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Open media paradox.

Hegemony after decentralization
Katarina Peović Vuković
Department of Cultural Studies, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Pilosopy
Sveu!ili"na avenija #, $%&&& Rijeka, Croatia
)reakin* te +edia Value Cain, V,, ,nternational Conference on Communication and Reality,
)arcelona, %- .une / %# .uly, 0&%-, )lan1uerna2Universitat Ramon 3ull
4e aim of tis paper is to address the paradox of open media (political universalism on the one hand,
and profit orientation on the other) through application of philosophical understandings of concepts
such as citizenship, democracy, hegemony and public sphere. The paper analyzes the differences in
understanding of public sphere, or (not necessarily evolved into) politics of the Net, as differences
wider from the question of new media, or the Internet, and situates the questions in the contemporary
debates in political philosophy. The paper take the initial cue as a possibility for departure from model
of political pluralism actual in social theory of the Net, a model that promoted the universality of the
Net through the concept of identity politics, and investigate different theoretical concepts of politics
founded on the notion of antagonism.
Key 5ords6 social net5orkin*, mass self2communications, e*emony, ideolo*y, pu7lic spere
Indroduction – open culture
,n an essay 84e Culture ,ndustry6 9nli*tenment as +ass Deception: from %;##( 4eodor <dorno and
+a= >orkeimer esta7lised till today valua7le and often cited criti1ue of 5at tey defined as
8cultural industries?( Cultural industries @tat produce films, radio and ma*aAinesB are :infectin*
everytin* 5it seameness:, since tey :form a system?( 89ac 7ranc of culture is unanimous 5itin
itself and all are unanimous to*eter? @0&&06;CB( <dorno and >orkeimer ela7orated t5o mutually
related and insepara7le e*emonic *estures( 4e first one is an standardiAation of culture, and second is
a commodification of culture, 5ic 7ot emer*ed form te fact tat culture is produced as any oter
*ood for mass2consummation(
,t seems tat te main criti1ue to5ard mass media, formulated 7y Frankfurt scool is no lon*er valid(
DecentraliAed media net5orks, participatory media, amateur culture, D,D culture, p0p net5orks @suc
as Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, Flickr, YouTube, Diigo, etc(B are not mass media in <dorno and
>orkeimerEs sense( 4ose media does not produce unified commodity( ,s it possi7le to discuss media
e*emony, if 5e take into account te sift tat appened 5it ne5 media, te turnin* of te mass
media into 8mass self2communications? @Castells, 0&&;BF ,n is study Communication Power from
0&&;( +anuell Castells ela7orates te difference( 4e mass communication on YouTube can potentially
reac a *lo7al audience, 7ut it is not centraliAed dissemination of mass2media content, 7ut self
produced messa*e of te consumer tat 7ecame producer (Castells, 2009:55). 4e foundations of
decentraliAed structure of te Get communication are net5ork protocols, primary 4CPH,P protocols tat
allo5 direct peer2to2peer communication 7et5een t5o computers( 4e outcome of tis decentraliAation
is emer*ence of oriAontal media models suc as social net5orkin* sites, and oter tools for
communication, production, consumption, and distri7ution of personal data, includin* poto*raps,
te=t, video(
,n tat 5ay decentraliAed media, disjoint, 5at <dorno and >orkeimer understood as insepara7le
union6 te standardiAation of mass2media content and its commodification( +ass self2communications
are no lon*er standardiAed, produced from one center( Got only tat decentraliAed media 7ecame a tool
of amateur culture, 7ut it 7ecame a political tool( ,n recent political istory social net5orks 5ere
fre1uently used as or*aniAin* tools of protests, marces, revolutions( 4ere are numerous e=amples(
<mon* tem is so called +oldovaEs 45itter revolution, and ,ranian 45itter election protests, tat 7ot
took place in 0&&;( @,n Croatia, in 0&%%(, 5e ave seen Face7ook anti2*overment protests, etc(B Social
net5orks 5ere used particularly 7y tose *roups tat promoted democratiAation and values of open
society( Some claim tat 45itter and Face7ook temselves played important role in political events,
since usin* of tose net5orks elped protesters to overcome te censorsip of repressive systems
@Sirky, 0&&;B( ,f tat is a case, can 5e simply a*ree 5it common statement tat under te deat of
vertical system of ne5s 5e are today facin* te can*es not only in production of media content, 7ut
also in nature of politicsF < parado=ical 1uestion from te optimist point of vie5, 5ould 7e 5eter itEs
still possi7le to discuss 8media e*emony?F ,f 5e take into account <dorno and >orkeimerEs criti1ue
of cultural industries, te criti1ue of standardiAation and commodification of culture, 5at strike us is
te nature of contemporary mass2culture, te fact tat commodification can e=ist 5itout mass2media
Arab spring, “radical transparency” and other symptoms of centralizing the et
+ark Iucker7er* in an intervie5 in te Jired ma*aAine stated tat te tin* e really cares a7out is
8te mission, makin* te 5orld open? @Sin*el, 0&%&B( Kn is Face7ook profile Iucker7er* 5rites6 8,Lm
tryin* to make te 5orld a more open place 7y elpin* people connect and sare(? )ut, isnEt it an empty
statement, sym7olic e=can*e in 5ic 5e ave 8free coice? 7ut at te same time 5e kno5 5ic
coice is te ri*t oneF Connectin* and sarin* on social net5orks are limited to proper codes and
implied definitions( ,f notin* else, te freedom is limited 7y Face7ookEs 8terms of service? 5ic
proi7its porno*rapy and anonymity, 5ile allo5s tar*eted advertisin*( <s a result of tis particular
definition of 8open communication?, personal data 7ecame a common sared 7y Face7ook 5it tird

Political aspect of suc definition 7ecame o7vious durin* te <ra7 revolution at 0&%&( and 0&%%( Usin*
social net5orks as pu7lic space for or*aniAin* revolutions revealed tat anonymous communication is
not only conformist practice @practice of sarin* porno*rapic content, for e=ampleB( Protesters in
9*ypt e=tensively used Face7ook as tool for or*aniAin* protests( Kn te sevent day of protests in
9*ypt, Face7ook noted in a meek statement tat 8te turmoil in 9*ypt is a matter for te 9*yptian
people and teir *overnment to resolve? @cited from +el7er, 0&%%B( Gever te less, durin* te days of
revolution Face7ook corporation suspended one of protester *roup 7ecause administrators 5ere usin*
pseudonyms( Censorsip 5as not provoked 7y decision of Face7ook to enter political arena, nor
7ecause corporation ad any political preference in local matters, or specific point of vie5, 7ut it 5as
te lo*ical outcome of Face7ookEs terms of service and commodification of private informations(

4ere is fundamental difference 7et5een Face7ookEs definition of openness and openness of oter
*roups on te ,nternet @suc as anarcical, ille*al p0p file sarin* *roupsB( 4e Face7ookEs definition of
openness on te ,nternet presents specific ne5 media 7acklas( ,t is a process of ne5 type of
centraliAation of communication tat ori*inally @in te early days of te ,nternetB 5as decentraliAed(
% Face7ookEs marketin* system can tar*et users accordin* to several data6 a*e, place, interests, and it is more precise tan
Moo*le <dJors( 4ere 5ere several la5 suites a*ainst Face7ookEs 7ecause of jeopardiAin* privacy of users( <mon*
tem 5as )eacon scandal from 0&&N( 5en company implemented ne5 model of commercialiAation of private
information( System collected information from partner 5e7 sites in order to more precisely personaliAe marketin* on
users Ge5s Feed( Private users la5 suits forced Face7ook to modify te )eacon system, so no5 it can 7e sut do5n(
0 4e value of te information a7out user can easily 7e verified( Study on te cost of +arketin* on Face7ook so5ed tat
investin* in Face7ook pays off, and tat te cost of o7tainin* fun is %,&NO @Flo5to5n, 0&%%B(
Confrontation 7et5een Face7ook users and company, is, never te less, part of lar*er pro7lem of
privacy on te ,nternet(

4e 1uestion tat is imposin* in era of open media, is what exactly is openF ,nstead of open platform
for sarin* @of any dataB and connectin* @anonymouslyB, Face7ook is proposin* 5at company defined
as a concept of 8radical transparency?( 4e term refers to supposedly voluntarily act of users to sare
teir informations 5itout restraint( Kne of many +ark Iucker7er*Es statements tat provoked pu7lic
reaction, revealed te 7rutally of te system6 8Dou ave one identity( 4e days of you avin* a different
ima*e for your 5ork friends or co25orkers and for te oter people you kno5 are pro7a7ly comin* to
an end pretty 1uickly(? >e doesnEt esitate to add e=treme conclusion6 8>avin* t5o identities for
yourself is an e=ample of a lack of inte*rity(? @cited from Kirpatrick, 0&%&6%;;B(
Fundamentally, 5at Iucker7er* declares as 85ill to transparency?, is a distortion of ori*inal idea of
openness( 4e success of Face7ook is 7ased on connectin* people and promotin*, till ten
unima*ina7le, transparent communication( <nonymously postin* on Face7ook is not te 7est 5ay to
use tis net5ork( Critics ar*ued tat Iucker7er* statement is so5in* te lack of social intelli*ence(
David Kirpatrick tinks tat distrustful approac on privateness is typical for youn* man, and tat is
pose tat 5ould terrify any mature person( Pro7lem is, claims Kirpatrick, tat Face7ook e=ecutives still
doesnEt understand tat tere are some tin*s people 5ould rater keep for temselves( 4is remark on
Iucker7er* is typical, 7ecause it supports te myt a7out socially unintelli*ent, 7ut in any oter 5ay
7rilliant, youn* man( )ut 5ile Iucker7er*Es oter skills, suc as pro*ramin*, are 1uestiona7le, is
social intelli*ence is no lees tan visionary( 4e transparency is te most important element of success
in collectin* friends on Face7ook(
)ut, Face7ookEs vision of sarin* and connectin* is disappointin* from te point of vie5 of 5at can
7e defined as autentic 8radical openness?, 5ic 5ould 7e te openness of radical democracy and
pu7lic spere( Corporative lo*ic defines radical transparency as transparency of users, tat are
unprotected and open for commercialiAation and e=ploitation of teir data( Jile radical openness
sould 7e radical transparency of system( Jillin*ness to communicate openly 5it real name and
surname doesnEt imply 5illin*ness to su7mit to e=ploitative corporative Panopticon( Kn te oter and,
5ile users of Face7ook are su7mitted to Face7ookEs radical transparency, corporation is radically non2
transparent( Kf course, one could pose more radical 1uestion, 5y sould net5ork platforms 7e defined
as a pu7lic spere, at allF @4e 1uestion very similar to, till te days of television, common remark6
?Dou can al5ays s5itc te pro*ram?( )ot statements are i*norin* te matter of po5er, if notin* else
te po5er of media to represent certain definition of reality, in 5ic one 5o sut do5n pro*ram
doesnEt participate(B
!he Internet as public sphere
4e idea of te ,nternet as pu7lic spere ori*inates from early days of Jorld Jide Je7( 9arly virtual
communities descri7ed 7y teir pioneer and teoretician >o5ard Rein*old, 5ere pu7lic spaces for
communication @Rin*old, %;;-B( Rin*old and oter implementors coined te term virtual agora, in
order to accent te political aspect, and potential of democratiAation of society trou* te uses of te
,n is essay 8Cy7erdemocracy6 ,nternet and te Pu7lic Spere? +ark Poster ela7orated te
importance to use .Pr*en >a7ermasE idea of pu7lic spere, 7ut to redefine it so to include virtual spaces
of net5ork communication @Poster, %;;CB(
- Donna >arra5ay and oter cy7er2feminists considered te Get to 7e an ideal political spere for deconstruction of
*ender and te tool for ne5 emancipatory politics, since disem7odiment creates a possi7ilities for overcomin* of te
lo*ocentrism and patriarcal order @>arra5ay, %;;%B( )ut, te most important lecture of <ra7 sprin* concernin*
tecnolo*y could 7e tat te most valua7le political aspect of ,nternet communication is not only disem7odiment, 7ut a
possi7ility of anonymous communication( @,snEt it te fundamental value 7eind <nonymous movementFB
# >o5ard Rein*old descri7ed te cy7erspace as 8a social petri dis?, to accent te openness of virtual communities
to5ard e=periment and opportunity for esta7lisin* ne5 forms of democratic society @%;;-B(
)ut at te same time, skeptical voices raised te 1uestion of te real political caracter of Jorld Jide
Je7( )ennett Voyles in is essay a7out popular 5e7 site, e2tepeople(com @site promoted democracy
and provoked political de7atesB, descri7es te net5ork as kind of 8political karaoke 7ar?( <ltou* te
Get offers free pu7lic space for political de7ate, it is o7vious, claims Voyles, tat country doesnEt 5ant
to 7e saved @0&&-6%CB( 4e majority of de7ates are to emotional and focused on 5ron* tin*s( ,n Je7
0(& era penomenon of slactivism furter supports te tesis a7out te disinterested community(
Slactivism is pejorative term for activism tat is e=austin* 5it te declarative support to te cause
+edia activist Meert 3ovink commented6 8, see 7lo*s as part of an unfoldin* process of :massification:
of tis still ne5 medium( Jat te ,nternet lost after 0&&& 5as te :illusion of can*e:? @3ovin*,
0&&NB( Simplification of di*ital tools, transition of early virtual communities to5ards Je7 0(& social
net5orks is accompanied 5it commodification of net5ork communication( ,n suc transition Je7
partially centraliAed(
Politics of Je7 0(& platforms is not an isolated issue( ,t is a part of 7roader penomenon of
depolitiAation of pu7lic spere( .Pr*en >a7ermas dia*nosed dan*erous process of 8scientiAation of
politics and pu7lic opinion?( ,n suc depoliticiAed society 8functions of te e=pert from tose of te
politician? are separatin* @%;Q&6C-B( 4e final form of tis political model 5ould 7e a7solute
independence of te professionals( ,n final form of tat technocratic society politician 5ould 7ecome
8te mare a*ent of scientific intelli*entsia, 5ic, in concrete circumstances, ela7orates te o7jective
implications and re1uirements of availa7le tecni1ues and resources as 5ell as of optimal strate*ies and
rules of control? @%;Q&6C-2C#B( 4e process of scientiAation tat can 7e tracked even from +a= Je7er
5o imself follo5ed te tradition of 4omas >o77es, is present in te most radical 5ay in te
political definition of mass2self communications( Since media no lon*er re1uire standardiAation
@uniformity of cultural2sym7olic productionB, political aspect of production is no lon*er re1uired(
Political aspect 5as, for e=ample, o7vious in te era of formin* of nations, in nineteen century 5en
ne5spaper played important role in omo*eniAation of citiAens( Social net5orkin* sites, on te oter
and, played important political role in imposin* democracy in <ra7 5orld, 7ut suc role 5as not a
matter of media political project( Get5orks acted as impartial o7servers 5ose role is not political 7ut
economically2pra*matical( ,t is not a direct, 7ut indirect relation of installation of ne5 market
economies in <ra7 5orld, in a form of depoliticiAed media tools(
Suc relation @market economyHdepoliticiAed mediaB is actual in so called post2ideolo*ical societies(
Post2ideolo*ical societies are not societies in 5ic ideolo*y 7ecome insolvent, 7ut societies in 5ic
ideolo*y offers te most dan*erous ideolo*ical *esture(
,n suc societies ideolo*y or ideolo*ical
8fantasy?, in Slavoj RiSek terminolo*y, in order to 7e affective firstly as to declare tat it is non2
ideolo*ical, universal @%;Q;6-&B
( Declared universalism of te late capitalism is inscri7ed in politics of
social net5orks as 5ell as oter pu7lic speres tat aim at vie5 pointEs universalism( Kn te oter and
Face7ook and its 8terms of uses? are descri7in* te profita7le oriented 8pu7lic? space( <s <ra7 sprin*
e=ample so5s, suc ideolo*ical matters are 5orkin* 7eside te formal interface level( Usin*
$ ,n is study The et Delusion 9v*eny +oroAov ela7orates te case of oa= campai*n for savin* Stork fountain in
Copena*en, 5ic 5asnEt actually endan*ered( +oroAov claims tat tis is a classic e=ample of social net5orks
political activism tat doesnEt re1uire any effort, and tere fore serves only to impress friends @0&%%6 %QC/%QNB(
C ,n is study The !nd of "deology, Daniel )ell ar*ued tat ideolo*y ave come to its end 7ecause of a triump of
Jestern democratic politics and capitalism @%;C&B( <lain 4ouraine in is study The post#industrial society in %;N#(
offered a reply to tis naive 7elievin* tat 5e are livin* in societies 5itout political conflicts, statin* tat tere is a
need to re2define teory of ideolo*y, to offer te description of ne5 te era of post2industrial society in 5ic ne5
forms of e*emony occurred(
N Peter Sloterdijk descri7ed contemporary ideolo*y as cynical @trou* te formula Etey kno5 very 5ell 5at tey are
doin*, 7ut still, tey are doin* itEB, 7ut RiSek insisted tat an ideolo*y is not a matter of kno5led*e 7ut matter of doin*(
RiSek ar*ued tat ideolo*y 5ould 7e cynical if an ideolo*y 5ould ave 7een a matter of 7elievin* @kno5led*eB, since
an ideolo*y is a matter of actin* accordin* to certain ideas, it cannot 7e cynical, 7ut it is a form of inverted +ar=
formula of ideolo*y as false consciousness( Contemporary su7jects kno5 8tat, in teir activity, tey are follo5in* an
illusion, 7ut still, tey are doin* it? @%;Q;6-%B(
Face7ook in <ra7 revolution so5s tat te capitalism, as Slavoj RiSek pointed is a name of truly
8neutral economic2sym7olic macine? @0&&Q6%$CB(
9*yptian people lived lon* enou* in totalitarian system tat depoliticiAation of pu7lic spere and
scientiAation of politics seemed proper solutions for unitin* and resolvin* conflicts and local
anta*onisms( Commodification of pu7lic spere even no5 seems as minor pro7lem( Jael Monim
central fi*ure durin* 9*yptian protests stated6 8,f you 5ant to li7erate society just *ive tem te
<ra7 sprin* 5as istorical moment in 5ic transition to5ard post2ideolo*ical society
7e*an( Post2totalitarian system of Jestern democracy seemed ideal form open to5ard different
political and reli*ious vie5 points( ,t is 5ell kno5n fact tat 9*yptian people tanked Face7ook for itEs
role in te revolution( Protesters carried 7anners statin*6 84ank you Face7ook?( @4e most 7iAarre
e=ample of displayin* *ratitude to tis company 5as namin* of ne5 7orn cildren after tis social
Social net5orks indifferent to political and reli*ious perspectives of protesters, and at te same time
operational tool for or*aniAin* protests, 5ere ideal type of media( Social net5orks provided space for
communication, tools for or*aniAin* events, a**re*atin* of various contents from oter 5e7 sites, etc(
,t 5as an ideal tool not only 7ecause of it efficiency, 7ut, parado=ically, also 7ecause of itEs
depoliticiAed nature( Simply, 9*yptian people used Face7ook as pu7lic spere defined in te era of
post2political systems( <t te same time, 5at people parado=ically 5ere missin* 5as actually /
autentic pu7lic spere(
4e protesters used te space despite its private caracter( ,n te eyes of protesters role of te Face7ook
5as similar to role of a s1uare( 4arir s1uare 5as main s1uare 5ere revolution appened( 4e
importance of tis s1uare emer*es from its pu7lic caracter( Similarly, protesters used Face7ook not
7ecause tey particularly liked tis social net5ork, 7ut 7ecause it 5as te most fre1uently used social
net5ork in 9*ypt( 4arir s1uare and Face7ook 5ere not revolutionary in temselves( ,t 5ould 7e
parado=ical to state tat Face7ook or*aniAed revolution @as it 5ould 7e comic to say tat 4arir s1uare
or*aniAed revolutionB( Gever te less, te structure of 7ot determined te structure of revolution(
@<rcitecture of pu7lic spaces is very important political 1uestion, as 5ell as it sould 7e te 1uestion
of arcitecture of te Get(B <ltou* Face7ook is private place, people simply used it as a pu7lic space,
till te difference of teir concept of openness resulted 5it conflict( ,n tis case te conflict 5as not so
pu7lic( )ut tere 5ere cases in 5ic difference of te private corporative lo*ic of depoliticiAed market
economy and te lo*ic of revolution collapsed(
"onclusion. Antagonism as structural foundation of open culture
)ecause of suc comple=ity, tere is not an easy task to descri7e 5at 5ould 7e te counter2cultural
po5er of te Get5ork( 4ere is serious pro7lem present 5itin oppositional cultures, as 5ell as 5itin
critical teory, sociolo*y and oter discourses tat le*itimated counter2po5er of net5orks, te pro7lem
of repeatin* te post2ideolo*ical matri=, te same one tat is responsi7le for contemporary ideolo*ical
fantasy( Critical teory and sociolo*y sometimes define net5ork as universal place, as non2conflict
space tat promotes an idea of openness, communication and plurality of identities( +anuel Castells
offered te 7asic formula, e descri7ed te te Get as a7stract, universal instrumental place, tat
transforms te Self tat is particular and istorically rooted @0&&&6-B( Similarly, Pierre 3Tvy accented
Q Moo*le mana*er Jael Monim mo7iliAed protesters trou* Face7ook *roup 8Je are all Kaled Saeed? tat 5as an
oma*e to youn* man 7eaten to deat 7y a police(
; <fter +u7arakEs re*ime in 9*ypt fallen do5n in .une 0&%%, VodafoneEs pilot2advert occurred on te ,nternet( 4e
advert 5as implyin* tat company 5it its tecnolo*ical solutions inspired 9*yptian revolution( <dvert stated6 8Je did
not send people to te streets((( Je did not start te revolution((( Je only reminded 9*yptians o5 po5erful tey are(((?(
Falsification 5as radical 7ecause Vodafone 5as one of tree mo7ile operators tat decided to soot do5n
communication net5ork under te order of +u7arakEs re*ime( +o7ile pones and te ,nternet 5ere soot do5n for a
5eek, 5at resulted 5it caos, not only in communication system, 7ut also 5it lo*istic and transport of te 5ounded
to ospitals(
li7eration of a su7ject trou* te universal caracter of virtual net5orks( For 3Tvy te Get as
8universal 5itout totality?, is a place in 5ic totality could not survive 7ecause te Get includes 8all
people 5it teir differences, and even 5it differences 5itin temselves? @3Tvy, 0&&%6 ;%B$ <ltou*
Castells and 3Tvy empasiAed the importance of the social context, they are still conceptualizing the
media and communication practices within the dominant neoliberal post-political matrix of universality
of post-ideological societies. In such societies, as Chantal Mouffe concludes "the aspect of
detotalization and decentring prevails while !dispersion of sub"ect positions is transformed into an
effective separation" #$%%&'((). ,nstead of dispersion and separation tere is a need to ela7orate te Get
and te society in a 5ole as a place of stru**le
( )y follo5in* 3aclau and +ouffeEs ar*umentation as
5ell as >a7ermasE definition of pu7lic spere, te counter2po5er of te Get can 7e descri7ed in ne5
terms( ,t is not a po5er of universal instrumental place, 7ut a po5er of :a radical democratic
citiAensip:( *rnesto +aclau and Chantal Mouffe in their influential elaboration offered the concept of
,radical democracy-. It is a democratic citizenship of a common political identity that is not forming a
unity, but a new hegemony articulated through new egalitarian social relations, practices and
institutions. In short, since the .et is truly universal, it functions as a symptom of what is missing in the
contemporary definition of universalism. Complementarity and possibilities to overcome our
particularities #as in the case of /rab spring was the main agenda) is typical political shift in the
depoliticized society where sub"ects are becoming aware that their cultural bac0ground is something
contingent. Instead of insisting on relation between universal and particular, 1lavo" 2i3e0 argued, they
should change places. 4or 2i3e0, series of universal interpretative matrices are all !answers to the
5absolute particularity6 of the traumatic 7eal, of the imbalance of antagonisms which throws out of
"oint, and thereby 5particularises6 the neutral-universal frame. #2i3e0, $%%8'0%N, my cursive)
4ollowing several post-Marxist theories of culture, antagonism should be installed in the center of
argumentation. Instead of pluralism of identities, overcoming of particularities of the historical content,
as Castells proposed, antagonism is a foundation for radical democracy.
9o describe democracy through its antagonistic character, means to recognize an ideology as a form of
distortion. 9he classical Marxist maxim states' !the ideas of ruling class are in every epoch the ruling
ideas. :ut as /lexander 7. ;alloway stated,!the paradox of the .et, !is that it emerges from
<openness, inclusion, universalism, and flexibility< #;alloway, =>>8'$?=). In such order, it is obvious
that hegemony is a matter of social consent. Political model of distri7utive media is no 5ay different
form oter speres tat articulate personal needs in neoli7eral society( 4ose fields act as fields of
stru**le for cultural meanin*( 4e neo2Mramscian perspective proposed 7y cultural studies offers
useful tool for understandin* te parado= of media( ,n understandin* cultural meanin*s, cultural studies
appropriated te concept of e*emony( ,n Jestern society, claims <ntonio Mramsci, e*emony is not
esta7lised 7y violent acts, 7ut trou* a process of ne*otiations a7out meanin*s @Mramsci, %;N%B(
4e fundamental force 7eind te <ntonio MramsciEs notion of e*emony, follo5ed 7y 3ouis
<ltusserEs teory of ideolo*ical state apparatuses, is an accentuation of 8te EspontaneousE consent? of
te masses( Mramscian teory of ideolo*y in cultural studies is approaced in te ela7oration of te co2
optation, or appropriation of autenticHalternative cultures @R( Jilliams, S( >all, R( .onsonB( Slavoj
RiSek descri7es, in similar 5ay, e*emony in an era of non2ideolo*y( >e*emony is te 8form of
appearance, te formal distortionH displacement, of non2ideolo*y? @%;;;6%Q$B( ,n order to 7e effective,
5rites RiSek, every e*emonic universality as to incorporate at least two particular contents 8te
EautenticE popular content and its EdistortionE 7y te relations of domination and e=ploitation?
Raymond Jilliams in is essay 8)ase and Superstructure in +ar=ist Cultural 4eory? @%;Q&B descri7ed
in details 5at can 7e defined as a distortion of autentic culture @Jilliams doesnEt use tat termB(
Jilliams appropriated Mramscian perspective and proposed te idea tat culture is a field of stru**le
%& Separation and dispersion is present in different ela7orations, amon* 5ic 5e can locate Castells and 3TvyEs
definitions of te Get, 7ut te most prominent is Paolo VirnoEs ela7oration of 8multitude?(
7et5een traditional, oppositional and alternative cultures( ,deolo*y is not simply an reflection of rulin*
class idea, 7ut a matter of ne*otiations( Jile oppositional culture aims at o5ertro5in* of te rulin*
culture, alternative offers completely different forms of culture( Jatever te de*ree of internal
conflict 7et5een opositional and dominant cultures, opossitional 5ill never 8*o 7eyond te limits of te
central effective and dominant definitions? @Jilliams, %;Q&6-%/#;B
JilliamEs model can easily 7e applied on ne5 forms of media production, in order to illustrate a
t5ofold clas( 4e first is a clas 7et5een traditional cultural industries and oppositional economic
models 5ic introduce ne5 forms of immaterial production and distri7ution( 4e second is more
comple= form of a cultural 7attle, 5it lo*ic tat seems immanent to so called post2ideolo*ical era( ,t is
a stru**le 7et5een emer*ent media models of immaterial production and distri7ution, present in serial
and etero*eneous forms @from social net5orks, di*ital e2readers, to mo7ile pones applicationsB and
8alternative? cultural p0p practices tat are jeopardiAin* te foundations of cultural industries /
copyri*t la5s( JilliamsE model is today takin* te form of a clas 7et5een traditional cultural
industries and oppositional economic models tat propose ne5 forms of immaterial distri7ution( Jile
mainstream media offer an illusion of openness, te alternative peer2to2peer economies are proposin*
radical opposition to neoli7eral models of production, consumption and distri7ution(
4aceboo0 is classical example of, what @illiams defines as oppositional culture, which distorts the
original authentic idea. It is exactly a culture of subordinated citizens to which 4aceboo0 is presenting
authentic idea, but distorted so it can serve the needs of ruling class. Aistorted idea, never the less, no
longer have an authentic substance. /lthough today emergent media cultures presents horizontal media
structure, and turns consumer into participant, the fundament of corporative mar0et industry is
distorting the original idea of openness. 4aceboo0<s specific definition of freedom and free sharing, is
not imposing radically different model, but is only installing new models of mar0et economy,
innovation in businesses model. 4aceboo0, as emergent mar0et model presents specific distortion of
original free culture of sharing and connecting
. In other words dominant cultures aim at pacification
of the cultural conflict.
@hat could be the milestone in the contemporary conflictB 9he important difference that separates
oppositional models from other political struggles is that the Cuestion of public access. 9he character of
the .et is defined by standardization, agreements, organized implementation D processes invisible to an
average user. /lthough the structure of the .et seems unchangeable, its political character is sub"ect to
social consensus. 9he most important shift that ta0es place with the coming of the @eb =.> platform is
centralization on the ground of new economic models. *mergent models doesn<t perpetuate existing
cultural industries< model, but propagate, in its historical essence, authentic idea of openness and
inclusion. :ut instead of radical democratic vision, there are offering regeneration of neoliberal
9o conclude, what we are witnessing on the .et today is not explosion of public space, but type of
universalism that is responsible for establishing a new form hegemony in post-ideological era. Conflict
between dominant and emergent cultures is more complex than the conflict of a traditional #dominant)
and oppositional culture. In order to recognize one of the fundamental conflict in the era of late
capitalism, it is important to describe specific distortion of original networ0 culture. 1uch distortion is
transforming the .et into more and more centralized place and is imposing the need to once again thing
about theory of 4ran0furt school and critically approach commodification of media communication.
<dorno, 4eodor U +a= >orkeimer @V%;##W 0&&0B 84e Culture ,ndustry6 9nli*tenment as +ass
%%Kn te oter and, peer to peer services are one of te rare cultures tat are radically opposin* e=istin* capitalist modes
of production(
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