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Rubble Jumping: From Paul Virilio's Techno-Dromology to Video Games and Distributed Agency

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Abstract:

Arguing towards a theory of dromology, Paul Virilio engages at every turn with the consequences of acceleration on society - primarily the ever-increasing speed of information transmission - on society. This paper uses Virilio's theories, specifically his arguments surrounding the impact of acceleration on our experiences of space, to question the workings of agency between humans and technology. Looking specifically at video games and the practice of modding to make user-generated machinima, this paper suggests that a simple binary positioning of humans and techno-agents is an insufficient way to approach the relationships, patterns, effects and outcomes that emerge at the juncture of humans and 'their' technology. Instead, this paper suggests a model of agency that does not privilege a techno-agent, as in the case of Virilio, over a human agent and suggests that it is potentially more useful to consider agency as distributed between, among and across, an assemblage of both human and non-human actors. The aim of this paper is also to consider what anthropological enquiry, and by extension its methodologies, can contribute to a discussion of Virilio's work.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14735780701723207

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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