Beyond Surveillance and Accelerationism:
On the Political Potential of Hypersocial Networks

June 23-26, 2020
10.00 am – 12.00 pm


The seminar starts from contemporary theorizations of the capture of digital networking by technology-based corporations which are seen as constituting new and distinctive types of capitalism (such as communicative capitalism, platform capitalism, biocognitive capitalism, surveillance capitalism and so on) characterised by an unprecedented computational capacity to extract value from social life. Such socio-technical milieus are also accused to be vulnerable to the rise and spread of right wing populisms through concerted and coordinate campaigns of disinformation and propaganda. At the same time, such platforms also seem to allow for unprecedented, hypersocial capacities of planetary circulation of political affects and organization of protest movements, which however seem to remain event-based and unable to produce lasting forms of organization. The seminar outlines the notion of 'hypersocial networks', that is the idea that contemporary computational networks work by re-configuring the modern social as hyper-connected human-machine networks that both function and are modeled as digital social networks. The hypersocial will be read against Nikolas Rose's Foucaldian reconstruction of the history of the concept of the social as a spatializing technique of power in whose name struggles were conducted (social justice) and that functioned as the ground for the political rationality of the first part of the 20th century (such as social democracies). While hypersocial networks seem to enact a model of the social that is 'compatible with neoliberalism' at the same time they can also be seen as opening the way for re-imaging the social beyond modernity. The seminar will thus propose a critical map of various inflections of the political potential of hypersocial networks such as those expressed by left-wing accelerationism, Xenofeminism, Autonomist Marxism, code-oriented practices and theories of digital soveregnty, the de-colonisation of technical thinking through the notion of cosmotechnics, the re-opening of the socialist calculation debate, and speculative soft(ware) thought about the potential of algorithmic reasoning and machine learning.

Tiziana Terranova is an Italian theorist and activist, whose work focuses on the effects of information technology on society through concepts such as digital labor and commons. Terranova has published the monograph Network Culture. Politics for the Information Age, as well as a more extensive number of essays and speeches, and appeared as a keynote speaker in several conferences. She lectures on the digital media cultures and politics in the Department of Human and Social Sciences, at the University of Naples, 'L'Orientale' and is a member of the free university network Euronomade and of the Robin Hood Minor Asset Management Cooperative