Sociology 304

April 14, 1998

Virtuality and Cyberspace - Conclusion

1. Kroker Article - "Theory of the Virtual Class"

a. Virtual class. Alliance of technological class and capitalism. (Also, pp. 5-6).

Will to virtuality.

Ideology of facilitation - promise of benefits of new technologies.

Adapt or you're toast. Threat.

Visions, promises, seduction, and power of this class. Top of p. 2.

b. Humanistic view. p. 1.

Creativity, solidarity, democracy, justice.

But virtual class identifies virtuality with the good.

c. Digital superhighway or Media Net? pp. 2-4.

Democratic, public, and creative possibilities of net.

Technologies as emancipation or domination? p. 3.

But superhighway as dead information, dead space, and dead rhetoric.

Harvesting machine for delivering bodies to virtualization. Bottom of p. 2.

Cultural accomodation, political consolidation, and disappearance into virtuality.

Military-industrial complex transformed into communications complex.

Information and interaction, pp. 3-4.

You will be information, p. 4.

Power of silent seduction. Seducer as great facilitator, pp. 5-6.

Wiring bodies to net.

Mcluhan type analysis. Not control or influence, but accessibility.

Wireless body? pp. 8-9.


d. Illusions. p. 11.



Expanded choice.

2. Kroker Article - "Political Economy of Virtual Reality".

a. Virtual capitalism. pp. 1-2.

Implosion and crash.

Pan-capitalism. Capitalism with no help from socialism.

Debt-liquidation, recession, depressed economy, austerity programs.

Virtuality as means of creating effective demand.

Capitalism becomes virtual capitalism.

b. Virtual economy.

Disappearance of factors and relations of production.

Products become relational processes, labour become cybernetic knowlege, and purchasing power becomes political opportunity.

Speed of circulation.

Recombinant commodity-form.

Abuse value. Abuse of labour, population, states.

c. High-speed backbone.

Capitalism eaten by technology and virtual economy becomes alive as bio-economy.

Immediacy, fast forward, resequencing, boosterism, technological determinism.

d. Cyber-bodies.

Slip into electronic bodies. Disappearance.

e. Virtual class and class war.

Manifesto (p. 7): trading blocs, disappearing state, will to virtuality.

Public policy - delegitimize unions, sadistic policies toward unemployed and jobless.

Working class in localized space vs. virtual class in cyberspace.

Global retreat of working class and victory of technological class, p. 9.

Capitalism in service of the will to technology. Capital is virtualized.

f. Virtual colonialism. pp. 9-10.

Abuse value.

Surplus populations and countries.

g. Recombinant fascism. p. 11.

People with self-hatred atttempt to save themselves at the expense of others and receive sadistic gains from exacting the expense.

Fascist economy and abuse value.

h. Virtual politics and pan-capitalism. pp. 12-14.

Instantaneous mobility.


Shift of production, labour in service of quick shifts.

Fascism and dying labour.

Technotopia. p. 13. Each organism has own event-scene.

Make world safe for virtuality.

3. Review of Final Section of Sociology 304

New technologies - electronic, digital.

Information, communication, speed, immediacy.

New forms of space and reality (i.e. cyberspace and virtual reality).

Interaction, self, and community.

Technotopian visions vs. Luddites.

Implications for social environments and social change.

Dery article as a summary of above trends.

Language of high tech

Advertisements. Role of advertising.

Claims - power, precision, importance, necessity, speed, instantaneous communication.



Earlier forms - print, telephone, information technology.

Electronic existence.

Bandwidth and its implications.

Grounding in real bodies - warranting.

Tool, prosthetic, cyborg, social environment.

Boundaries of individual, self, body.

Play ethic.

Interactivity and interaction.

Claims of interactivity.

Stone on interaction.

Mead, Simmel, and sociological meanings of interaction.


Meaning of community.

Negative aspects.

Virtual community?

Virtual class.

Influences on Kroker.

Method of Kroker.

Political economic analysis of Kroker.

4. Final Examination. 9 a.m., April 28, 1998, CL431.

Almost entirely on the final section of the course.

Study notes, Stone, and Kroker articles and interview.

Short answer questions. From whole section.

Be prepared to write an essay on either (i) one of the Stone stories and its implications or (ii) on some aspect of Kroker. Bring Kroker articles along if you wish.

May be some question that attempts to tie together the whole course, but do not go back to study the earlier sections.

Assignments - any suggestions needed?

I will be in my office much of time.

Call or e-mail me if you wish to set up an appointment.

5. Grades

Will post on door as soon as possible.

Discuss participation grade with me if it concerns you.

6. Course Evaluation

Asks some details about textbooks and sections in this semester's course.

I will not look at these until after grades have been approved.

Notes from April 14, 1998. Last revised on April 14, 1998.

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