EXPERIMENTALITY: THE FRIENDLY FACE OF POWER? THE INTERACTIVE NEW MEDIA AS TOOLS OF DISCRETIONARY GOVERNANCE AND RISK MANAGEMENT

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Wolf Heydebrand

DOI:10.22495/rgcv3i3c1art3

Abstract

The interactive new media (INM) are a powerful information technology (IT) with contradictory consequences for the nature of work, creativity, and innovation. Digital interactivity shortens both time and distance within and across global networks. It reduces labor time and transaction costs, eases the shift from manual to mental labor, and raises efficiency, productivity, and profits. It facilitates quick responses to changing conditions and new opportunities, and it encourages experimentation, risk taking, discovery, and innovation. IT and INM constitute the technical infrastructure of advanced business and consulting services like advertising, management consulting, and accounting. They are popular components of the globalizing culture industry. But INM are also instruments of discretionary governance and neoliberal governmentality. They have an unaccountable influence on financial, actuarial, cybernetic and ideological forms of power, and they serve to extend the mechanisms of indirect and anonymous social control into everyday life. The INM are widely adopted for purposes of discretionary governance and risk management, but tend to escape autonomous social and democratic regulation. The paper examines the effects of INM on small project teams as well as on aspects of neoliberal experimentality such as informalism and flexibility at work, the hacker work ethic, social networking, and techno-libertarianism. The conclusion reconsiders the intrinsic tension between neoliberal experimentality and governmentality.

Keywords: Interactive New Media, Financial, Actuarial, Cybernetic, Ideological Controls, Intellectual Labor and Consulting Services, Globalizing Culture Industry, Neoliberal Experimentality vs. Governmentality.

How to cite this paper: Heydebrand, W. (2013). Experimentality: The friendly face of power? The interactive new media as tools of discretionary governance and risk management. Risk governance & control: financial markets & institutions, 3(3-1), 92-118. http://doi.org/10.22495/rgcv3i3c1art3