Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Whelan, G.
Born Political: A Dispositive Analysis of Google and Copyright
(2019) Business and Society, 58 (1), pp. 42-73.

DOI: 10.1177/0007650317717701

Abstract
Google is a complex and complicated political beast with a significant, and often confusing, interest, in copyright matters. On one hand, for example, Google is widely accused of profiting from piracy. On the other, Google routinely complies with what is rapidly approaching a billion copyright takedown requests annually. In the present article, Foucault, neo-Gramscians, and Deleuze and Guattari are utilized to help construct a 32 dispositive analysis framework that overlaps three dispositive modalities (law, ethical, utilitarian) and perspectives (apparatus, articulation, assemblage). In applying the framework to the Google–copyright relationship, the article shows how Google was “born political”: in that it was, and still is, disposed by an apparatus comprised of copyright laws, Silicon Valley culture, and broad advances in digitization. Moreover, the article shows how Google continuously acts where “politics is born”: as it significantly shapes copyright considerations by disposing of (non-)human and organizational phenomena through articulations and assemblages. © The Author(s) 2017.

Author Keywords
copyright; dispositive; Foucault; Google; politics

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