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Media TechnologiesEssays on Communication, Materiality, and Society$
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Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo J. Boczkowski, and Kirsten A. Foot

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262525374

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262525374.001.0001

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Closer to the Metal

Closer to the Metal

(p.77) 4 Closer to the Metal
Media Technologies

Finn Brunton

Gabriella Coleman

The MIT Press

This chapter concerns what happens after the material turn in digital media studies. It is not enough to account for the hardware, the users and publics, or the conceptual structures at work; digital media scholarship must document all three at once, understanding their interrelationships and dynamics. Two case studies substantiate this: the role of system administrators (sysadmins) in the online activist group Anonymous, and the project of defining the elements that constitute spam online. Explaining these three frames of reference provides a model for looking at digital media, and exposes their limits for future inquiry.

Keywords:   infrastructure, Anonymous, hardware, sysadmins, spam, materiality

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