Digital Formations of the Powerful and the Powerless

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* Article: INTERACTIONS OF THE TECHNICAL AND THE SOCIAL. Digital formations of the powerful and the powerless. By Saskia Sassen. Journal Information, Communication & Society , Volume 15, 2012 - Issue 4



"This article compares two kinds of socio-technical formations: electronic financial networks and local social activist movements that are globally networked. Both cut across the global/national duality and each has altered the economic and political landscapes for, respectively, financial elites and social activists. Using these two cases helps illuminate the very diverse ways in which the growth of electronic networks partially transforms existing politico-economic orderings. They are extreme cases, one marked by hypermobility and the other by physical immobility. But they show us that each is only partly so: financial electronic networks are subject to particular types of embeddedness and local activist organizations can benefit from novel electronic potentials for global operation. Financial electronic networks and electronic activism not only reveal two parallel developments associated with particular technical properties of the new interactive digital technologies, but also reveal a third, radically divergent outcome, which is interpreted as signalling the weight of the specific social logics of users in each case."