Pirates of Silicon Valley: State of exception and dispossession in Web 2.0

Peter Jakobsson, Fredrik Stiernstedt


This paper investigates a paradox in the reception of Web 2.0. While some of its services are seen as creators of a new informational economy and are hence publicly legitimized, other features are increasingly under surveillance and policed, although in reality the differences between these services is far from obvious. Our thesis is that we are currently experiencing a temporary postponement of the law, in the context of Web 2.0. Agamben’s work on the state of exception is here used to theorize the informational economy as an ongoing dispossession, under the guise of ‘networked production’. This dispossession is seen as a parallel to the concept of ‘primitive accumulation’, as a means of moving things from the exterior to the interior of the capitalist economy. This theory lets us problematize the concept of free labor, the metaphor of the enclosure, and puts into question the dichotomy between copyright and cultural commons.


Web 2.0; state of exception; dispossession; copyright

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v15i7.2799

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