices such as Franklin and Jefferson “…For them progress meant pursuit of technology and science in the interest of human betterment…” (Smith and Marx, 1994, p. 3) at the same time both were concerned with the implications of large scale technological reformations. Jefferson emphasized on the delicacy of liberty, virtue and power in society and on how they can easily become corrupted. Dewey (1984) in his Gifford lectures ….. Ihde argues that it was first the arts community who raised their concerns and fears of technology. One of the first works dealing with this new phenomena was Shelley’s Frankenstein. Victor Frankenstein a researcher who has a strong belief in science, unable to recognise the consequences and ethics of his work and its creation the monster. Shelly’s monster is very similar to how Beck (1992) describes the role and challenges of science in industrial societies in early twentieth century. One of the major contributors of second wave of philosophers of technology was the Frankfort School of Critical theory. Adorno uses the metaphor of gramophone. He argues that the transformational effect of technology reduces the originality of objects and their real essence as well as the freedom of interpreters (Adorno and Levin, 1990). What Adorno portraying here is again the autonomous aspect of machines. Other significant intellectual contemporaries to Adorno were Horkheimer, Fromm and Marcuse and later Habermas. Horkheimer and Adorno’s works were both prominent within Europe and not as much in the states until late sixties where Marcuse’s work began to give momentum to their work in the United States (Abromeit, 2011). Horkheimer’s work was crucial to the early developments of Critical Theory, a theory which was a response to the transformation of society from feudal to a new capitalist society.

“The bourgeoisie tolerated critical reason during its revolutionary rise to power against the restrictions imposed by feudal social relations. Once victorious, however, reason could only be tolerated in its quantitative forms—mathematics and science, which became instruments of bourgeois rule insofar as it required the expansion of capital to maintain its hegemony over society. In capitalist society, science was useful to the extent that it was transformed into industrial technique. But empiricism had gone too far. It left thought a slave to the given reality. The bourgeoisie systematically demythologized thought of its feudal inheritance, but it created new myths shrouded in the new absolutism of science.” (Horkheimer, 2002, p. xv). Horkheimer (2002) shows micro transformations of society, the concept of family and how it became a cog in a whole infrastructure of capitalist regimes with science that served the industries (productive knowledge) and religions and spiritual ideologies to sustain dominance. Critical theory was a call and response to the same concern about role of science and technology and their effects on society, life, being and the environment. Critical Theory scholars were concerned with the rise of facism and post war they continues to trace the authoritarian hegemonies thought he new capitalist models for them what has changed is the technologies but the authoritarian regime has always existed in different forms. Marcuse (2008, p. 51) in his study of a authority states that authority is based on two elements: “…a certain measure of freedom …which is not based purely on coercion) and conversely, submission, the tying of will (indeed of thought and reason) to the authoritative will of an Other. Thus in the authority relationship freedom and unfreedom, autonomy and heteronomy, are yoked in the same concept and united in the single person of he who is the subject”.

Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936) depicts some of the fears and struggles of Industrial society. Chaplin shows life of a factory worker who struggles to keep up with the factory pipeline and he mistakenly ended up going inside the machine, he then takes part in an experiment where the execetives of the factory were trying to introduce an automatic feeding machine to increase the efficiency of the workers through a mishmash of mistakes and chance he ends up in a mental hospital. What Chaplin shows in this silent film is what Ellul (2003) saw technology as an autonomous organism and in Chaplin’s case, anyone who struggled to keep up with the pace and transformation ends up in becoming alienated.

[]{#_Toc520725403 .anchor}Figure 1 Analysis of technological determinism (Misa, 1988)

Misa (1988, p. 310) identifies four major groups of philosophers of technology whom technological determinism can be traced in their work. “…as a justification for their field, as a theory to be elaborated (by Ellulians), as a theory to be rejected (by Marxists), and as the starting premise for a technological politics…”. The deterministic approach has taken a similar pattern of development amongst historians of business, cities and science especially between 1977 to mid-eighties. This decade is portrayed by Misa (1988) as the time where most historians saw technology the causal force for change in our societies or at least in Western societies. Chandler (1993) detailed study of economical transformations from pre-industrial to industrialised America shows some aspects of the evolution of the business enterprise from minimal local partnerships to large-scale corporations and large firms. Chandler’s concern was the rise of bureaucratic corporate order. Schudson (2013) expands and elaborates on Chandlers theorisation and argues that the bureaucratic became possible through the management/hegemony of hierarchical salaried executives and organised with a complex range of technologies and administrative departments. Again Chandler’s take on industrial revolution had a strong sense of technological determinism. Ellul’s concept of “self-augmentation” (2018, p. 209) where he states “By self-augmentation, I mean the fact that everything occurs as if the technological system were growing by an internal, intrinsic force, without decisive human intervention. Naturally, this is not to say that man does not intervene or play a par; but rather, that he is caught in a milieu and in a process, which causes all his activities to technological growth…” is another example of soft-view technological deterministic debated during this period. He (Ellul, 2003, p. 386) refers to technology as an “organism” that has its own path and autonomy independent of its surroundings. For Ellul (2003) technology is the end of scientific innocence or what we observe that is beginning to emerge is what Beck referred to as the second phase of scientization (1992) or the reflexive phase. The Marxisist scholars on the other hand, do not put all the blame on technology but rather on how technology is being used.

From the third wave of philosophers, Mitcham …

Whilst many scholars since mid eighties have been emphasising on the importance of objectifying determinism, it is also important to remember that technology should not be considered as both the sole problem maker and solution provider. Heidegger (1977, p. 3) “…We shall be questioning concerning technology, and in so doing we should like to prepare a free relationship to it.” What Heidegger attempts to do in this essay is to represent the essence of technology and by essence, he means the way something endures its life through time and history. By essence, he refers to the original and true meaning of it and not the one distorted and corroded through roman translation and later taken by Christianity. The origin of the word essence comes from physis where Heidegger defines it as (1961, p. 14) “Physis is being itself, by virtue of which essents become and remain observable… Physis means the power that emerges and the enduring realm under its sway. This power of emerging and enduring includes "becoming" as well as "being"”.

One of Heidegger projects was to redefine the concept of “being” as he believed this would help us to understand and justify our relationship with many other constructs and things such as technology. In being and time (Heidegger, 1996) he applies a phenomenological method where he attempts to define being through a temporal study of human experience. The ontological approach that he took in being and time however was not complete and he did not manage to complete the task of redefining being. In introduction to metaphysics, he tried to continue with his enterprise however, he ended up presenting a detailed critique of western philosophy and hitherto did not manage to provide a complete understanding of being. Heidegger compares the word “is” in language to being. He provides several examples in spoken language where in each sentence “is” has a different meaning for example The car is mine (belongs to), The book is in the library (located), the ring is of gold (made of), etc… In all these examples and many more, “is” contains a prolific multiplicity of meanings. Similarly for “being” the definite range of meaning contained by “the sphere of actuality and presence, of permanence and duration, of abiding and occurrence.” (Heidegger, 1961, p. 92). Similarly, if we were to understand and define the essence of technology, this does not mean any specific technological thing. Since technology existed as long as civilizations, what Heidegger tries to clarify is questioning the basis and definitions of what we perceive as technology and our relationship with it. He believed (Heidegger, 1977, p. 26) “when we once open ourselves expressly to the essence of technology, we find ourselves unexpectedly taken into a freeing claim.”. As shown in the example above with the multiplicity of meaning, similarly the widely agreed and used definition of technology as a human activity or a means to an end is also merely an instrumental definition and does not overlay the real truth about the essence of technology. What Heidegger is trying to free us from is thinking everything through the medium of technology, instead of having a free relationship with it. In his early works until 1955 his work is arguably has a romantic anti-technology and anti-consumerism approach, potentially due to war effect similar to other science and technology critics after the Great War and Second World War. In his later work on the contrary he states that the concern and worries on the loss and destruction caused by technology is merely a technological thinking (Dreyfus and Wrathall, 2002). Heidegger emphases on the dangers of technological thinking “In this dawning atomic age a far greater danger threatens-precisely when the danger of a third world war has been removed. A strange assertion! Strange indeed, but only as long as we do not meditate. In what sense is the statement just made valid? This assertion is valid in the sense that the approaching tide of technological revolution in the atomic age could so captivate, bewitch, dazzle, and beguile man that calculative thinking may someday come to be accepted and practiced as the only way of thinking.” (1966, p. 56) . The technological thinking is when we lose our ability to mediate and the idea of subjectivity and objectivity becomes more fluid. Tiqqun (2001, p. 3) reminds us of this danger by stating that majority of critical thinkers of our time are negligent of the rise of “cybernetics as a new technology of government”. He later states that the cybernetics is based on the projection that all things (humans and non-humans) and their relationships are inherently algorithmically conditioned and reconditionable. This is what Foucault referred to as “piloting” (2005, p. 249) a model consisting of three techniques medicine, political government and government of the self. Foucault refers to the post twentieth century piloting as “governmentality” (Foucault et al., 1991, p. 102). The change that occurs during this century and beyond is the fact that the piloting is not merely concerned with self and others but it is concerned with everything. In July 2014 UK government introduced a new legislation Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIP) which was later called snooper's charter. This act obliged Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to regularly capture and store internet and communication activities of their users. Whist the act was challenged and it is under review due to high level of public outcry and legal challenges (Cobain, 2018; “Data Retention Directive - ORG Wiki,” n.d.) it is one example amongst many others (for examples see: ) of what Deutsch (1963) called the “Nerves of Government”. Deutsch enterprise was to develop a new political theory that is concerned with the new era of governmentality. A politics that offers people the ability to “that men should be more able to act in politics with their eyes open” (Deutsch, 1963, p. 255). Barabasi (2003) explores many new field of science being developed in the 21^st^ century and find many similarities between them and exploring and introducing new sciences from a cartographic perspectives. Wiener (1961, p. 39) compares the 18^th^ to early 19^th^ centuries as being the age of steam engines, he then describes the 20^th^ century as age of communication and control. Wienar invented an approach of applying probability and statistical models into a network in order to represent and reproduce information that is uncertain based on what we know about a system. This line of enquiry was first developed by Wiener in order to predict the movement of aircraft during Second World War. The technology is now more mature and accessible in many occasions free of charge available online under navigational softwares1. Similar to Barabasi who compares the network of internet with network of life on our planet and almost suggest they are indentical, Tiqqun (Tiqqun, 2001, p. 18) discusses the enterprise of neural network as they try to mimic human brain (Hecht-Nielsen, 1988; Schmidhuber, 2015). Inviting the reader to explore the present-day history of economic discourse as an “information problem” (Foucault (Rose, 1991, p. 105) calls this “Power/knowledge”). A trend in the last thirty years has started which is refered to as financlialization. Financialization is the transformation process that results in markets taking over every aspects of our life. For example: Russi (2013) shows the effect of market and informationization of food industry; Martin (2002) provides a detailed overview of techniques and practices of financialization both through regulations prioritised by governments as well as its presence in the education system; Sotiropoulos (Sotiropoulos et al., 2013) presents a fresh overview of capitalist power relations based on financial derivatives. Davis (2009) representing some of the underlying practices that has changed the American society and reshaped it into a market centred logic where individuals are becoming shareholder agents, resulting in many vital human needs becoming highly dependent on Stock and mortgage markets. Financialization increasingly gaining more attention within academia, for example in the UK Digital Economy is a research theme bringing together fields such as “These include Energy, Transport, Manufacturing, Health and Care, Creative and Cultural and Service Industries (particularly those driven by data such as Retail, Insurance, Financial and Advertising).” (“Digital Economy Theme strategy - EPSRC website,” n.d.) ). Kant (Matthews et al., 2000) describes the experience of this new form of capitalism as sublime experience, according to his there are two forms of experience: mathematically sublime, which is an experience where we deal with a conflict between our rational and imagination. Our reason tells us things are restricted and limited and on the other hand our imagination provides an infinite representation of reality, in this mathematical sublime experience due to universalistic approach to knowledge representation, we encounter experiences that are so much larger than ourselves that we struggle to take them in as a whole. The other sublime experience that Kant discusses is dynamically sublime where an object seems so much bigger than stronger than ourselves that we will experience a strong sense of helplessness and weakness towards them. Further Kant argues that these emotions are not based on real experiences as in the experience of actual danger our feeling are very different from the sublime experiences. This line of Kant’s enquiry brings us back to how Heidegger (1966) sees this experience as technological thinking. Calculative thinking was a requirement and pillar of Fordism and Taylorism, where information was the building block of automating and making processes predictable and repeatable. Webster (2014, pp. 74–105) identifies key features about the era that we identify as Fordist-Keynesian era (1945-73). This period consists of developing systems and techniques to increase production and consumption at large scale. Large factories with hundreds and thousands of employees were a common manufacturing practice of this era. This enterprise that reached its peak during fifties and early sixties in parallel developed another trend which was mass consumption fuelled by the high percentage of employment (2 per cent unemployment in Britain) and advertising industries. Whilst there are large scale manufacturing example prior and post this era for example the Manhattan project that had over three hundred thousands of works, scholars and technicians to develop the atomic bomb. What can be traced in most of these is standardization and complex organization. There are much discussions and theories trying to make sense and understand various aspects of this period, however the main purpose of this historical journey is to discuss and find some key characteristics which can help towards understanding and finding threads that shaped and reshaping the world that we live in today. During 1970s a new trend began to emerge under the umbrella of globalisation. “it signals the growing interdependence and interpenetration of human relations alongside the increasing integration of the world’s socio-economic life… an explosive growth of migration, tourism, hybrid musical forms and heightened concern for global political strategies...” (Webster, 2014, p. 77). Thrift (Thrift et al., 2014, p. 8) defines globalization as an assemblage of practices to manage and solve the problems of “propinquity” and “credibility”. According to Webster the globalization is a continuing enterprise that requires several infrastructural transformations. 1) globalization of the market: this means wider reach of customers worldwide, more competition as well as complex infrastructure of communication and transport. Ian Cook over the past two decades developed a peer reviewed online library of case studies (Cook, 2018) of consumer products emphasizing and showing their social relations and ethics of production. For example Cooks (2004) shows the complex network food industry through following a Jamaican papaya from its farm, network of export and importers, the financial derivatives to the supermarket shelves and into consumer homes and consumer culture developed around thing object. In the beginning of twentieth century, transatlantic cables provided the infrastructure that allowed a transaction to be made within 5 minutes. A similar transaction is now under development that can transfer information between London in New York within 60 milliseconds. The networks of trade and globalization has always existed and it is arguably as old as civilization. Archaeological works shows “…northern Europe was hyper-connected through networks of trade as early as Bronze and Iron Ages, through the spice route to the Roman Empire, through the vagaries of the Chinese or Venetian empires, through the rise of Atlantic economy…“(Thrift et al., 2014, p. 10). The complex logistical and infrastructural changes through globalization should not be only seen through the financial lens, nevertheless its traces can be found both macro and micro practices. (Thrift et al., 2014).

II. Enumeration, simplification and universalism

“Every state happy or unhappy, was statistical in its own way.” (Scott, 1998, p. 16)

In the last section I represented a brief overview of the developments in the field of philosophy of technology in the last two hundred years. In this section my aim is to portray an image of technological transformation enterprise and show some of the techniques underlying them. How science gave momentum to some of these fast paces technological changes that philosophers of technology critiques, praised and warned us. At the centre of scientization process lays the mathematics. “In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries science as a whole was built upon a mechanistic doctrine of nature and, in fact, was almost coextensive with this doctrine; consequently the materialism of the day regarded mathematico-mechanistic natural science as the sole knowledge of reality.” (Horkheimer, 2002, p. 35)

“Enumerate” is defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary (“Definition of ENUMERATE,” 2018) as “to ascertain the number of: count” or “to specify one after another: list”. In this chapter I argue that the institutions of liberal democracies are reducing society into categorized, simplified, and reductive individuals. James C. Scott (Scott, 1998, p. 184) calls this the “civilizing process” or “domestication”, which has three sub-processes: “sedentarization”, “concentration” and “radical simplification”. Although sedentarization is outside of the scope of this chapter (see: Adams, 1999; Cresswell, 1993; Urry, 2004), the other two sub-processes will be discussed in this section.

“Legibility is a condition of manipulation. Any substantial state intervention in society ... requires the invention of units that are visible. The units in question might be citizens, villages, trees, fields, houses, or people grouped according to age, depending on the type of intervention” (Scott, 1998, p. 183)

Charles Babbage writing in 1832 noted the importance of collecting numbers, calling it “the constants of Nature and of Art” (Babbage, 1832). His idea was to summon the list of all facts that could be expressed in mere numbers. This dream; however was not a dream started by Babbage, for its roots goes far back before even when Comte coined the term positivism. Equally, around 1685 both Leibniz in Prussia and Petty in England made recommendations about creating statistical centres that would collect data about the population allowing the state to foresee the future and measure its power. State-based statistics was a process originally aimed at measuring colonies rather than home, however, it became the practice of the state both internally and externally as best described by Hacking (1990, p. 16): “Every state happy or unhappy, was statistical in its own way.” Further to this, Scott (1998) emphasizes the notion of unambiguous identification as one of the main strategies of state power over the last two hundred years. He follows the traces of these strategies not only in the administration of nature such as the German engineering of forests, or the development of new beehives, but also in identification of their residents.

Again, this become normalized to the extent that the notion of surnames as modes of identification has become so embedded in everyday life that it is almost taken as a priori. Traditionally, surnames names were primarily a form of identification based on local knowledge: for example, as Scott notes, in England if there were multiple Johns, then locational or occupational clues would be used to reduce ambiguity. For instance, John Hill referring to John who lives on the Hill, or John Mills, John who owned a mill.2 Foucault's conception of biopolitics and anatomopolitics is described by Hacking as the statistical establishment of the last three hundred years. We see the biopolitical starting around 1763 under the reign of Fredrich the Great for the purpose of restoring and managing the vanished population after seven years of war. This process then continues and gave birth in the next hundred years to centralized institutions specialized in collecting, creating and analysing numbers about people and things, as described by Hacking (Hacking, 1990, p. 34): “The institutions brought a new kind of man into being, the man whose essence was plotted by a thousand numbers”. Using one of Scott’s (1998, p. 4) four elements of the birth of the modern state, the measurement of the subject by enumeration is the “administrative ordering of nature and society”. Critically the process of ordered gridding of the social becomes embedded in the fabric of everyday life to the extent that essence and appearance become interchangeable. The other three elements contributing to the birth of modern states are high modernist ideology, which is a by-product of science and technology “progress”, emergency powers that sprang up at difficult times such as war and famine which gives them unquestionable power to initiate utopian/heterotopian ideas and social engineering projects and lastly weak citizen mobilisation, engagement and power.

II.I The Science of Muddling Through: Or from Locals to Universals

“…The existence of French men and women around 1790 was made miserable by, among other things, 700 or 800 differently named measures and untold units of the same name but different sizes. A "**pinte" in Paris came to 0.93 liter; in Saint-Denis, to 1.46; in Seine-en-Montagne, to 1.99; in Précy-sous-Thil, to 3.33. The aune, a unit of length, was still more prolific: Paris had three” (Frängsmyr et al., 1990, p. 207) (Frängsmyr et al., 1990, p.207)

The above quote is an example of local knowledge forms, and their commensurability depending on where, and how, and which community is subjected to them. There is also a trace of universalism in the description of these measurements and the coming need to standardize them. Scott (Scott, 1998, p. 254) documented this process of standardization by looking at the political-aesthetics of modernism: he discusses the visual and aesthetic aspects of high modernist approaches in Ethiopian, Romanian and Tanzanian ‘villagization’. This is a prominent aspect and process that many communities faced during the forced transformation from “primitive” to “modern” aesthetics. The primitive was seen as more “irregular, dispersed, complicated, unmechanised” as opposed to the modern which was “tidy, rectilinear, uniform, concentrated, simplified, mechanized”. For Scott “many state activities aim at transforming the population, space, and nature under their jurisdiction into the closed systems that offer no surprises and that can best be observed and controlled” (1998, p. 82). The question of control through cartographic vision and surveillance is a significant aspect of Scott’s work on the modern state’s attempt to make the natural and social world legible, that is readable and knowable. Fundamentally this involves a concentration of vision, or as Scott sees it, a “narrowing of the field of vision” (Scott, 1998, p. 13), resulting in the delimitation of a field of knowledge that brackets-off or narrows complexity through spatial, temporal and epistemological regimentation and gridding. This process of making legible implies a set of representational mechanisms such as the cadastral map, censuses and “standardized units of measurement” (Scott, 1998, p. 77) all designed to hold meaning, and the natural and social worlds stable. Such mechanisms of making the world legible not only concern how the world was viewed, but also how it was produced and appropriated.

Such processes, in place since the beginning of the 16th century, have been responsible for dramatic changes in the government and management of life, both from individual and national perspectives (Hacking, 1990). Science and technology were central engines to these changes through both methodological and technological approaches towards truth and determinism (Gibbons et al., 1994). This was the creation of the problematic space of universalism, whose ultimate goal was the simplification of the complexity and multiplicity of localized practices. Hacking (1990, p. 11) describes these universalistic approaches as the birth of “objective knowledge” or in Porterian (1996, p. 46) terms the “social technology” of quantification—a form of knowledge based on statistical modelling. Objective knowledge was born through two key movements, firstly, the discovery that the world is not deterministic, and secondly, the transformation of society and people into mere number. These two changes have created four successful effects on the society: metaphysical, epistemological, logical and ethical. In all four categories Hacking (1990) traces the imperialism of probabilities. The success of these categories is ultimately proven by the fact that they have profoundly altered the direction and perception of society.

One would expect the relationship between indeterminism and statistics to be an opposing equation, however it is the opposite: the recognition of indeterminism results in greater statistical control. This is evidenced by the exponential growth of enumeration in both the physical and natural sciences: the mass publication of numbers and statistics; annual reports; population enumerations such as life span, death rates;3 and health measurements. On the other hand, these mere simplifications do not only remain as numbers or statistics, rather they turn into policies, politics, and affective emotions, ultimately creating a social realm in which we live under the shadow of numbers.4

II.II. What do we loose through enumeration and economical development

“Market culture undermines traditional communities wherever it penetrates – just as it has undermined community on its home turf for the last four hundred years”(Marglin, 2008, p. 246)

Marglin (2008, p. 245)believes that since the last decades of 15^th^ century (beginning of the age of western exploration) imperialism, development, and globalisation were the three inter linked prominent ingredients of West meeting the rest of the world. In the previous sections I have shown the relationship between enumerations, simplification and universalism and how enumeration is the technology of governance. This section I will draw an image of some of the intended and unintended consequences of such practices. I would like to start this section by a story from development of sports wear in China.

Athletic shoes is the US is a $15 billion industry with about 107 million pairs being bought for children in America (The Washington Post, 2002, p. 4), Marglin (2008, p. 228) goes further into the details of production and supply chain:

“An $80 pair of sneakers includes perhaps $3.00 of wages for a worker in China, South or Southeast Asia, or the Caribbean – less than 4% of the total price. The rest is materials (say $11), rent and other operating costs of the factory owner (another $3), and the profits of factory owner (another $2 or so). All this brings the cost to Nike … to $18.”

In this case study, one can see a large profit and income inequity between the Eastern manufacturers and Western brands and distributers. Another hidden element here is the distance and a sense of disconnection that this enumeration brings into globalised and international relations between different actors of supply and demand chains. Neither the $3 wages nor the $80 product price is showing the atrocities and struggles that human and non human actors endeavour in order for an American child to wear a sports shoes. This is what Marglin (2008, p. 238) calls “Conventional wage”. Conventional wage is the calculation of wages based on the producing countries and opportunities available to them rather than humane solidarity with those in direct affect. This disconnection and imperialism has many branches, another one of the prominent concerning aspect of globalisation is destruction of cultures. Marglin definition of culture is close to what I have traced in this chapter about situated knowledge forms. For Marglin (2008, p.245), culture is a form of “...shared participation in producing and exchanging goods and services; about governing, entertaining, and mourning; and about generating and regenerating people physically, morally and spiritually.” …..

Just as Hacking (1990) argued that enumeration and statistics was a technology that has been used in colonies, it then later on became a technology for governing their own population, another technology of colonisers were imperialism and vanishing non-western cultures which then gave birth to globalisation which also universalised culture both in the new worlds and back at home in Europe. This created a sense of “imagined community” as Marglin labeled it (2008). After all of these counting and justifying the negativities of enumeration and globalisation, it is important also to remember their positive aspects in order to seek out commensurable solutions and think openly about solutions to these complex and multifaceted problems of universalism and reduction of cultures and communities. If we partially agree that globalisation and enumeration also have positive elements then the central question here would be “how we as a community, designers, technologists and scientists would position ourselves in the spectrum between community and globalisation, between deliberation and consensus, between participation and representation?”

III. Governmentality or science of objectification

“Social power of a collective is a function of the distribution of knowledge over the collective” (Bellamy, 1993, p. 211)

Foucault in mid 70s published two major works: Discipline and Punish (Foucault, 1991) and History of Sexuality (Foucault, 1992, 1990, 1984). The former work were more concerned with the role of body and soul as the locus for the practice of power, the move from traditional forms of torture to newer forms. In that work Foucault emphasised 4 guidelines in the study of power:

  1. Study of punitive mechanisms has to look both at punitive mechanisms on their “repressive” as well as possible positive effects. For instance punishment then would be regarded as a complex social function.

  2. Punitive methods should not be considered simply as a causation of legislation but also as specialised techniques or in Foucault's words political tactic.

  3. History of penal law and human sciences may derive from same source a single process of “epistemologico-juridical” formation; in short, Foucault believe that technology of power should be one of the prominent principles of both study of the humanization of the penal system and of the knowledge of man.

  4. In short, punitive methods should be studied as a history of power relations and object relations. (Foucault, 1991)

Both of the works mentioned above concerned with the importance of keeping an analytical eye on the exercise of power as not just a negative or repressive force, but also their metamorphosis. What Foucault showed through these two works was complex reciprocal relations between the political investment of the body and its economical use. From mid seventies, Foucault took on the task of developing his new theoretical framework of analysing power and he coined two prominent terms “Power/Knowledge” (Rouse, 2003, p. 105) (Rouse, 2003, p.105) and “Governmentality”(Foucault et al., 1991, p. 102). As shown in section 1 of this chapter, What Foucault and other scholars traced, was the transformation of the technologies of government from mid sixteenth century onwards. A move from “multitude of treatises presented as advice to the prince” to “art of government” (Foucault et al., 1991, p. 87). The former is not the concern of this thesis; therefor the focus will be from 16^th^ century onwards. Art of government started to form shape initially in the sixteenth century with questions concerned with government of oneself, which developed approaches such as stoicism. Also problematics of governing lives and souls, which was the locus of Catholic and Protestant doctrine. The list continues with the government of children, pedagogy, and health and so on. These concerns and processes, gave birth to the death of feudalism, and rise of establishments, imperialism and colonial states. An interesting change here is the domain and use of law itself, from being a punitive and instrument of sovereignty to becoming a guiding technology. Law traditionally was an instrument for the common good, something all subjects would obey without exception as long as the law was in accordance with the laws of the master or the king or God the the ultimate sovereignty. Through the transformations of the 17^th^ century, however law then became one of the tactics of governance. The idea of economy as the government of the family and how art of government becoming a series of interventions and complex processes formed through use of numbers, laws, legislations, sovereignty and other technologies of government. Instead of government being about sovereignty of the prince over a territory, it became about meeting ends and specific certitudes.(Foucault et al., 1991)

“Wisdom, understood no longer in the traditional sense as knowledge of divine and human laws, of justice and equality, but rather as the knowledge of things, of the objectives that can and should be attained, and the disposition of things required to reach them; it is this knowledge that is to constitute the wisdom of the sovereign.”(Foucault et al., 1991, p. 96)

It is useful to also mention a text referred to by Foucault: Le miroir politique from 1555 (Dexter, 1955) where La Perrière defined government as “the right disposition of things, arranged so as to lead to a convenient end”. Some examples of convenient ends (programs) could be reproduction, expansion of territories and improvement of health. This text by La Perriere, marks the beginning of the transformations mentioned earlier. So government becomes about right disposition of things. It is important to understand, in this analysis the relationship between government and “body politic” (Hobbes and Curley, 1994, p. 146) is not a top down one, but a multifaceted network of technologies and tactics to achieve finalities. Through the development of science of governing, we have shown that economy became central again, however now on a different axis and plane. “The constitution of a savoir of government is absolutely inseparable from that of a knowledge of all the processes related to population in Its larger sense: that is to say, what we now call the economy” (Foucault et al., 1991, p. 100). Economy and statistics from being a technology in the hands feudals, it is becoming a form of “savoir” concerned with all aspects of “body politic”. It is crucial not to misunderstand the analytical framework here by assuming that sovereignty is being replaced by disciplined society and discipline by art of government. Instead there is a triangular relationship between these three elements: Government, discipline and sovereignty. This triangle gave birth to a new problematic space called population, or in Habermasian terms: “wild life” which is a space “a field of intervention and an objective of governmental techniques” or “governmentality” (Foucault et al., 1991, p. 102). The move from feudal territorial regime (Laws: amalgamation of obligation and litigation) to administrative state (National boundaries, discipline and regulation) to governmental state was not directed by an “invisible hand” (Smith, 1930, p.288), but rather a “visible hand” (Chandler Jr, 1993). Chandler only sees the market as the locus of change (Schudson, 2013), however it is through a reciprocal net-work of actors such as science, technology, statistics and new problematic spaces creating, changing and mediating one another. This is the important lesson and analytical technique to take from foucaudian studies of power. What was important to Foucault was not only the forms of knowledge being produced, but how and through what techniques they would become authoritative and intelligible. This approach to power would allow us to develop a better understanding of why and how our financial, economical and governance system is the way it is today and how we can develop ways to engage with it, scrutinise and understand it?

Howells defined knowledge as “Knowledge can be defined as a dynamic framework or structure from which information can be stored, processed and understood.” (2002, p. 872). What should be remembered here from what we have discussed earlier is Who stored the knowledge, who process it, How it has been processed? and for the understanding of whom? Jasanoff (2005) discusses the implications of the techniques that governments developed to control and legislate knowledge production through some quantified measures which she calls technologies of hubris. The purpose of these technologies is to provide confidence and certainty within the society, as oppose to technologies of humility which they are about bringing doubt and uncertainty (Newell, 2012).

In previous sections, we discussed some of the un/intented consequences of technological advancements and enumeration. Bill Joy, one of the chief scientinst at Sun Microsystems raises an important point about technological advancements, which is their unquestioned acceptance in society. How quickly we familiarise ourselves with them, which brings in the next problematic which is how much our modern institutions are concerned with these technological dizziness in order to reduce the damages incurred as part of the process of “progress”. Whilst this advancements offer some benefits, they cannot at the same time protect us from the damages caused by technological advancements (Jasanoff, 2005; Lewis, 2015). Another un/intended bi-product of “power/knowledge” practices of modern democratic regimes is the birth of centres and fragmented public of experts. For Jasanoff (Jasanoff, 2005, p. 238) “The issue, in other words, is no longer whether the public should have a say in technical decisions, but how to promote more meaningful interaction among policy-makers, scientific experts, corporate producers, and the public”. Jasanoff states, the prominent issue we are facing in modern societies is how to live within a democratic context in peace whilst having the knowledge that we are inevitably at risk. This technological dizziness arguably can be managed at least from two perspectives; one is from the political dimension of science and technology and their relationship to society. In addition, the other is about openness of technology firms and scientists about the intended and unintended consequences of such tools. Nowotny (2001) emphasis on the importance of reconnecting the knowledgeable publics to the technological and scientific production process as they were traditionally excluded. For Nowotny participatory methods can be argued as some of the recent remedies for this issue, for instance citizen juries, consensus conferences, and referenda. Gibbons also emphasises on this very similar problem, but offers a different approach which is about introducing more transparency and regulation on science as the prominent mode of knowledge production (Gibbons et al., 1994). Jasanoff argues the main question that seeks our attention to connect these fragmented publics of experts, policy-makers, scientists and the general public should be “how to promote more meaningful interaction...” Interestingly the terminology used to describe these publics5 is another example of these exclusions (i.e. publics from knowledge production pipelines). Further Jasanoff discusses the implications of the techniques that governments developed to control and legislate knowledge production through some quantified measures which she calls technologies of hubris, the purpose of these technologies is to provide confidence and certainty within the society, as oppose to technologies of humility which they are about bringing doubt and uncertainty (Jasanoff, 2005; Newell, 2012). Jasanoff calls these technologies of hubris, predictive methods, which are about giving more attention to short-term risks rather than long-term, undetermined ones. Rose (1991) shows the relationship between quantification and democratic government or on the other hand democratic power and calculating power. He categorises enumerations into four groups: numerical calculations of minorities and majorities, linking governments with governed such as opinion polls, authoritative power over national life: balance in payments, growth national product, and lastly governing calculations: tax returns, counts of population. Rose goes on into discussing how these enumerations could be used as political “social technologies”, which is the very same track traced by other scholars in many other disciplines such as (ADD AGRICULTURE, STS, ...).

Technologies of the hubris or “administrative ordering of nature and society” according to Scot (1998, p. 4) is one of the four elements that contributes to the birth of modern states that tend to create large scale organised systems, cities, grids and states. The next three elements are high modernist ideology, which is a by-product of science and technology “progress”, emergency powers that sprang up at difficult times such as war, famine and so on which gives them unquestionable power to initiate utopian ideas and social engineering projects and lastly weak citizen mobilisation, engagement and power (Scott, 1998). If we pursue with the same expert knowledge production techniques, humanities and social researchers have the important role of deliberating and bringing some of these long terms disastrous effects of science and technology into the locus of general public, however as mentioned earlier, we are also dealing with a society that quickly adapts and accepts unknown changes, which results in a fast pace of technological advancements a condition that Lindblom () calles “all thumbs and no fingers”, with anthropologists, socialogists and social researchers out of breath left behind in the “field”. This even makes it more important for a new sets of technologies as Jasanoff calles them “technologies of humility”.

IV. Overview on Knowledge and information

“...But with the repression of political life in the land as a whole, ...without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element. Public life gradually falls asleep, a few dozen party leaders of inexhaustible energy and boundless experience direct and rule.”(Luxemburg, 1992, p. 72)(Luxemburg, 1992, p.72)

Polanyi defines two types of knowledge, tacit and explicit. Explicit is when there is no need to experience the knowledge directly and it can be reproduced through use of mediums, for instance language. Tacit knowledge as polanyi calles it “subception” is a form of knowledge that can not be codified, and it is through a learned experience for instance the craft knowledge, however some believe that this can be learned through codification. Howells (2002) suggest that based on looking at knowledge spillover studies, “tacit knowledge, situation and locational context” are prominent element in the process of knowledge distribution. Another characteristic of knowledge is accessibility, Howells (2002) categorises knowledge into postriori and priori knowledge. Posteriori is something that can be purchased and Priori is something that acquired through contracts R&D and research agreements according. There is also another strategy to acquire knowledge which is employing knowledge labour directy (i.e. scientists, researchers and so on).

The main purpose of these methods are to bring into attention the long term, intended and unintended consequences of new developments. This can be followed from four perspectives as Jasanoff argues, framing analysis, vulnerability, distribution and learning.

Flow of information between individuals

Knowledge spillovers




knowledge movement

Ownership and secrecy

Temporality of knowledge

when should knowledge be shared

time between codified knowledge and interpretation and digestion time.

internal & external forms of knowledge transfer

Knowledge spillovers

Economy of knowledge: Demand, consumption and production of knowledge

Affective knowledge




Now in order to understand the level of spillover types of knowledge available to us about the financial sector, we need to look at the regulation and legislation in the UK about the financial institutions. This will be focus of next section.

Information and confirmaiton bias

consensuse and discursive.

Represantative and minority issue


Knowledge exchange strategies

Internet in the past three decades has gone through a wide range of fundamental and navigational changes, from being a small scale military technology in 1969 to having only 40 million users in 1995 to 1.5 billion users in 2009. Argentina alone has more mobile phone subscribers than its population. Castells (2011) in his detailed study of economic, cultural and social transformation shows how in only a dew decades, communication technologies has revolutionised every aspect of our life and societies and brought a new form of society that he refers to as “network society”. The formation of network society would not be possible without major technological transformation of

a) Economy and finance (This was discussed under financialization in the first section)

b) Labour and work models (outside the merit of this thesis)6

c) Communication models 7

These fundamental changes of mediums (McLuhan and Fiore, 1967) has also resulted in the creation of new markets and economies. For example the mass distribution of wireless technologies along with new advancements and cheap manufacturing have resulted in the development of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies “everyday physical things that are enhanced by a small electronic device to provide local intelligence and connectivity to the cyberspace established by the Internet.” (Easterling, 2012, p. 308) with their vision of a smart planet in which every ordinary object will become a smart object and will have its own unique identity in the cyberspace. Sterling (2005) coined the term spimes where the data on each object will become so rich that it surpasses its physicality (Mcfedries, 2010; Speed, 2011). Smart objects nowadays have their own a) autonomy compartment and error component. One dealing with mistakes and uncertainties and the other senses its environment and accordingly responding and affecting the world around it (Kopetz, 2011, p. 315). Similar to Sterling’s conception of spimes, Southern’s (2012, p. 76) concept of “comobile” or “comobility” where she traces the effect of military locative and navigational technologies such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in our everyday life and experiences and she argues that through the use of these technologies we are becoming “comobile”8 without being geographically in the same place. As the research and development on the future, past and present of World-Wide Web develops at the same time it grows in an exponential rate having a power law growth model (Huberman and Adamic, 1999). From a knowledge acquisition perspective, Internet is one of the most crucial component of our information retrieval. One of the most common methods to retrieve information from the internet is searching which is very different from traditional models of IR (Jansen et al., 2000).

Search engines are essential components for navigating the internet. The role that search engines play in users finding what they are looking for has created a whole new ecology of knowledge, new marketing departments, guidelines and principles of best practice for programmers and content providers. Lempel and Moran defined search engine as “The WWW is a rapidly expanding hyperlinked collection of unstructured information. The lack of structure and the enormous volume of the WWW pose tremendous challenges on the WWW Information Retrieval systems called search engines.” (2001, p. 132). Search engines are like a machine that takes a set of words commonly refered to as queries and return a result set which is a list of websites that the search engine believes has relevant information to what the user requested/queried. Searching for the keyword “simple” on google (“simple - Google Search,” n.d.) returned three and a quarter billion results. This shows the importance and complexity of search for both information retrieval and presentation. Yahoo was invented by Jerry Yang and Divid Filo in 1994 based on categorising information in a hierarchical manner, breaking down websites based on their content for example shopping, toys, etc…. On the other hand, a contemporary of yahoo, Excite, used “spiders” a computer software that cross-reference and follows links on one page and goes through all the links that it can follow and find. Yahoo’s enterprise was more humane in the way of collecting and categorising information as it was the users who would group the websites under yahoo categories, on the other hand Excite’s approach was purely algorithmic and mathematical (Laffey, 2007). The process of categorising and listing information in search engine language is called indexing (Rindova and Kotha, 2001). From their early days of inseption until now search engines had faced a big dilemma which was how to charge for queries and navigation through the internet. ………. Finally due to high level of competition and efficiency and improvement of spider algorithms yahoo in 2014 decided to close down its directories and follow a similar approach as its competitors such as google to primarily use spiders as its main source of informers (Rossiter, 2014). The diagram below shows the increase in advertising revenues between 1996 and 2000 in the US only. In 2000 the total revenue from internet advertising totalled 8 billion dollars from which 71% were accounted for the top 10 advertising firms.

[]{#_Toc520725404 .anchor}Figure : Annual revenue growth comparison (Hyland and Petrusky, 2001, p. 13)

A more recent report in 2017 by Interactive Advertisement Bureau (IAB) (Silverman, 2018) shows a similar increase in internet advertisement revenue over TV. A comparison between internet revenue in year 2000 to year 2017 shows 1000% increase in the revenue. 2016 had a 20 percent increase in revenues in comparison with 2017. Whilst other content platforms such as newspapers and television had also experienced an increase in their revenue, it is evident that Internet advertising is the leading industry. In the 2017 report Rothenberg, president of IAB says “Consumers are increasingly spending a tremendous amount of time with interactive screens and content from mobile to desktop and audio to OTT and brands are in lockstep with a growing commitment to digital ad buys. Mobile captured more than half of the total digital ad spend last year and we can easily expect that share to continue to climb. Video also saw significant growth.” (Silverman, 2018, p. 2). In US only search revenues totals to 44% of the whole internet revenue.

Figure : Advertising revenue 2010 – 2017 (Silverman, 2018, p. 20)

The transformation from need for information to consumer of information developed over the past two decades.

Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEye, a tech company that offers insight on search engine optimization quoted in iprospect report on SEO

“Google’s new desktop SERP is a sign of Google’s constant evolution of SERP results in line with changing consumer behavior. The linear customer journey no longer exists and is now fractured into hundreds of new ‘micro-moments’ where consumers are using multiple devices (desktop and mobile) to address their needs whenever and wherever they are.”(Lambert, 2017)

Later Lambert shows how search results changes based on the device that is running the search query from. What we observe here is in a sense a new form of being/identity an assemblage of technologies, locations, historical date and the enquirer. Depending on terms that are being searched for, search engine algorithms will decide in what order to prioritise the information. 89% of online consumers use search engines to make a decision about a purchase (Herndon, 2015). Another recent change that occurred among search engines is rending and hiring space to and from each other. For example “MSN Search, the search query is passed to Yahoo!’s sponsored search engine, which returns results to the MSN server, which in turn renders the page that the end user sees. Similarly, Google rents space on AOL.” (Fain and Pedersen, 2006, p. 12).

In order to emphasise and understand some of the developments and changes that occurred during the digitisation process and understand the role of knowledge, information and communication, it would be beneficial to draw comparison between a “traditional” market (bazaar) and a modern one-click shopping model. “Bazaar, that Persian word of uncertain origin which has come to stand in English for the oriental market, becomes, like the word market it- self, as much an analytic idea as the name of an institution, and the study of it, like that of the market, as much a theoretical as a descriptive enterprise.” (Geertz, 1978, p. 29). During two visits, one in 2014 and one in 2009, I documented many aspect of two bazaars, one in north which is pecialised in fresh sea sails, fruits and craft and specialised craft bazaar in Isfahan called Isfahan Grand bazaar located in the north of Naqsh-e Jahan Square.

![A student-curated exhibition challenges notions of Iran ...]

Fruit and food markets are generally simpler; they are a mix of small-scale independent sellers and some larger shops who has a wider range of products. Shopping is primarily based on competitive price, quality, personal connections and reputation (for example you are more likely to buy daily requirements from fewer number of sellers that you know) and finally advertisement, which is based on merchants advertising their goods by shouting a competitive price or product tags and emphasise on certain aspect of their goods for example pomegranate from different regions and villages are famous for their unique tastes and flavours. In addition to this, vendors also try to observe potential customers and try to engage with them in a conversation or offering them a better price. Merchants also know some of their more usual costumers and they offer them free credit as well as better price taking their financial situation into consideration. In carpet and other markets where the price of goods are higher, there are mediators, whom their role is to first gain trust and then help consumers to navigate through the bazaar and take them to specific shops, which shops they would take consumers to, would be based on the commission and terms they have agreed with the retailers. Some shops they share one intermediary between them and some have dedicated mediators. In bazaar terms, these intermediaries are called “nocheh”. Nochehs can share their territories or have their own dedicated part of the bazaar that they declare as their space and they would challenge/bully any other mediators who would come into their space. They also spy on other merchants and are an important source of news and information for retailers to set their marketing and sale strategies accordingly. For many people traveling to developing countries, the human interaction is an overwhelming element of their experience. As Geertz (1978) argued the codes of practice that exist within these markets is not the unique and important part of them, what makes them different and important to analyse is its formation within bazaars. “…Information search, thus, is the really advanced art in the bazaar, a matter upon which everything turns…The structures enabling search and those casting obstructions in its path are thoroughly intertwined.” (Geertz, 1978, p. 30). The flexibility, multidimensionality and types of information and knowledge that bazaars 9contain and relies on make them a unique and central element of life in many parts of developing world.

The digital market is not noticeably different in their sale approach.

Practice I : OpenBubble

Alpha and Omega

In the beginning of this chapter I showed how variety of scientific disciplines alongside technology changed and transformed many aspects of our lives into a different materiality. Majority of our online interaction is available to us at no visible costs. The cost however slowly becoming more visible to the eyes of the consumers as they began to realise some of the ways companies deal with their personal information from health10 , to socio-political preferences to habits 11 . From the moment we use our personal computers, majority of them are actively collecting data about how we communicate with them, what software we are using, for how long, whether we are using them correctly or not. Most laptop and personal computers has either a version of Microsoft, Macintosh (Apple) or Linux. The case for who gets the user data is slightly simpler with Microsoft and Macintosh, however with Linux, since it has over 1000 versions, it entirely depends on who is supporting that specific version. This is prior to connecting a computer to the internet. In order to justify the extent and level of personal data spillage and sharing between companies the diagram below shows where users private data gets shared when visiting some widely used websites. For example by visiting the Gaurdian news website, instantly the user is connected to 11 third party websites. In addition to this, I used the list of 10 most popular websites on the internet according to Alexa Internet12 (subsidiary of Amazon). The diagram below is a screen capture of my browser opening these ten websites and lightbeam a firefox extension is visualising the connections. The browser extension identified 125 third party internet connections whilst I browsed 10 most popular websites.

Figure Screen capture from Lightbeam showing third party connections from 10 most popular websites

In addition to cookies sharing information with these third parties, companies also store users data in their databases and often share these with various partners. The new European data protection act obliged all websites to disclose list of partners that they share their users data with. For example, Yahoo’s privacy statement now has a list of 145 advertising partners that they share their users data with. What is even more surprising is when we look at data sharing over time. Next diagram shows a normal day of browsing with 85 websites visited. What began to emerge here is a connected network of advertisers. So now, the news organisation Guardian data network expands into a larger network of partners and advertisers. It is important to remember that lightbeam does not necessarily show a detailed list of third parties as some of these companies store users data and then share them via their own Application Programming Interface (API). They sell and share user’s data depending on what kind of deal and agreement they have with their users and partners.

Figure Screen capture from Lightbeam showing network of third parties after a day of using the internet

For example Yahoo’s cookie policy has a list of 145 partners that they share parts of their users data with.

Figure : Screen capture from Yahoo's Partner's list

Dailymail a heavily advertised news organisation cookie policy has a list of 1238 advertising partners that they share their users data with. There is also an additional list of direct partners, which consists of 7 companies that Dailymail share more data on their users with, these include Amazon A9, AppNexus, Facebook Advertising Network, Google double click for publishers, Lotame internet based advertising, Rubicon and Sortable. For example AppNexus is a multinational online advertising company that offers instant advertising to publishers. For instance if a consumer searches for a camping rucksack on ebay, the company can track users online behaviour at real-time and depending on whether they have bought a rucksack or not, ebay can show them different instant personalised advertisements. For example if they have purchased a rucksack, ebay or other advertisers can show them other useful camping gears, holiday deals for camping, bike rental and many more. “Part of AppNexus’s pitch is computing power: an advertiser has to receive an ad impression, analyze it, decide what to bid on it, and decide automatically what ad to show in less than a quarter of a second to avoid slowing down the page-load time. It also lets companies funnel what they know about a Web user into the ads they show that person. EBay, for instance, has files of information on its customers: what they’ve bought, what they’ve searched for, where they live. Previously eBay had to buy a block of ads from a network or exchange, and when someone it recognized showed up, they could partially customize the ad. Now, customers are offered one by one, and eBay — using AppNexus’s automated system — only bids on the ones it thinks are worthwhile.” (Clifford, 2010). One might argue that there is no danger in targeted personalised advertiing, however the danger comes when the user is not aware what information is advertising and pushing them to respond in a particular way and which ones are based on their need for information. Mager (2012) shows how search engines such as google, turns individual needs for information into a consumer desire through an amalgamation of promoted content, targeted advertisement and algorithmic biases which are engrained in the companies capitalist business model. Van Couvering (2008) showed how the search technology began with several competitors in the market and slowly moved towards three major corporations dominating the search industry. AppNexus was later purchased by AT&T

In 2015, I tried to join a car club scheme…

Gaurdian’s privacy policy on advertisement states “As you browse our site, some of the cookies and similar technology we place on your device are for advertising, so we can understand what sort of pages you read and are interested in. We can then display advertising on your browser based on these interests. For instance if you have been reading a lot of food and drink articles, you may be shown more adverts for food and drink.”.

Some of these data are sent to Microsoft if Windows operating system is being used and to Apple is Macintosh OS is being used. In May 2018, Cambridge Analytica started the insolvency process as the bad reputation and media outcry has resulted in the drainage of the majority of companies income and customers. The company stated the following, post its insolvency “Cambridge Analytica has been the subject of numerous unfounded accusations and, despite the Company’s efforts to correct the record, has been vilified for activities that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online advertising in both the political and commercial arenas” (Cambridge Analytica, 2018). The company branded itself as a global election management company. Previously worked on over 40 political races in America, managed Ted Cruz 2015 and Donald Trump 2016 elections as well as Britain leaving the EU campaign. The work of the company was based on a prediction model that Kosinski (2013) developed, suggesting that they could predict many personal traits of an individual by analysing their easily accessible digital records. The company extracted and used nearly 90 million facebook users data. Over the years, concerns with privacy and with the efforts of liberty and digital right organisations, a series of strategies and softwares were developed and introduce as a way to tackle individual’s privacy and human rights. In order to have a term to refer to these series of tools that their primary purpose is to disrupt or change our relationship with technology, I will refer to them as disruptive technologies. The disruptive technologies available on the internet can be broken down to a) access tools: b) privacy tools c) digital rights tools

During an interview about openbubble and importance of privacy, ubiquity in computing, Iain Ferguson, senior lecturer in cyber security from Abertay University stated that “From the moment you open your laptop, you are being tracked and followed even if you are not connected to the internet” (Ferguson, 2018, personal communication).

Questions I will answer here:

Why web extention?

Why openbubble?

How it connects to the theory mentioned earlier?

How it resonantes with current debates…

Data and privacy concerns

Bring some quotes from interviews and conversations with experts and openrightsgroup director I had earlier…

In order to develop an extention for firefox and other browsers, there are many technologies available, however the Webextentions API offers a portable solution that can be ported to Chrome, Foirefox and Safari.

some similar tools

“When all think alike, then no one is thinking.” – Walter Lippmann

Article on echo chamber and data bubble

Google ads according to their privacy statement[113] is based on search keywords, use of google maps, websites that the user visited and visits (through their analytics), videos you’ve watched on youtube and also other data that they collect from their partner organisation. In order to disrupt this data persona.

Ads is one of the main revenues of knowledge fascilitators such as google. We do have access to some of this without asking users for too much information. For example disrupting search persona or visiting websites outside the interest bubble of our users, however some others are more difficult for example google receives information about users wish lists and shopping baskets from some of their business partners which is not clear who they are and what they share and this data will be more difficult to disrupt. According to google’s privacy statement, they don’t read email content and they don’t analyse it. In addition in their “Your Data”14 page they also explain in general terms what data do they collect on each user these include:

In order to reverse engineer and disrupt data collections, ORG suggested to get a copy of my data on some of the platforms.

Diagram shows google dashboard allowing the users to download their data.

Once you complete the request, I got an email after a few hours with my data

In order to get the right format of data a request to Wikipedia needs to be sent, users can first generate their queries by using API sandbox to work their way through a very complex api with many properties and information filtering mechinisms which provides a great and flexible approach to data retrieval however complex for novice users.

Semantic joice is another example to query nad find controvercial topics.


Emails that you send and receive on Gmail

Contacts that you add

Calendar events

Photos and videos that you upload

Docs, Sheets and Slides on Drive

Personal Information


Email address and password

Date of birth


Telephone number


The extent of use for all of these information is beyond comprehention as the corporation uses these to offer many benefitial services. Who benefits most from these services is not clear and subject to many discussions and debate.

Google has a range of categories for sensitive ads allowing the users to block them, these include :

Birth control

Black Magic, Astrology & Esoteric

Cosmetic procedures & body modification

Consumer Loans


Downloadable Utilities

Typical examples include anti-virus software, file converters, driver updaters, system cleaners, download managers, disk defragmenters, codecs, browser toolbars, ringtones, screensavers, wallpapers, and so on.

Drugs & supplements

Get rich quick


Reference to sex & sexuality


Sexual and reproductive health

Social Casino Games

Video games (casual & online)

Weight loss

Gambling & Betting (18+)



“To be governed is to be watched over, inspected, spied on, directed, legislated, regimented, closed in, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, assessed, evaluated, censored, commanded; all by creatures that have neither the right, nor wisdom, nor virtue. . . . To be governed means that at every move, operation, or transaction one is noted, registered, entered in a census, taxed, stamped, priced, assessed, patented, licensed, authorized, recommended, admonished, prevented, reformed, set right, corrected.”(Chomsky, 2003, p.17)

Bhagwati (2007) one of the defenders of the globalisation, provides wide range of reasons to why globalisation is a positive force and it should be supported and inforced further, however he fails to justify his claims and he does not provide evidence to his claims. As shown in this chapter whilst I do no agree with Bhagwati's point about speeding up free market processes, I do agree that it is important to avoid completely crossing out some of the benefits that technological advancement brought into our lives. For example infant death rate has been significantly reduced through modern medicine and technological advancement, as well as many other health improvements, travel affordances, access to information through the internet and so on. The position that this thesis has however is a reconciling one. Scot (1998, p.311) argues that high modernism is in continues struggle with local knowledge. This is often through use of science as a dominant and imperial view which then called other forms of practical knowledge something between superstitions and insignificant. Scott (1998) suggests that, the high modernist manifestations have not fully instructed in our societies due to three factors, citizens private sphere of acting within the society, free market and lastly existence of labour and independent institutions like the unions that they resisted some of the changes that the establishments planned to initiate. Jacob (1992, p.32) argues that the “public peace” becomes possible not through the force of police, architectural planning, but through a “network of voluntarily controls and standards among the people themselves, and enforced by the people themselves.”

If we refer to all dynamic, practical knowledge forms as metis, looking at some complex human interactions shows the complexity of acuiring metis, for example a boxer who needs to learn many automatic responses to opponents moves through practice, this shows the fact that the essential part of acquiring metis is the experience itself (Scott, 1998, p.315). Acquiring metis that can be tranformed into action is a big challenge as the channels and methods to acquire any knowledge about the consequences of intitutional practices is through eighter biased media or through complicated channels of knowledge acquiring which requires much experience and specialisation. An evidence to this point is the fact that there are hundreds of organisations being specialist as puzzle makers who put the dispersed information togethwer to develop an image of an organisaiton, like corporatewatch, IRIS, Ethical screening as so on.

So the cruicial question to consider is:

How design can foster a new relationship with technology, a relationship that can offer a commensurable space for communities to take advantage of technology. Technologies that support community practices and their actor-hood and not technologies who support certain actor-hood that fits into the categorised and simplified communities of the googles and facebooks.

“Nor has the internet connected the legion of bloggers to a mass audience. In Britain, for instance, 79 per cent of internet users in 2008 had not read a single blog during the previous three months (ONS 2008).” (Curran et al., 2016, p. 20)


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  1. ^F^lightradar24 (Flightradar24, n.d.) shows a real-time flights information. In August 2015 security experts raised a terror attack on a royal helicopter due to the information about the aircraft being accessible via the website (Batchelor, 2015). 

  2. For examples of statistics about colonies see Necochea López (2010), in Britain and India (Cohn, 1996). In Scotland this was instigated largely by Sinclair (1791). For the anthropological study of colonialism see Pels (1997). 

  3. The first life insurance policy was issued in England in 1583 (Raynes, 1948, p. 113) 

  4. Although outside of the purview of this short paper it should be noted that the application of the politics of enumeration has been seen across all sectors of the social, from agriculture (Fitzgerald, 2005a, 2005b), economy and community (Marglin, 2008), to art and science238).anoff, 2003, p.that is where the public are fully engaged in the process of knowledge production. She argues or doing so sh) 

  5. We separate different communities by their expertise, such as policy-makers, experts, scientific community and then we have general public which sounds like a public with no purpose or expertise which only suffice the role of being a consumer. 

  6. Globalisation of the labour market, high concentration of certain types of manufacturing in developing countries, rise of new labour market based on highly skilled technological jobs see : X,Y,Z 

  7. Letters to Emails that can carry wide range of contents such as images, text, charts, diagrams, mobile phones, transformation of content delivery mediums from physical to digital content (for example news papers, online blogs, forums, …), Voice Over IP (VOIP) (Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram), Town halls to Social Networking Sites(SNS) such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. 

  8. Southern (2012) provides a range of examples of comobility and aims to broaden our understanding of the concept of being together. There is a considerable amount of work in mobility research dealing and challenging our understanding of what is it to be somewhere, the idea of body and its function and its relation to technology, the environment and each other. For examples see ADD SOME EXAMPLES HERE FROM MIXED METHODS PAPER (Thrift et al., 2014) 

  9. For more anthropological study of bazaars see Khuri’s (1968) detailed work on bargaining practices in middle east where he shows how bargaining generates trust and reduces conflict. There is not a huge body of literature on bazaars, however there is a substantial body of academic text on bargaining and economy of bazaars which I have not referenced here as the focus here is on the cultural and social aspects of life outside the economical lens. 

  10. In 2010 DeepMind a small start-up developed artificial intelligence to play video games the way humans do, the company been bought by Google in 2014 and since then it was part of googles branching into health care systems. In 2016 the company began to develop AI that was capble of predicting health deterioration and kidney failure in collaboration with NHS and as part of the agreement been given access to 1.6 million people’s health data. (Quinn, 2016) 

  11. NSA stored meta data on millions of internet users. The data includes pretty much everything they have done online, from browsing history to email activity to passwords (Ball, 2013). 

  12. Alexa is …..