Media item

VideoVortex #3 2.Aras Özgün

‘The Politics of A New Economy’

“User generated content” has been a buzzword that defines certain technological developments gathered under the label “Web 2.0,” as well as a key element of the discourses built around this misleading label. The term itself carries ideological connotations and refers to certain notions which have been essential to the online communications from the very beginning; dynamic participation, interactivity, decentralization, non-hierarchical organization, autonomy, self-expression, freedom of expression etc.

We feel very much compelled to question the political effects of this model by critically evaluating the economic aspects of it. But this is not an easy task, since the traditional concepts and formulas of critical political-economy falls very short of approaching the constitutive dynamics of this new production mode, yet alone being explanatory. Neither the “value” created in this model is tangible as in the industrial production mode that the classical theories of political-economy were designed for, nor the “labor” processes that create it has anything in common with the “waged labor.”

Therefore, while we have to critically evaluate the political effects of such new mode of immaterial production, we also have to compose new theoretical tools and approaches. One obvious characteristic of this new production model is that, it operates by organizing the existing social relations under its own logic, by making the basic social relations “productive” (in a commercial sense) and creating “value” out of “play” rather than “work.” Then, it seems appropriate to discuss the political effects of such new form of economic production by utilizing the theoretical tools we find effective for understanding the political structuring of the “social” in a broader sense –such as “bio-politics,” “governmentality,” “economy of desire” etc., which will be the task of my presentation.


Aras Özgün is a media scholar/artist living in New York. He studied political sciences and sociology in Ankara and media studies in New York. He is now teaching graduate courses related with media theory and digital media practices at Media Studies Department of The New School. He produced many experimental video and digital media works.


Video Vortex conference in Ankara, October 2008



Instituut voor Netwerk Cultuur
Publication date:
17 November 2010


Institute of Network Cultures
Bilkent University Department of Communication and Design
Original format:
Instituut voor Netwerkcultuur