Towards Marxian Internet Studies
AbstractThis article gives an overview of example approaches of Critical Internet Studies and points out key concepts of this field. Critical Cyberculture Studies and Critical Political Economy/Critical Theory of the Internet are identified as two approaches in Critical Internet Studies. The paper also discusses the role of 11 Marxian concepts for Critical Internet Studies. Marxian concepts that have been reflected in Critical Internet Studies include: dialectics, capitalism, commodification, surplus value/exploitation/alienation/class, globalization, ideology, class struggle, commons, public sphere, communism, and aesthetics. The paper points out the importance of explicitly acknowledging the importance of Karl Marx’s thinking in Critical Internet Studies. Marx’s concepts are today frequently used implicitly, without acknowledging and engaging with their roots. A critique of the approach of “Critical” Cyberculture Studies is advanced. This approach is compared to the approaches of Critical Theory and Critical Political Economy of the Internet. The difference between these two approaches reflects the debate about class exploitation and non-class domination between Cultural Studies and Critical Political Economy in Media and Communication Studies.
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