Wendy Chun: Imagined Networks, Affective Connections

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That we live in a networked society has become a cliché. From high-speed financial networks that erode national sovereignty to Twitter feeds that foster new political alliances to viruses that threaten global catastrophe, networks allegedly encapsulate everything new—politically, culturally, militarily—about our current era. But what are networks and how do they matter? How do they differ from one another? How are they experienced and negotiated—what feelings of paranoia, empowerment, and inclusion/exclusion do they engender? This talk wagers that the answer to these questions lies in how networks are imagined. That is, the power of “networks” as a theoretical tool stems from how they enable us to link between the global and the
local—two scales allegedly irrevocably disconnected in the postmodern era. Rather than simply dissolving postmodern confusion, though, networks have created intriguing new crises and social formations.

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