The Theory and Culture of the Matrix
Routledge – 2005 – 224 pages
Analyzing the complex interaction between the material and immaterial aspects of new digital technologies, this book draws upon a mix of theoretical approaches (including sociology, media theory, cultural studies and technological philosophy), to suggest that the ‘Matrix’ of science fiction and Hollywood is simply an extreme example of how contemporary technological society enframes and conditions its citizens. Arranged in two parts, the book covers:
Providing a novel perspective on on-going digital developments by using both the work of current thinkers and that of past theorists not normally associated with digital issues, it gives a fresh insight into the roots and causes of the social matrix behind the digital one of popular imagination. The authors highlight the way we should be concerned by the power of the digital to undermine physical reality, but also explore the potential the digital has for alternative, empowering social uses.
The book’s central point is to impress upon the reader that the digital does indeed matter. It includes a pessimistic interpretation of technological change, and adds a substantial historical perspective to the often excessively topical focus of much existing cyberstudies literature making it an important volume for students and researchers in this field.
Introduction Part 1: Theorizing the Im/Material Matrix: Technics Triumphant 1. Jacques Ellul's La Technique 2. Martin Heidegger and Enframement 3. Friedrich Kittler: Network 2000? 4. The Commodified Media Matrix Part 2: Living in the Digital Matrix - The Cultural Perspective 5. Urban Matrix Matters 6. Social Matters in the Matrix 7. Cyberspatial Matrix Matters 8. Rewiring the Matrix
Jan Ll. Harris is a researcher at the University of Salford’s Institute of Social and Cultural Research. His work concerns the intersection of continental philosophy and the philosophy of technology, and the cultural impact of digital technology.
Paul A. Taylor is a senior lecturer in Communications Theory at the Institute of Communication Studies, Unviersity of Leeds. His research interests focus upon digital culture and critical theories of the mass media. He is the author of Hackers: Crime in the Digital Sublime (Routledge, 1999) and co-author of Hactivists: Rebels with a Cause? (Routledge, 2004).