Ned Rossiter on Wed, 19 Apr 2006 20:40:09 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Network, Swarm, Microstructure


I'm really surprised you persist with the idea that networks (as  
protocols) are without hierarchies:

> All networks can be defined by their protocols, [...] Protocols enable
> interaction without a hierarchy.

Because in that same first paragraph you contradict yourself:

> in order to
> participate in a network, actors have to adhere to the dominant  
> protocols.

and later:

> In other words, in order to communicate and be productive, one has  
> to join, by
> choice or coercion, a particular networks (or several, more  
> likely), thus
> accept their protocols and have one's view of the world defined by  
> a shared
> horizon

adherence is another word for submission, and in the case of networks  
it's submission to social/technical protocols that is done willingly,  
although often with tensions of one kind or another (thus the  
politics of networks). Another way of understanding this is that in  
order to participate within a network, one must accept the prevailing  
hierarchies (modalities of governance/protocols). But this isn't to  
say that hierarchies can't be changed or shifted, only that they exist.

As a moderator of nettime, you know all too well the way in which  
hierarchies are played out.

So let's accept that hierarchies are essential to networks, and the  
question of governance is going nowhere for as long as we persist to  
speak of networks in terms of absolute horizontal relations (or in  
the case of communes example, spaces of consensus).  That's simply  
incorrect, and your own text demonstrates that.


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