The Mode of Information
Poststructuralism and Social Context
The difference, Mark Poster argues, is the profound effect electronic mediation exerts on the very way we perceive ourselves and reality. To help decode the linguistic dimensions of our multiple forms of social interaction, he plays upon Marx's theory of the mode of production—the shift to late capitalism has a parallel in the shift from the mode of production to that of information.
Enlisting poststructuralist theory, he links four modes of communication with four poststructuralists: TV ads with Baudrillard, data bases with Foucault, electronic writing with Derrida, and computer science with Lyotard. Mode of Information points the way to a poststructuralist strategy for writing history, a framework well suited to unearthing structures of domination and the means to their disruption.
"An informed, insightful, provocative account of phenomena that have transformed virtually every area of public and private life on our time."—Robert Anchor, American Historical Review
"The importance of Poster's book is unmistakable for he skillfully negotiates between and juxtaposes two wide theoretical domains—electronically mediated communications and poststructuralist theory—about which much has been written, but hardly with the acumen that he brings to bear in a long-awaited critical rapprochement."—Charles J. Stivale, Criticism
Introduction: Words without Things
1. The Concept of Postindustrial Society: Bell and the Problem of Rhetoric
2. Baudrillard and TV Ads: The Language of the Economy
3. Foucault and Databases: Participatory Surveillance
4. Derrida and Electronic Writing: The Subject of the Computer
5. Lyotard and Computer Science: The Possibilities of Postmodern Politics