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Benjamin H. Bratton

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262029575

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262029575.001.0001

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The Nomos of the Cloud

The Nomos of the Cloud

(p.19) The Nomos of the Cloud
The Stack

Benjamin H. Bratton

The MIT Press

This chapter considers the history and future of political geography, particularly in relation to Carl Schmitt’s notion of the nomos. Nomos refers to both the essential logic by which political sovereignty subdivides space as well as the stable geopolitical order that emerges in the image of that logic. The architecture of Modern Nation-States codified by the Treaty of Westphalia is exemplary. The chapter discusses how planetary-scale computation challenges the “horizontal” model of the Westphalian global system, and argues that we must also now include “vertical” and stratified understandings of political geography as normative, not exceptional. It asks whether we can identify a nomos of the Cloud (as in Cloud Computing) and what the specific forms of sovereignty it might enable, demand or preclude.

Keywords:   Political Philosophy, Political Geography, Sovereignty, Internet, Carl Schmitt, Jurisdiction, State of Exception

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