irstly, we will discuss our definition of a theory of the cultural politics of control(Section 1). Secondly, we will discuss control in the context of the current debate on Net Neutrality in the United States and the potential impact for the rest of the world(Section 2). Thirdly, we will discuss the rules of the Internet as control mechanisms,cultural sensitivities behind government censorship and surveillance, and the specificcase of Google¶s exit from China (Section 3). The last section explores the impact of design on the user experience and some implications for privacy (Section 4). We willend the paper with a brief summary and conclusion.
Section 1: A Theory of the Cultural Politics of Control
Cultural studies is undergoing a metaphorical change, akin to a mid-life crisis, re-imagining itself as a research methodology
. It is deeply rooted in a democratic visionto investigate the link between the study of culture and power (Couldry 2000: 2). Butit has been stuck in the same groove, analyzing popular culture as an ³out of body´experience, outside of the experiential and never part of it (Couldry 2000: 3). As aresult, cultural studies focused on ³where the light shines, not where the shadowsappear´ (Couldry 2000: 3). Cultural studies must analyze culture from the inside byembracing the complexity of the experiential
, but at the same time, leaving space toquestion (objectively) and to allow for reflexivity (Bourdieu and Nice 2004: 4)
(subjectively). Using this approach to examine the cultural politics of control, we aimto apply the attributes of openness (Gadamer 2004: 355, 546)
, complexity (Mill2006: 466)
and reflexivity (Couldry 2000: 4).
, written in 2000, is based on the premise that there is a crisis of methods incultural studies.
Couldry is critical of recent cultural studies for lapsing into excessively complex language but recognizes that there is a need for a theory of cultural complexity.
Pierre Bourdieu describes reflexivity as every word that can be uttered about scientificpractice can be turned back on the person who utters it. (Bourdieu 2004: 4)
In Truth and Method, Gadamer explains openness as a hermeneutic experience it is commonbond that involves recognizing that I myself must accept some things that are against me, eventhough no one else forces me to do so (Gadamer 2004: 355) and our capacity for openness to areality which does not correspond to our opinions, our fabrications, our previous expectations(Gadamer 2004: 546) depends on whether it is possible to escape the sphere of influence of oureducation or our socialization, all of which is influenced by linguistics.
J. S. Mill describes complexity as effects which depend on a complication of causes can be madethe subject of a true induction by observation and experiment (p. 466) i.e. in social sciences,there are factors too numerous to be ascertained or noted, or too rapidly in flux to provide thenecessary stable conditions to separates causes from contingently accompanying factors.