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Logistical Media Theory, the Politics of Time, and the Geopolitics of Automation

Provincial Media Theory

Like all theory, media theory is troubled by its provincialism, even if it struggles to take note of this common condition. As many readers may recall, Heidegger famously refused a chair in Berlin, instead preferring to stay in the provinces. While the negative attributes of repressive culture, neurotic personas, and social intolerance are readily piled upon the experience of provincial life, there nonetheless remains something positive to be said about provincialism: it can provide conditions for the crafting of unique concepts that, when combined with deep historical knowledge, generate a legacy that spans generations. But what happens when ontological conditions change from the security of the earth to the technical contours of media systems? How might such a transition from governance of the self and community to technical architectures of biopolitical control also register an epochal shift of geopolitical proportions as automation increasingly takes command?

* Essay forthcoming in Matthew Hockenberry, Nicole Starosielski, and Susan Zieger (eds), Assembly Codes: The Logistics of Media (Durham: Duke University Press, in press 2021). PDF here.

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