THE LUTETIAN Journal Journal of of the the Social Social Sciences Sciences 2015 2015
The TheAmerican American University University of of Paris Paris
THE LUTETIAN Journal of the Social Sciences
The American University of Paris Paris, France
An icon of exploration falling off the Earthâ€™s edge and an end of momentous artistic endeavors.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Caitlyn Marie Hutchison
MANAGING EDITOR Leo Gray
ART DIRECTOR AND EDITOR Dasha Goncharova
LAYOUT AND DESIGN Caitlyn Marie Hutchison Dasha Goncharova
ACADEMIC ADVISOR Robert Payne
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Anna Kasper Searching for the Authentic The Role of Authenticity In Branding
Today, brands are no longer only about the promises of differentiated products. In a global landscape of exchanged meaning and connectivity, does a brand need to be authentic in order for it to resonate? What are the elements that make a brand authentic? Three case studies are used to explore this idea: Timberland, Ralph Lauren, and NikeFuel. As brands adapt from a passive to participatory state, and the ethical economy of brands continues to increase, truth and authenticity will continue to play a major role in the market place.
Today, brands are no longer just about the promises of
usually a comparison of truth claims that are completed before deciding
differentiated products. They contain, what many would argue to be entire
on the purchase. These often times split-second decisions can mean
ecosystems of beliefs, webs of connectivity, guidelines for behavior, and
big changes in the market. Therefore, judgments of authenticity occur
by both the consumer and the brand.. Brands and consumers interact in
way, brands have established themselves as a part of our everyday
this process on a regular basis, and this interaction tells us a lot about the
lives. Whether in the form of a city, celebrity, product, or business, brands
role authentic communication and brand authenticity have in the branding
form narratives that aim to build a strong connection to the consumer.
are the producers of communities, culture and ethical surplus.
In order to do this, brands must not only find the performative elements
Timberland shoes have been synonymous with the hip-hop
that make them different than their competitors, they must also engage
and rap culture since the early 1990’s. However, before the associated
in a transmission of meaning. But does this transmission need to be
symbolism of being the shoe of this genre, it had a different brand
authentic? In an age when branding has been regarded as the pollution
intention. Nathan Swartz created The Abington Shoe Company in 1952.
of personal, public and mental space, does a brand’s image and
As described by Walker, Swartz and his sons created a waterproof boot, in
transmission of beliefs need to be authentic and true in order to have an
an attempt to please one of the company’s hard to please store managers,
impact on the market?
Joe Butler.7 The boot was a success, not only to Joe, but to the regional
In order to delve into these questions one must first look into
working community. The boot became known as the ‘Construction Timb’:
the definition of authenticity. Authenticity is defined as “real or genuine;
a practical, no nonsense, functional boot, that would keep your feet dry
not copied or false; true and accurate; made to be or look just like an
and was comfortable enough to get a blue collar man through the work
original.” A definition that seems to allow for a mixed public understanding
day. Due to the success of the waterproof boot, the company officially
of what authenticity really is; given this definition, would a person who
changed its name to The Timberland Company in 1973. For nearly 20
underwent plastic surgery and other alterations in order to look and
years Timberlands was a regional brand aimed at the workingman, but in
mimic another individual, actually be the authentic person they are trying
the 1990’s things began to change. Timberlands started to “be embraced
to become through these physical alterations? For a product, would it
by a group of consumers that the company had not targeted and frankly
mean that the actual product needs to be authentic or does it just need
didn’t understand: the ‘urban’ consumer.”8 As Walker describes it, the
to be communicated authentically? In order to accurately consider these
brand filtered its way through the New York City drug dealers, who were
questions, let us assume authenticity as being associated with truth.
looking for the best footwear to keep their feet dry and warm on the
When you buy a product, sometimes you receive a certificate of
street, to the rising hip hop culture and then into popular fashion .9When
authenticity, certifying that you are indeed the owner of the real product
speaking about the reason why hip hop/rap culture was important in the
and not a product imitation. Authenticity is therefore given by the brand to
early 90s, Chuck D from the rap group Public Enemy says, “It was you that
the consumer. This exchange of authenticity also occurs in the reverse. In
was important, and everything else would define you after you defined
order for a consumer to decide which brand of soap they will buy, there is
yourself. It wasn’t like a brand defined you, you defined the brand.”10
1 C. Lury, Brands: the logos of the consumer culture. (New York, USA: Routledge, 2004). 2 A. Arvidsson, Brands: meaning and value in media culture (New York: Routledge), 2006. 3 C. Anderson, C. Anderson, B. Sørensen, M. Dansei, “A semiotic note on Branding.” Cybernetics & Human Knowing, 14, no. 4 (2008). 4 B. Lee & E. LiPuma, “Cultures of circulation: The imaginations of modernity.” Public culture 14, no. 1 (2002): 191-213. 5 Klein N. No Logo. (New York, USA: Picador, 2000). 6 “Dictionary: Authentic” Mirriam-Webster Dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/ dictionary/authentic
For Timberland, the authentic goal of producing quality 7 R. Walker, Buying in: the Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, (New York, USA: Random House, 2010). 8 R. Walker, Buying in: the Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, 1392. 9 R. Walker, Buying in: the Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, 1392. 10 R. Walker, Buying in: the Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, 1447.
construction level, waterproof boots was developed and changed by the consumer. The journey was not only about the brand’s initial quest for quality but also about the consumer’s desire for personal projection and experience. The general public “...didn’t know anything about the [Timberland] story...They knew that the boots were made with nice leather, held up well in the elements, and were expensive. They weren’t sold in African American neighborhoods, but that was okay; seeking the
The consumer can project him or herself into the lifestyle and, for the price of the polo horse stitched on their shirt, become a part of it. boots out, traveling to the Timberland store in midtown -- this was all part of the experience, part of the attraction.”11 As shown with Timberlands evolution, the shoes became a symbol of a collection of individuals and a way of carrying oneself. Brands that can engage consumers in this way are attractive, as people are drawn to products that can transfer their desired hopes for a better future self; a self that fits into an idea or image of what they want to be, and sell it back to them for the price of the product.12 It is less important that the brand is utilized for its authentic purpose and more important that it has an authentic purpose that can be utilized in whatever way the consumer appropriates. The consumer’s desire for a brand experience, as seen with Timberlands, is also apparent when looking into the brand of Ralph Lauren. Ralph Lifshitz, born October 14th, 1934 to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, grew up in the Bronx of New York City. With John F. Kennedy and James Stewart as idols, Ralph dreamed of becoming part of the ‘high society.’ Following the now well-known idea of ‘fake it until you make it,’ Ralph began to imitate the styles and fashions that he saw on movie screens and in the societies that he wanted to participate in. The Lifshitz family changed their surname to Lauren when he was 16. After working as a waiter and deciding to drop out of City College, Ralph got a job selling Men’s suits at Brooks Brothers. It was during his time at Brooks 11 R. Walker, Buying in: the Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, 1410. 12 J. Berger, Ways of seeing, London, UK: Penguin Publishing and the British Broadcasting Corporation, 1972.
Brothers, that Ralph designed a line of neckties that were picked up by
friends. Users set daily goals of energetic output and through the digital
Bloomingdales in 1967, initiating the Ralph Lauren brand that we know
tracking in the band, are able to follow which activities, routes and other
today. With Ralph Lauren as the champion, the Ralph Lauren brand is
daily actions help them achieve their pre-set goals. By connecting to the
synonymous with simple, rustic elegance and a preppy, wealthy, New
online Nike+ community, users are able to challenge, contrast, and share
England lifestyle, quite a departure from the authentic version of young
results with friends and other FuelBand users. The user is also able to earn
Ralph Lifshitz. But does this matter? As Danesi describes, “People are
NikeFuel points, which are redeemable for Nike products. In accordance
sometimes driven to react to symbols more than they do to social realities,
with Dru, by engaging a group of like-minded individuals and utilizing a
[....] namely, that people are what make branding what it is, not just the
product, Nike has disrupted the existing habits of a group, naturalized the
corporations. The success of branding is not just the result of the clever
beliefs around the Fuelband and changed the way that people engage
marketing strategies of marketers. It requires complicity of consumers.”
with the activity of exercising.16 The FuelBand then becomes much more
In other words, Ralph Lauren’s brand gives consumers an authentic
than a device to calculate the amount of energy burned, it becomes a
experience with a lifestyle that the brand represents. By interacting with
leadership campaign that aims for the acceptance of everyday activities
the brand, the consumer can project him or herself into the lifestyle and,
to be quantifiable and redeemable as exercise. The community aspect
for the price of the polo horse stitched on their shirt, become a part of it.
creates the authentic exchange and playful utilization of the brand around
The Ralph Lauren brand has gone on to produce many brand
a shared topic thus allowing the brand to affirm its users and therefore
extensions ranging from home goods, perfumes, paint, and much more.
creating a form of governance around the topic that brings them together.17
The brand’s equity lies in the ability to interact with the lifestyle that it
As a product, the FuelBand is authentic, or true, to its claim
represents. As such, the Ralph Lauren brand has created a Heterotopia,
of being a device that helps you track, record and motivate athletic
or a space for the acting out of a set experience and expected behaviors.
performance. This is on par with the overall mission of Nike: “To bring
Whether someone is eating at a Ralph’s restaurant, painting an apartment
inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”18 The interactive
in a selected Ralph Lauren color, wearing a polo shirt to a smart-casual
communication and guidelines set out by using the FuelBand create
affair, or walking the red carpet in a silk gown, Ralph Lauren has created
the possibility of allowing the brand to dictate how you interact with the
the possibility to live an upscale New England experience, in a multitude
activity it represents: in this case, sports. Brands, including NikeFuel,
of spaces and for a multitude of price points. The fact that the consumer
are not merely products but are now becoming a part of a spiritual
is not experiencing the authentic New England experience or the fact that
capacity: “Brands, just as the other new means of consumption do, take
Ralph Lifshitz is not from the society that his brand portrays becomes
on religious dimensions, something which today is a deliberate part of
irrelevant. The authenticity of the consumers experience is what carries
corporate communication, motivation and identity-building strategies.”19
the weight of the brand.
The communication from Nike is not that the FuelBand will govern your
Nike’s FuelBand also created an experiential space for authentic
interaction with sports. What they have done is set up a contextual
brand interaction. Released to the public in 2012, the Nike+ FuelBand is a
platform that allows the user to interact under a predetermined set of
wearable device that tracks the daily energetic output from the wearer of
interactive spaces. The more the user decides to utilize this space, the
the technology while at the same time allowing for public interconnectivity and sharing of information between the Nike+ FuelBand community and 13 “Ralph Lauren,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Lauren. 14 M. Danesi. Brands. (New York: Taylor & Francis Inc., 2006), 128. 15 M. Foucault, The order of things: an archaeology of the human sciences. (New York: Vintage Books, 1994)
16 J. Dru. Disruption: Overturning conventions and shaking up the marketplace. (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996). 17 B. Heilbrunn. “Cultural branding between Utopia and Atopia,” In Brand Culture 2006, edited by Jonathan E. Schroder & Miriam Salzer-Mörling, 103-117. (London: Routledge. 2006). 18 “Nike (2014) Mission Statement,” Nike, http://help-en-us.nike.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/113/~/nike-mission-statement. 19 S. Askegaard, “Brands as a global ideoscope,” In Brand Culture 2006, edited by Jonathan E. Schroder & Miriam Salzer-Mörling, (London: Routledge, 2006), 96.
more the space can utilize the user.20 In authentically deciding to utilize
moment has become tired and played in the next. As Bauman argues, the
the product, users are becoming members of the FuelBand community;
increasingly intra-dependent web of applied meaning and change has
simultaneously fulfilling the desire to belong to a group and at the same
perhaps even made the term ‘post-modern’ outdated. Referring to the
time remain an individual.
use of ‘liquid modernity’ as a more accurate term to address the “growing
As the theories and examples have indicated and described,
conviction that change is the only permanence, and uncertainty the only
the authenticity in branding is derived from the relationship between
certainty [….] To put it bluntly, under conditions of ‘liquidity’ everything
the consumer and the brand. As Anderson et al. describe it, “Brands,
could happen yet nothing can be done with confidence and security.”27
therefore are signs resulting from a discourse system which is implanted
In a constant state of change, or liquid movement as Bauman describes
in a largely unconscious ‘negotiation’ of meanings between brand
it, authenticity becomes ever more important, and ever more allusive, as
makers, who can be called the utterers, and consumers, who can thus
individuals search for meaning and fuel for action.
be called interpreters. This interplay can be called an inner branding process, a process that crystallizes during the actual brand use.”22 The ability to create an interactive creation of meaning with the brand and the consumer is perhaps where the authentic action of branding lies. With this in mind, it then becomes the brand’s duty to keep the disruptive quality, or the attention, of the consumer in order to keep the brand and the authentic experience alive. It would seem therefore that the more a brand is able to create a contextual space for user determined interaction, the more the brand can disrupt previous ideas and interactions with products and establish new platforms of interaction.23,24 As brands continue to adapt from a passive to participatory state, and the ethical economy of brands continues to increase,25 truth and authenticity will continue to play a major role in bringing brands strength in the market place. In a post-modern world of increasing choices, distraction, innovation, and desire for eternal economic growth, some would argue that the search for authenticity is growing ever more challenging and ever more important. Today, discourse is happening at a rate exponentially faster than a couple of decades ago.
With the invention of new
communication technologies, we are able to bridge gaps in time and distance that were never before possible.26 With the fast pace in which the world moves and communicates, what was true and authentic in one 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
R. Walker, Buying in: the Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are. S. Askegaard, “Brands as a global ideoscope.” Anderson et al., “A semiotic note on Branding,” 60. R. Walker, Buying in: the Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are. Arvidsson, Brands: meaning and value in media culture. Arvidsson. F.C. Cairncross, The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution is Changing Our Lives, (Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2001).
27 Z Bauman, Liquid Modernity. (Malden MA: Polity Press, 2012.), xiv.
10 Works Cited “Dictionary: Authentic” Mirriam-Webster Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/authentic.
“Nike (2014) Mission Statement.” Nike. http://help-en-us.nike.com/app/ answers/detail/a_id/113/~/nike-mission-statement
“Ralph Lauren.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Lauren.
Anderson, C., Anderson C., Sørensen, B., Dansei, M. “A semiotic note
on Branding.” Cybernetics & Human Knowing, 14, no. 4 (2008): 59-69.
Arvidsson, A. Brands: meaning and value in media culture. New York: Routledge. 2006.
Askegaard, S. “Brands as a global ideoscope.” In Brand Culture 2006,
edited by Jonathan E. Schroder & Miriam Salzer-Mörling, 91-102. London: Routledge, 2006.
Bauman Z. Liquid Modernity. Malden MA: Polity Press, 2012.
Berger, J. Ways of seeing. London, UK: Penguin Publishing and the British Broadcasting Corporation, 1972.
Cairncross, F.C. The death of distance: How the communications revolu-
tion is changing our lives. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2001.
Danesi, M. Brands. New York: Taylor & Francis Inc., 2006.
Dru, J. Disruption: Overturning conventions and shaking up the marketplace. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996.
Foucault, M. The order of things: an archaeology of the human sciences. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. (Original work published in 1966, Les mots et les choses.)
Heilbrunn, B. “Cultural branding between Utopia and Atopia.” In Brand Culture 2006, edited by Jonathan E. Schroder & Miriam Salzer-Mörling, 103-117. London: Routledge. 2006.
Klein N. No Logo. New York, USA: Picador, 2000.
Lee, B. & LiPuma E. “Cultures of circulation: The imaginations of modernity.” Public culture 14, no. 1 (2002): 191-213.
Lury, C. Brands: the logos of the consumer culture. New York, USA: Routledge, 2004.
Walker, R. Buying in: the secret dialogue between what we buy and who we are. New York, USA: Random House, 2010.
Jade Ascencio There is no self-realization of the individual within society.
The Un-kept Promises of Commodity
How do processes of production and modes of economical exchange frame the way we relate to the world we live in? Drawing from the Marxist concept of commodity fetishism, how our relationship with the rest of the community is mediated and biased, we are fetishists of the commodity. This condition is not satisfying: as fetishists, we are betrayed by the commodity, and as non-fetishists we are longing for other promises, other policies and other relations which are not compatible with the functioning of the system. The concept of commodity fetishism is a tool to analyze conflicts and dynamics within and between communities.
Using economic and mathematical tools of analysis, Marx’s Capital within its first chapters analyses the nature of commodities in a
social aspect of their nature: being products of human labour. Marx sums it up saying that there are “social relations between things.”3
capitalistic system. Subsequently the author dedicates a few pages to a
On the other hand, commodities create relationships between
human, socio-psychological concept: commodity fetishism. The following
producers as they demonstrate their exchangeability. Insofar as the la-
essay posits that commodity fetishism is a powerful tool of analysis for
bourer produces a commodity, and therefore exchange-value, his work
contemporary debates. Through an initial analysis of the representations
becomes part of the “aggregate labour of society.”4 Since as produc-
that appear in production and exchange in a capitalistic system, we will
ers individuals do not communicate or share a vision of society, they are
sort out how these representations are fetishist in the anthropological and
social individuals related to each other only as soon as the commodity
religious uses of the term. Those conclusions lead to a reading of the
demonstrates its exchange-value. Their relation is material. The role of
frustrations that human beings experience in the contemporary globalized
their work is the production of exchange-value, and the relationship be-
world, from a fetishist and a humanist point of view, and how those differ-
tween producers is the realization of this exchange-value.
ent frustrations inform the political debates we witness.
Marx also points out that when exchanges are stabilized and
The capitalistic society as described in Capital is based on the
comparative exchange-values of commodities become predictable, ex-
exchange of products among producers. A commodity has to have an
change-value appears to result “from the nature of the products.”5 Pro-
exchange value which determines the magnitude in which it is going to be
ducers and consumers think of the price of a commodity as being an
exchanged with another. This value has to be based on what is common
inherent property of the commodity, since it was produced in order to
to all commodities: they are products of human labour. But it is not the
realize this price, while, according to the labour theory of value, price
particular skills or activity of the laborer that produce the exchange-value
results from the amount of average labour expended on that commodity.
of commodities, since it is impossible to compare quantitatively labors of
The social and effective aspect of production disappears behind the illu-
different natures. It is the general nature of the work performed: an aver-
sion that value is a property of the commodity. It seems that exchange,
age, homogeneous and general human labor.
through the general equivalent form of value (Money) makes the value of
Since the producers do not communicate before exchange (the
commodities while in fact it is the value of commodities that determines
system is large and they are private independent individuals) the value of
their money price. Barrett sums it up in her article about fetishism: “Mon-
commodities appears only at the moment of exchange, when they con-
ey, one particular thing, for example gold, becomes the very incarnation
front each other, in terms of exchange-values through their prices. There-
of value, pure concentrate apparently of a power that, in fact, is social.”6
fore products are made “for the purpose of being exchanged,” since it is
In the chapter about commodity fetishism, Marx depicts the rep-
through this process that they realize their exchange value.
resentations that arise from the conditions of productions and exchange
In a capitalistic society, on the producer’s point of view, the
in the capitalistic market. They can be summarized in the following man-
use-value of a commodity is not a determining stake in itself: no matter
ner: commodities are socially related, individuals are materially related,
how useful it proves itself to the consumer, the commodity has fulfilled its
and money - whatever form it takes - is exchange-value. What in these
role as soon as it is exchanged. In this discussion the only determining
statements allows Marx to introduce commodity fetishism as a form of
property of the commodities is the expression of general human labour
they embody: they are “suprasensible or social.”2 They go beyond the role they have to private consumers, and relate to each other through the 1 Karl Marx. “The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret”. Capital. Volume I. New York: Penguin Classics, 1990, 166 2 Marx, 165
3 4 5 6
Marx, 166 Marx, 165 Marx, 167 Michèle Barrett. “Fetishism”. A Dictionary of Marxist thought. Ed. Tom Bottomore. Oxford: Blackwell, 2001, 191
As fetishists we are deceived by the fetish we adore.
The concept of fetishism itself is not thoroughly developed in Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism. We must clarify how this concept operates within the relationships generated by the capitalistic system. These relationships are not illusions arising from a misunderstanding of the processes of production. As Barrett underlines, “The properties bestowed on material objects in the capitalist economy are, Marx holds, real and not the product of imagination. But they are not natural properties. They are social.”7 This means that the exchange value is embodied by commodities, and the general quality of the labour that was performed to produce them are not illusions or misunderstandings. Marx clarifies “Value (i.e. exchange-value) is a property of things […] Value in this sense necessarily implies exchanges.”8 The material relationship between people and the social relationship between things, since they arise from these definitions of product and of labour, are not illusions. Only they are not natural, as Marx underlines: “so far no chemist has ever discovered exchange-value either in a pearl or a diamond.”9 Those relationships are, de facto, the ones that reign when exchange is the end of production for the whole of society. Marx’s analysis of the representation of money, as not symbolizing but holding exchange-value, cannot enter the discussion on the same footing as the representations analyzed before. Far from being natural, it is not even real at any moment of the production or exchange process. If it was up to money to determine prices, it should be the “universal incarnation of abstract human labor.”10 It should embody labor naturally, and not because labour was bestowed on it, otherwise its exchange value would change with the shifts in processes of production. But apart from labour itself, nothing can embody labour without being a product of labour. Marx constructs his argument using the example of gold currency; it is unclear if it is applicable to digital forms of currency that are not in an obvious way a product of labor. Namely, that for the producers, the relations that bind society together are “material relations between persons and social relations between things,”11 propositions that are based on the 7 Barrett, 190 8 Marx, 177 9 Marx, 177 10 Marx, 169 11 Marx, 166
The problem can not be the fetish idea that commodities naturally have an exchange-value.
but does not enter my analysis insofar as I am not studying the different
Roy Ellen thinks the concept of fetishism as it is common to the
forms of currency over time. However this mechanism can be found else-
religious, sexual and economic spheres, and identifies a series of “cogni-
where in Marx’s explanation of commodity fetishism. There is a necessity
tive processes at work in the generation of […] fetishes” to characterize
to reduce labour to its quantitative aspect, and therefore to its general ho-
those fetishes. Those processes are:
mogeneous form, in order to exchange. There is a conflation of a narrow
“1. A concrete existence or the concretisation of abstractions; 2. The attribution of qualities of living organisms, often (though not exclu-
signifier – labour time, the quantitative expression of labour – with a larger signified which is labour itself in all its different aspects.
sively) human; 3. Conflation of signifier and signified; 4. An ambiguous re-
Concerning how fetishism affects the relations of power be-
lationship between control of object by people and of people by object.”13
tween the commodity and the individual, we can underline a certain ambi-
Marx’s account of the relationships that appear in the capitalist
guity within production and exchange. Is the commodity a tool to fulfill the
conditions of production and exchange correspond in some ways with
individual’s will to own another commodity which has use-value for him?
this definition of fetishism. The commodity, because it is measured in
Or is the producer a tool to the commodity insofar as the general nature
terms of general homogeneous labour, relates the individual workers with
of his labour and his will to exchange it allow the commodity to realize its
the total aggregate labour of society. The link between the individual and
apparent nature of exchange-value?
mankind, which even though it exists, is abstract, appears in capitalism
The frustrations that arise from our fetishist condition exist on
in the form of the commodity, a concrete object. Social, intangible rela-
two different levels: as fetishists we are deceived by the fetish we adore,
tionships are concretized in the commodity, asserting that in capitalism,
and as human beings in a particular geographical, cultural and historical
just as in religion: “human mental qualities [are] attributed to non-human
context we cannot be satisfied with our position as fetishists.
Marx himself enters this frame of thinking, saying that com-
Ellen’s framework of thinking concerning commodity fetishism
modities “appear as autonomous figures endowed with a life of their own,
already gives us an understanding of the position of commodity fetishist.
which enter into relations both with each other and with the human race.”
For the fetishist, the commodity does not only conceal social relations, it
At the moment of exchange, instead of having two producers compar-
is the concrete social relation. He sees in the commodity what connects
ing the labour they expended on their respective commodities, we have
him to the whole society of producers. Therefore by serving the purpose
two commodities comparing their intrinsic exchange-value. In the market,
of the commodity, which is to realize its exchange-value, we serve the
commodities seem to be at the natural origin of the prices, while price
whole community. It is our moral duty towards the fetishist society to do
formation is in fact a human social mechanism.
so. How does this come about in the real world? First, it becomes morally
Regarding the “conflation of the signifier and the signified,”
significant to be employed at all since the commodity has to be produced.
Ellen concentrates on the problem of the money form, which is relevant,
It becomes a goal to facilitate exchange, since the commodity exists for
12 13 14 15 16
Roy Ellen. “Fetishism”. Man, New Series. 23.2 (June 1988), 219 Ellen, 219 Ellen, 214 Marx,165 Ellen, 219
exchange. For instance, the increasing integration of the states in globalization through regional and international organizations such as the European Union, the ASEAN, the MERCOSUR or the NATO tend to diminish
the role of frontiers: production and consumption. The commodity can
tends to be produced where it is the cheapest. No matter how exchange
more easily be exchanged because the market is extending. International
is facilitated, it is still “the result of human activity under specific condi-
institutions such as the WTO are pushing toward this disappearance of
tions; it is not an inherent property of things.”18 The fetish is not by nature
the cultural, geographical and historical frontiers: by limiting protection-
able to keep its promises. It sometimes does, in some contexts such as
ism, facilitating population migration, and the movement of capital world-
the European reconstruction during the trois glorieuses, but exchange-
wide. In an ideal version of this global system, the commodity can find
ability still depends on human features such as taste and social ones such
a capital outlay anywhere, be produced by any worker or set of workers
as wealth. The positive outcomes of fetishism are not natural but situa-
and be exchanged across the whole world. In a perfectly fluid, homoge-
tional. As fetishists we experience frustration and anger when looking at
neous and extended market, the cultural, historical, geographical barriers
the unemployment figures, and those whose labour is not exchangeable
to the realization of its exchange value are abolished by the fetishists of
cannot integrate into the fetishist’s society. This is the source of the myth
of the shiftless unemployed person, which is the reaction of the fetishist in
As fetishists we do not simply act for the love of the commodity.
front of the fetish’s failure: the problem cannot be the fetish.
The relationship of power between the fetish and the fetishist is not unilat-
There is another level of frustration that arises from fetishism. By
eral but ambiguous and ambivalent: by serving the commodity we keep
extending the importance of the economic sphere, human beings risk be-
a form of power over it because we seem to use it for our own purposes.
ing reduced to fetishists. Social bonds would therefore only exist through
What then is the reward we hope for by serving the realization of its ex-
the commodity. First, this goes against a wider conception of mankind
change-value? Once we operate the conflation between general labour
and society which takes history and culture into account. The general
and particular labour and the one between exchange and social bond,
form of the producer’s labour embraced by the fetishist cannot be ac-
working and exchanging in a fetishist manner should provide us with a
cepted by a contextualized human being, who fears the disappearance of
total equality of status between the workers, no matter the type of labour
his or her cultural identity. James H. Mittleman, in his analysis of the new
or the context in which it is performed. Moreover, since exchange-value
international division of labour in the process of globalization, introduced
appears to be a natural property of the commodity, it appears to the fe-
a striking example of this fear: “The presence of distinct immigrant cul-
tishist that any commodity produced will be exchanged. Employment and
tures has posed problems for the identity of a number of host countries.”19
the social integration that come from it seem then to be natural. It is what
For instance, “Germans invented a myth of ‘cultural cohesiveness’ as a
Arthur Ripstein identifies as “capitalism’s pretention of freedom, equality,
defining identity” which leads to social issues for immigrants who “may
Regarding social homogeneity, equality among work-
have resided in Germany for all their lives, may speak only German, but
ers, and social integration, the commodity quite obviously does not keep
are nonetheless viewed as outsiders.”20 Here we see how the fetishist
its word. The same working rights are not applied everywhere; neither
condition that forces Germany to accept immigration, and causes immi-
in terms of wages, nor in terms of safety conditions, freedom and class
grants to be rejected as threats to a German identity in other spheres of
structure. Some will argue that the equalization of life conditions is actually
social life. The quantitative vision of labour is at the basis of economic life,
taking place and that there is a need to stop all that goes against the facil-
but the consequent negation of the complex historical and cultural as-
itation of exchange. To this I answer that it might be true, but that the kind
pects of social life results in the alienation of immigrants from the country’s
of equality that arises from that, if it ever does, would be at a very low level
cultural identity: “migrant workers and their families are commodities like
of life since deregulation enhances competition and that the commodity 17
Arthur Ripstein. “Commodity Fetishism”. Canadian Journal of Philosophy. 17.4 (Dec., 1987), 733
Ripstein, 735 James H. Mittleman. “Rethinking the International Division of Labour in the Context of Globalization”. Third World Quarterly. 16.2 (June 1995), 284 20 Mittleman, 285
other commodities bought and sold on a global market.”21 In the econom-
for contemporary policy. The concept of commodity fetishism does not
ic sphere, human beings are thought of out of context. Outside the eco-
depend on Marx’s labour theory of value; it can be used in debates with
nomic sphere, as a reaction, there is an ideological crystallization of their
non Marxists, and it is a key tool for understanding the stakes of key con-
identities; the resultant identities defensively refuse the participation of
temporary debates, and how policy decisions relate to these stakes.
immigration in their construction. Individuals are therefore alienated “from historically created human possibilities.”22 In an optimistic vision of human societies, individuals should participate in the elaboration and the realization of a better life. In the fetishist society, the social utility brought to society by the commodity is not taken in account within production, neither in the type of commodity produced nor in the quantity in which it is produced. The capitalistic process of production does not structurally provide the society with what it needs in order to improve. Society is not tied together politically and socially, but materially, which means that in their roles as producers, individuals cannot be involved in social improvements such as providing sufficient food, health and education. They cannot even communally imagine such a concept of common good because all of that, apparently, ties them to society, is the general nature of the labour they process. There is no self-realization of the individual as part of a socially bound society, and there is no way to make sure politically that the production system will ensure the material subsistence of individuals. To conclude, let us make a last point about how the two levels of frustration identified in the last section lead to conflicts. If we set as a goal the concepts of equality and prosperity, a fetishist approach takes us towards more deregulation, disappearance of a political state and of cultural identities, arguing that they stop the commodity from realizing its exchange-value and therefore fulfilling its promises. A non-fetishist approach would on the other hand try to reduce the economic sphere and extend the cultural and political aspects of human life, arguing that equality and prosperity are part of a common good that has to be thought politically, while taking in account other aspects of human nature. The contemporary debates of regulation versus deregulation, global integration versus cultural identities, and empowerment of the state versus empowerment of international organizations are key structural debates 21 22
Mittleman, 286 Gajo Petrovic. “Alienation”. A Dictionary of Marxist thought. Ed. Tom Bottomore. Oxford: Blackwell, 2001, 14
Works Cited “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” 4th. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000. Print.
Elzinga, Bernet M., Richard Van Dyck, and Philip Spinhoven. “Three
Controversies About Dissociative Identity Disorder.” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy 5.1 (1998): 13-23. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 May 2012.
Halgin, Richard P. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Abnormal Psychology. 3rd. McGraw-Hill, 2005. 42-52. Print.
Serban, George. “Multiple Personality: An Issue For Forensic Psychiatry.”
American Journal Of Psychotherapy 46.2 (1992): 269. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 May 2012.
Spanos, Nicholas P. Multiple Identities & False Memories: A Sociocogni-
tive Perspective. 1st. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1996.
The More You Know About Something, The Less You Fear It Charlotte Lewis
codependent on the lingering lust of his employees’ emails. coffee to accompany the (dol)drums and the trumpets. a refuge from the string attached to his loose being, lies within the li(f)es on screen. whispering, contriving demands. Man, you’re a witch when you play the musical chairs of marriage. Daddy, you’ve got moon craters on your cheeks. the bow of your leg, taught, what the bow on my Christmas presents taught me. the frightened little boy trapped in the suit of success cries for you to tell him it’s okay, undress. the hours who waste you on the spreadsheet spread your sheets, on the couch where Momma put you.
Edward Linnehan The New York Art World
Aspects of elitism seep through, even in the arrangement of the chairs. The New York City art market is a rapidly evolving and adapting culture, with the constant influx of capital and the absurd amount of buyers and artists, the art market retains self-sustainability. Unlike galleries in other cities, in New York City, both secondary galleries and primary galleries are able to rely on donors and private interests as well as partnerships with top name artists; there is no need for outside sources of revenue to keep the art market alive. From galleries to art schools, the discourse of the artist, art, and buyer creates a revolving door of students and artists who never need to leave the art market in this city.
While the concept of art has been around for the last few
with living artists, but instead resell pieces, which tend to overvalue and
thousand years, the idea of an art market has been a concept developed
somehow devalue the price of a particular artist.2 In other words, these
through modernity within the last three centuries. The first inklings of the
are auction houses or galleries where work is on view from an artist, but
art market in action were the stores in the streets of Paris that sold works
the artist is completely removed from the process. In New York City, the
to society’s upper class. Since then, the art market has been an ever
structure of the art market is such that these secondary galleries and
changing and rapidly moving entity. While art was originally purposed
auction houses draw in the high clientele, thus creating a self-funded
for transcendental experiences or religious purposes, the advent of
network. In the book Seven Days in the Art World, Sarah Thornton delves
modernity brought about a shift in the way the buyer viewed the work.
into the culture of the auction houses.
Works of art were no longer priceless, and pieces were given tangible
Thornton was at Sotheby’s auction house for one of their auction
consumer value. Art had become a commodity. The market transitioned
events, where she transcribes the events. Sotheby’s is the cream of the
from its origins in France as reckless and hastily assembled purchasing
crop when it comes to secondary art galleries. They purchase and resell
spaces, to art hanging in precise locations within the interior space of
only the work that is guaranteed to draw in the most lavish clients. Thornton
an art gallery. But this pointedly arranged gallery space is not the only
introduces the reader to Sotheby’s by saying that Sotheby’s and Christies
incarnation, as the art market has taken many forms and locations.
are the sellers behind 98% of the art trade within markets every year.3 That
Formerly rooted in Paris, where the hub of the art world would stay until
might be the most staggered number in any field: just two auction houses
the mid 20th century, the market has shifted from London to Los Angeles
based in New York City nearly control the entire art trade. Many of the
and to its current location, New York City.1 For the last thirty years the art
buyers of these lots don’t reside in New York City, but travel to the auction
market has resided in New York City, due to its breadth of owners and
houses because of the influence of these secondary markets. Even
New Yorks own financial development and change over the last century.
compared to thriving art scenes like Beijing or Paris, who have sizeable
While New York City, especially Manhattan, is now considered
auction houses, don’t even have a percentage of the art market because
the height of the business world, less than fifty years ago it was a
the Christies and Sotheby’s branches in New York City so completely skew
manufacturing and industrial city. Areas that are considered the new “it”
the size of the market. These galleries are a prime example on how the
place to live that also draw the wealthiest people have their roots in labor
New York City art scene is able to essentially be its own world. The auction
and manufacturing. With the new influx of capital to the city and the shift
houses are able to entice the billionaires, not because of the beauty of art,
in objects that get deemed as commodities, New York City became a
but because art is an untouchable commodity. One can purchase a car,
league of its own in regards to having an art market that needed no outside
which has a tangible price. However, the buyers see art as something that
influence in order to thrive. The New York City art market is a rapidly
just leads to more money.4 When it goes back to the auction house, the
evolving and adapting culture, yet with the constant influx of capital and
seller is anticipating making more money off it then what they purchased
the absurd amount of buyers and artists, the art market is allowed to retain
the work for.
a self-sustaining quality. Unlike galleries in other cities, in New York City,
This point leads into another aspect of the popularity of these
both secondary galleries and primary galleries are able to rely on donors
auction houses and why they are able to keep New York City afloat
and private interests as well as partnerships with top name artists.
on their own. While capital and art are obviously the two big draws for
Nothing shows this self-sustaining ability more than the
people, there is also the sense of power and elite status by being invited
secondary markets. Secondary art galleries are galleries that do not work 2 1
Sarah Thornton, Seven Days in the Art World. (New York: W.W Norton Company, 2008), 24.
“Retail Gallery Prices,” Art Business, accessed December 9, 2014. https://owl.english. purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/05/ Thornton, 7. Thornton, 14.
to these auction houses. As stated earlier, many of the clients do not reside in New York, they instead keep a Pied-á-Terre, sometimes only to come in for the auctions. Every year, the same people catch up and try to look like they are the most elite in the room. In turn, the auction houses are specifically designed for people to show off that they are able
not seen as art,
to stand out in a crowd of their peers. Aspects of this elitism seep through
but as investments.
room with the opportunity to bid on worshipped art pieces should put
even in the arrangement of the chairs. By all accords, just being in the these attendees into the same social group. However, there is preferential treatment given to the bidders that have the most opportunities in the auction house. Anyone who the house is certain will be purchasing sought after art is able to get seating in the aisles. Dividing the buyers into smaller groups exemplifies the issues that the New York art market faces with the overflowing capital and how auction houses operate within the art world.5 Any other city, even those with a thriving scene, would try to make the most opportunity out of every buyer, but in New York City, many of the lesser buyers are not taken seriously. This in turn inflates the capital for a piece as a result of bidding wars that ensue when a person thought that the painting was rightfully theirs, but another buyer comes along to add to their personal acclaim. This desire to show off one’s personal wealth extends past the art houses into the arts themselves. The Philharmonic in Lincoln Center recently flaunted its ability to retain New York’s elite, understanding that philanthropy is just as much part of the arts as the piece itself. It adds to an increasingly overwhelming context for an artist to make a piece. This can be seen with Hans Haacke’s MoMA installation in 1970 where he played upon the museum’s connection to the Rockefeller’s in order to get at the Rockefeller’s in the work.6 That being said, with the Lincoln Center case, the board of trustees essentially paid off 15 million dollars to Avery Fischer in order to have a private donor give them a larger amount to have the name rights to the hall.7 While this may seem like a completely tangential point to the aforementioned galleries, they are actually very closely tied. 5 6 7
Thornton, 25. “Biting the Hand That Feeds Them,” Art News, accessed December 8, 2014. http:// www.artnews.com/2011/12/06/biting-the-hand-that-feeds-them/ “Lincoln Center Pays Avery Fischer $15 Million so it Can Rename Concert Hall,” Gothamist, accessed December 8, 2014. http://gothamist.com/2014/11/13/lincoln_center_pays_avery_fishers_1.php
For many of the buyers of the Picasso’s, Pollock’s, van Gogh’s, and the numerous other artists who sell for millions upon millions of dollars, they are not seen as art, but as investments. One of the people that Thornton interviewed was exclaiming that at a certain point, monetary possessions lose their fun. He said that art seemed like the next logical choice into diversifying a portfolio.8 The exact same thing can be said for the renaming of the Lincoln Center. Due to the desire of these multi-billionaires to have a claim that no one else can, they will spend enormous amounts of money that no one else would. By doing this and repeating this cycle every few years, it ensures that the New York art market is self-sufficient. As long as people are willing to pump as much money as humanly possible into something, the system is going to eat it up. While this inflates pieces that have no reason to be inflated and devalues talented artists, the market is what the business executives consider, regardless of talent. In addition, these donors get massive tax breaks, and who doesn’t want a way to avoid putting their share into the economy to help government projects? Taking a glance at what is in the news on artforum.com, it is easy to tell that New York is still the central point for art, if not becoming an even further hegemon in the art world. For instance, on December 9th, 2014, four of the eight topics on the news section revolve around the New York art market.9 Ranging from artists to curators, the New York City art scene completely trumps any other market. Even major news like the announcement of the Sao Paolo Biennial is followed up by an announcement that a curator for the Guggenheim is stepping down. This is a clear indicator that the New York market does not need to have outside forces to keep itself in prime condition. With buyers from around the world purchasing in New York City instead of galleries in other cities, it takes the pressure off of having to go to art fairs, such as the biennials, and essentially compete for money. Although secondary galleries and the auction houses get a lot of the action and have created a name for New York City in the art world, it’s not as if the primary art galleries in New York do not also get a fair share of the clientele that the secondary galleries have. A primary art gallery is an art gallery that is working with a current artist and helping produce 8 9
Thornton, 28. “News,” Art Forum, accessed December 9, 2014. http://artforum.com/news/
and sells their work for potential buyers. In New York City, these galleries are primarily located in Chelsea and the Lower East Side, with more spreading into areas of Brooklyn, such as Williamsburg and Bushwick. While the major revenue comes from secondary galleries, due to the massive amounts of artists and galleries, buyers are still willing to spend mass amounts of money for a living artist, despite artists who are still alive do not generate the same hype, no matter their level of talent and artistic output. Waiting lists have become a frequent occurrence of primary galleries in New York, an aspect to art markets that no other city could fathom. Essentially what happens for artists like Jeff Koons is they create a pseudo-waiting list for their pieces. To obtain a spot on the waiting list, you must to have a certain amount of credit in the art world. However, often that status is not sufficient. There is an upper echelon and a lower one between those deemed worthy enough to have a place on the list. The lower echelon may never be able to even make an offer on a work, let alone be allowed to purchase it.10 By doing this, it drives up the market for contemporary, living artists who are usually seen as less talented, even though that’s really not the case. There is enough money in New York City for many galleries to bypass biennials as a way of attracting new buyers. Instead, many galleries can focus on developing young artists and even the more experienced artists without fear of not being able to sell their work. Due to the fact that there is always a buyer for in the market, there is no need for a contingency plan. Home to the Pop-Art scene, New York City also struck a chord with many richer men at the time for these living artists. This prompted collectors like David Teiger to purchase a whole Warhol gallery for a fraction of what MoMA would later pay. Teiger’s purchase was indicative of the shifting climate in the New York art world. This is also when judgment 11
and the market began to diverge from one another. While Warhol was a very talented artist, art was becoming more of a luxury item and the higher the price, the more exclusive it became. Even if a work was not particularly good, some collectors were willing to take the risk on living artists because if the artist becomes well-renowned post mortem, they 10 11
Thornton, 15. Thornton, 13.
There is an upper echelon and a lower one between those deemed worthy enough to have a place on the list.
are just seen as more advanced collectors. And if not, then it is seen as a gamble, but one that can at least be resold. The main reason that New York is able to keep all of these primary galleries in business is linked to its capital. In a day and age where art is seen less as a hobby and more as a regimented profession, art schools are becoming ever more important in the art world. One must go to the right school, meet the right people, find the right gallery to exhibit their works and produce something that will actually sell, which then devalues meaning and context. While Anton Vidokle satirized this in his conversation in Contemporary Art, there is a wry truth to everything he was saying. Without an MFA from a top art school, there is little chance that an artist can actually be successful in the art world.12 The absurdity was not lost on Vidokle, who promptly dropped out. While he may be an exception, aspiring artists flock to New York, not because they have galleries, but because they have buyers who are still interested in living artists. With this murderous system, artists are not allowed to live freely to create as they please. They are not allowed to live “outside the system” because buyers, even ones that have a spot for contemporary art, do not get anything out of it. With works that are open to the public, they do not get the exclusivity of owning a work. This in turn leads to many more artists needing to keep going to school and put more money into the New York art world. As Katy Siegel put it in her essay in Contemporary Art, an artist needs to have a checklist of things to accomplish or do in order to make capital of their own.13 However in doing so, the artists put money into the private institutions who use this money to entice more students. The reason that students do this is, the more acclaim the school one attends goes to, the more their work is sought after. While this may be a formalist view at looking at what an artist is, many artists have succumbed to this thinking. That’s why the artists come to New York and with the amount of artists and galleries; there is never a lack of buyers who see the market as dried up. While the big money is clearly in secondary galleries, in New York compared to other cities there is enough capital going around to not 12
Anton Vidokle, “Art Without Institutions,” in Alexander Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson8, ed. Contemporary Art (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), p. 420-428. 13 Katy Siegel, “Lifelong Learning,” in Alexander Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson, ed. Contemporary Art (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), p. 408-419.
discourage any artist from practicing in New York. Due to the changing dynamic of New York City and how it interacts with capital, the art market has shifted from a European center to that of New York City. Not only that, but by accord of competing interests between the wealthy and the vast array of schools, galleries and auction houses, there is enough monetary value to sustain New York without galleries and artists ever needing to leave. The New York market is selfsufficient and does not need the help of any outside source to keep it that way. Whether that’s necessarily a good thing by having the idea of judgment and monetary value being correlated are completely separate arguments about whether or not it is actually a demonstration of an artist’s talent and how much their work costs. However, for the time being it has been the only art market that has been able to do this much without relying on capital from elsewhere.
Works Cited Anton Vidokle, “Art Without Institutions,” in Alexander Dumbadze and Su-
zanne Hudson8, ed. Contemporary Art (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), p. 420-428.
Katy Siegel, “Lifelong Learning,” in Alexander Dumbadze and Suzanne
Hudson, ed. Contemporary Art (Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), p. 408-419.
“Lincoln Center Pays Avery Fischer $15 Million so it Can Rename Concert Hall,” Gothamist, accessed December 8, 2014. http://gothamist. com/2014/11/13/lincoln_center_pays_avery_fishers_1.php
Sarah Thornton, Seven Days in the Art World. (New York: W.W Norton Company, 2008) p. 7, 13, 14, 15, 24, 25, 28.
“News,” Art Forum, accessed December 9, 2014. http://artforum.com/ news/
“Retail Gallery Prices,” Art Business, accessed December 9, 2014. https:// owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/05/
“Biting the Hand That Feeds Them,” Art News, accessed December 8,
Sarah Root The Google Resistance
For as long as the company has existed, Googleâ€™s rising ubiquity and influence on our personal lives and digital culture has been discussed by researchers and critics. Googleâ€™s ubiquity and sovereignty as exercised and demonstrated through the efficiency and pervasiveness of their products are investigated throughout my autoethnography on the Google resistance. Google users as well as researchers and critics have perceived a digital landscape branded to near entirety with Google products and have challenged the companyâ€™s intentions and surveillance as the company continues to grow and appears to become the primary facilitator of our connection to the Internet and overall networked public.
Google Ubiquity & Sovereignty
original, non-country specific, global site Google.com. Cerf’s perspective highlights both Google’s global appeal—limitless connection points—and
Google is one of the most accessed, powerful, and ubiquitous
controversy—Google sovereignty based on access and liberty.11
force on the internet.1,2,3,4 Offering a wide range of services, varying from
In contrast to Cerf’s discussion points on Google sovereignty
video hosting to e-mail handling, refined searches to cloud storage and
reinstating liberty for users,12 Banerjee discusses the legal and social
more, are accessible to billions of users at no cost to the consumer.5
implications of Google products, specifically Google Earth and Google
Available in 101 countries with localized and regional domains and
Maps and the products’ zoom and Google Street View features,
cooperating with often superseding government courts and agencies
respectively.13 She pinpoints that, although the rise in popularity and use of
around the world,6,7 this capacity and sovereignty amidst continual
the aforementioned Google products represents a change in society’s use
growth and innovation has sparked many debates regarding users’ rights,
of combining maps and technology to enhance education, entertainment,
need for connectedness, and underlying user complicity in Google’s
and navigation, this rise should serve as a warning signal to ordinary
people that these Google products have the potential to aversely “affect
Vice president of Google, Cerf provides an interesting and
the lives and liberties of [the] ordinary citizen.”14 As Google proceeds to
perhaps albeit biased perspective regarding Google users’ right to
advance its technology and, in turn, its ubiquity as the all-seeing eye in
He credits the revolutionary and historical expansion of
our world, Banerjee cites that “the individual privacy which is a moral right
Google on an international scale to Google’s being a technology that
of every human being and the commercialization of a person’s body or
was “invented to facilitate human interaction” likening it to that of “the
property like cars without his permission” are primary areas of concern.15
book or the phone.” Cerf further discusses Google’s increasing assertion
In spite of these concerns, the author infuses her argument with a tone
of sovereignty in different nations around the world, remarking that this
of resignation offering no solution. Submitting to Google’s impending
phenomenon only exists because of man’s innate desire to interact and
dominance and acknowledging that Google’s superior technology not
feel connected. The Internet—specifically Google—facilitate interaction
only grants individuals access to the world, but products like Google
and connectedness. Furthermore, he observes that countries that censor
Earth have earned their right to “remain a popular service.”16
Google users’ search results (e.g., France) are inherently limiting the
In line with the instability of users’ rights in the face of Google’s
freedoms of their citizens. Moving around this limitation of freedom,
rising power, Rosen discussed Google’s regulatory path and cites key
Google gives freedom back to those citizens by offering access to the
contradictions in Google’s business model and ideology.17 In regards to Google’s cameras around the globe, Rosen remarks, “McLaughlin
C. Fuchs, “Google capitalism.” Triplec (Cognition, Communication, Co-Operation): Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society 10, no. 1 (2012): 42-48. 2 J.I. Miller, “‘Don’t be evil’: Gmail’s relevant text advertisements violate Google’s own motto and your e-mail privacy rights.” Hofstra Law Review, 33 no. 4 (2005): 16071641. 3 M. Thompson, “In search of alterity: On Google, neutrality, and otherness.” Tulane Journal of Technology & Intellectual Property, 14 (2011): 137-190. 4 S. Vaidhyanathan,The Googlization of everything (and why we should worry). Berkeley: The University of California Press. 2011. 5 C. Fuchs, “Google capitalism.” 6 Google transparency report.” Google. 2013. https://www.google.com/transparencyreport/. 7 M. Thompson, “In search of alterity: On Google, neutrality, and otherness.” 8 V. Cerf, “The right to connect and internet censorship.” NPQ: New Perspectives Quarterly 29, no. 2 (2012): 18-23. 9 Cerf, “The right to connect and internet censorship.” 18. 10 Cerf.
[Google’s head of public policy in 2007] explained that [Google] would refuse to link the images because of the great dangers ubiquitous surveillance could create.”18 The contradiction in McLaughlin’s statement, 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Cerf. Cerf. D. Banerjee, “Is my laptop a viable took to invade your privacy? – Such and other critical legal issues generated by GoogleEarth.” Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology 5, no. 4 (2010): 260-269. D. Banerjee, 260. D. Banerjee, 269. D. Banerjee, 269. J. Rosen, “Keeping Google good: Remarks on privacy regulation and free speech.” George Mason Law Review 20, no. 4 (2013): 1003-1007. Rosen, 2004.
practice of ubiquitous surveillance. Moreover, Rosen is keen to
foreshadow the loss of users’ rights given Google’s current practice of self-regulation, as “unchecked power corrupts.”
as Gmail. Their search-based e-mail service scans users’ e-mails to refine future searches and featured target-audience advertisements.
Like Banerjee, Miller alludes to Google users’ complicity in Google’s
dominance despite aforementioned surveillance and self-regulation. The author accuses Google of “luring individuals to use their services with the promise of bigger inboxes and powerful search capabilities”
only to then exploit users’ data. Despite the exploitation of personal data, Google users, according to Miller, continue to flock to the company.22 The Network Effect & Networked Publics
The ubiquity and sovereignty of Google as well as users’ continuation to use Google products can be explained by Google’s
impeccable execution of Web 2.0 core competencies. According to 23
O’Reilly, providing services with “cost-effective scalability”, “trusting
users as codevelopers,” “harnessing collective intelligence,”24 and facilitating a network effect are some of the key competencies of Web 2.0. Google has successfully provided services (versus packaged software) at no cost to the customer and at relatively minimal cost to the company.
Google’s continued expansion and improvement on
their original innovations through the utilization of users’ collective data, searches, posts, e-mails, and other forms of user “intelligence” 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Rosen, 1006. J.I. Miller,“‘Don’t be evil’: Gmail’s relevant text advertisements violate Google’s own motto and your e-mail privacy rights.” 1614. Miller, 1641. Miller. T, O’Reilly, “What is Web 2.0.” In The Social Media Reader, 2012 New York: University Press. O’Reilly, 51. Fuchs.
given that Google products are clear indicators of Google’s preexisting
raise Google products to unprecedented standards of quality, creating products that increase users’ selfefficacy in Google interfaces and, in turn, facilitates a culture of repeat, loyal consumerism.26,27,28 The network effect produced by Google is in the quality of their products and size of their network. “The larger the network, the greater the quality and thus the value that [Google], as a product, will acquire. As no search engine has accumulated the wealth of knowledge that Google has about users’ clicking behavior, no other search engine can offer the same experience in terms of accuracy that Google can.”29 This network effect is facilitated by and within a networked public in the Google universe. Boyd describes networked publics as spaces in the digital sphere which “allow people to gather for social, cultural, and civic purposes and… help people connect with a world beyond their close friends and family.”30 She describes the architecture of the networked public as being comprised of four parts: persistence, replicability, scalability, and searchability. Boyd’s description provides a framework through which the Google universe can be understood as a networked public.31 Related to persistence, Google regularly and automatically records and archives users’ online expressions, from the Google+ social networking platform to search results on Google Web Search. Looking at Google+ posts as well as the share-ability of Google Hangouts, images, and news articles, Google maintains its leadership position in both replicability and scalability in Web 2.0.32,33 Finally, Google began as and continues to be the world’s premier and most accessed search engine.34 It is superior in its searchability. The aforementioned illustrates a networked public within the Google sphere. Furthermore, according to Boyd, participants within a networked public like Google are “implicitly and explicitly contending with these 26 O’Reilly. 27 Thompson. 28 Vaidhyanathan. 29 Thompson, 170. 30 D. Boyd,“Social network sites as networked publics: Affordances, dynamics, and implications.” In Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites (ed. Zizi Papacharissi), (2010): 39-58. 31 Boyd. 32 Fuchs. 33 Miller. 34 Fuchs.
affordances and dynamics as a central part of their participation.”35 In alignment with Boyd’s discussion on participants, Fuchs states that
“Google is part of the best Internet practices because its services Thompson furthers his discussion on users’ dependence on
can enhance and support the everyday life of humans […and] is a manifestation of the productive and socializing forces of the Internet.”
Google, remarking on the experience of resisting the Google search
These perspectives not only further highlight the networked publics within
and dynamics of Google and its user experience, but also provides
“Against the common assumption that users can easily shift to
context toward understanding claims that the overall networked structure
competitors such as Bing or Yahoo should Google abuse its dominant
of Google encourages user complicity and creates user dependence on
position, research has shown that Google’s market displays low
By seeking Google-alternatives, users are also at a disadvantage. reverberates a similar theme of users’ attempts to cut away from Google
User Complicity & Dependence
services stating, “[o]pting out or switching away from Google services Thompson describes user complicity to Google through the
degrades one’s ability to use the Web.”47 The picture of a user resisting
process of “…contract[ing] out portions of our liberty; we transfer these to
Google products is an illustration of self-ostracizing from the network and
an overarching organization that purposes (or purports) to reflect the wider
an incomplete online experience fraught with subpar product options.
public interest… and to do so in a benevolent or at least non-malicious Despite Google’s general reputation for data mining,
In the face of Google’s ubiquity, sovereignty, user complicity and
dependence, and the seemingly daunting and lonely task set ahead for
users continue to
users who try to remove themselves from the networked Google sphere,
use Google. Furthermore, users become “increasingly dependent on such
there is insufficient research available to suggest that a full separation
an organization,” particularly an organization like Google who offers the
from Google can be possible. In response to this discrepancy and my
freedom of seemingly limitless access to information to billions of users
own curiosity surrounding my own use of Google products in hand with
around the world. This fantasy of abundance of information somehow
feeling connected to the network, the current research project will seek to
facilitating democracy not only fuels communication and connectedness
challenge Thompson’s48 and Vaidhyanathan’s49 perspective on opting out
in the network,43 but also perpetuates user complicity and facilitates
and answer the following research questions through an autoethnographic
and abusing First Amendment rights,
Furthermore, Thompson points out that the inherent
structure of Google products “restrict[s] users’ switching possibilities.”
Resisting Google, therefore, would seem impossible. 35 Boyd,15. 36 Fuchs, 46. 37 Thompson. 38 Thompson.139. 39 Rosen. 40 Banerjee. 41 Rosen. 42 Thompson, 139. 43 J. Dean, Democracy and other neoliberal fantasies. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. 44 Vaidhyanathan. 45 Vaidhyanathan,169.
Research Questions 1. Are there viable alternatives to Google products? User objectives, the criteria for product effectiveness, as well as two alternatives per Google product counterpart (if available) have been established prior to the initiation of the autoethnography for efficiency in 46 47 48 49
Thompson,170. Vaidhyanathan, 20. Thompson. Vaidhyanathan.
recording data. Because I am attempting to monitor my regular online
activity and product usage, only Google products I use regularly will be a part of the research.
Because the current research was experientially based, I was
Alternatives products used in the current study have met
the sole participant in the autoethnography. Therefore, all derived data
all of the following criteria to qualify as Google-alternative products as
was reflective of only my engagement with Google and non-Google web-
well as effective alternatives: First, alternatives must not be a member
based products. Data was obtained over a period of two weeks. The first
of the Google family of products. Second, in order to parallel the ease
week was used to obtain data on Google products, and the second on
of accessibility of Google products (e.g.,www.gmail.com, http://translate.
non-Google products, during designated days of highest internet activity
google.com) alternatives must be located by a simple hyperlink and not
(Monday, Thursday, Saturday).
include deep links (e.g.,www.mail.yahoo.com v. www.bing.com/news.
The Feelings of Connectedness to Network scale will be
Alternatives must also be accessible without a Google login. Finally, all
quantified on a scale from Not Connected (Score=0), Least Connected
services, applications, and software must be free.
(Score=1), Somewhat Connected (Score=2), Connected (Score=3),
Along with the aforementioned criteria for effectiveness across
to Very Connected (Score=4). Only products used on a particular
all alternative products, product-specific criteria have been established
day will receive a connectedness score. This average will indicate the
as necessary. For example, if the objective is to find directions a viable
overall feeling of connectedness for the given day, per the Feelings of
alternative (e.g., Mapquest) should achieve all of the general criteria for
Connectedness to Network scale.
effectiveness as well as the product-specific criteria for effectiveness
Data derived from the Overall Product Effectiveness and Overall
(e.g., directions must be accurate, map must be included with step-by-
Feelings of Connectivity will indicate overall products’ viability. Ideally, a
step directions). Alternatives to Google products will be deemed viable if
product of high viability should have a score of 100% for Overall Product
they meet both the criteria for effectiveness and rate high on the Feelings
Effectiveness and 4 for Overall Feelings of Connectivity.
of Connectedness scales (see Research Question 2). 2. Which offers more feelings of connectedness to the network: Google or Google-alternatives?
There are strengths and limitations associated with this method. The meticulous, autoethnographic record-keeping would provide a detailed and quantifiable account of my online activity on what I consider
Feelings of connectedness to the network will be quantified and
to be my busiest days of online activity (e.g., answering e-mails, watching
measured via scale (see Method). The feelings recorded will be my own
videos, etc.). This method of recording detailed data will allow me to gain
as the current research is an autoethnography.
a more true-to-life perspective regarding Google alternative viability as
3. What does the experience of Google resistance look like?
well as what resistance from Google products looks like. A key limitation is
It is imperative to address the user experience surrounding
that I am my only research participant in an experiential research project
the resistance of Google products. Because the autoethnography will
and my experience of connectivity and definition of product viability is
be experiential, this research question will be qualitative and narrative in
subjective and does not create an illustration of what Google resistance
nature. This narrative will speak and contribute to the discourse surrounding
may look like for others. Not all Google products are included in my
Google’s ubiquity as well as the greater discourse surrounding users’
research; only Google products I use daily. By not solely relying on one
growing complicity and the texture of the relationship between soft power
alternative, the exploration of viable alternatives is widened. However
and authority in our digital culture.
widened the exploration is though, two alternatives for each Google product does not fully offer a comprehensive perspective or produce a complete list of all the non-Google alternative products that are currently
available to users. By performing the tests across multiple days, the data
opinion, considering how frequently I was online. Unrecorded peripheral
had the potential to represent a more complete picture of connectedness
observations of my online behavior indicated that I accessed Facebook
and product viability than if the research was conducted on one day alone.
far more frequently than I accessed Google products and Google-
In spite of this, these weeks are not complete and there is an inherent
alternatives. Peripheral observations of my browser history also showed
limitation in the current research: Google-alternative days will need to be
that some days almost all of my browser history related to Facebook; this
alternated (Monday, Thursday, and Saturday) due to my primary e-mail
online behavior remained consistent during both Google and Google-
account, which requires use of a Google product (Gmail).
alternative days. Why is it that the majority of research and critiques dictate Google as the ubiquitous and almighty invader and not Facebook or other
Results – Personal Log
social media platforms, or other sites that mine for similar data in similar, This is my experience regarding Google’s ubiquity, brand
unseen methods (e.g., Bing, Yahoo)? I am compelled both in the face of
familiarity and connectedness, and brand loyalty and perceived brand
popular opinion and based on my own personal experience that Google
dependence. Because the current research is autoethnographic, it is
is no more ubiquitous or covertly gathering my data than any other major
inherently experiential in nature.
online brand. While my online activity is practically divided between Facebook
Taking Google’s Purposed Ubiquity to Task
and Google, Google was not my first choice in achieving a core goal of my online activity, which was social media connectivity: it was Facebook
The tone and manner in which Google’s ubiquity has
that enhanced my connectedness to the network via social media
has largely reflected an omnipresent if not
engagement. My commitment to these two brands, despite the fact that
omniscient brand whose perceived ubiquity and omniscience on the
viable alternatives do indeed exist, must be rooted in something else. I am
part of critics provides material to foreshadow branding the future with
not forced nor did I feel forced to use Google or Facebook, but to highlight
digital dehumanization, immaterial slave labor,54 and the annihilation
the word “commitment” leads me to another conclusion, stepping away
of brand choice. Based on personal experience, the tone and manner
from the Google and online public spheres and analyzing a broader
aforementioned is, albeit, hyperbolic and rooted in misdirected suspicion.
context: my connection to Google and Facebook as brands.
Prior to the beginning of my research, I assumed that I used Google products to achieve most, if not all, of my goals in the digital
Brand Familiarity & Connectedness
sphere (e.g., e-mail, maps). While tracking my Google days, I found that this hypothesis was not true. While Google was my first-choice brand in
A brand is a promise of a service, a level of quality, and an
achieving an online goal on average of 50 times per recorded day, an
experience,55 and is consumer familiarity to a particular brand is
observation of my browser history reveals that another brand was accessed
developed through repeated and meaningful use by the consumer and
far more frequently and appeared more worthy of the “ubiquitous” title
repeated visualization of the brand (e.g., logo) over a period of time.56
than Google: Facebook. My Google usage seemed rather low in my
To give an example within the context of the current research, my brand familiarity with Google was built on several foundations: the brand has
50 Fuchs. 51 Miller. 52 Thompson. 53 Vaidhyanathan. 54 T. Terranova, Network Culture. London: Pluto Press. 2004.
A. Ahmed. & Olander, S. Velocity: The seven laws for a world gone digital. London: Random House. 2012. 56 A. Chaudhuri, & M.B. Holbrook,“The chain of effects from brand trust and brand affect to brand performance: The role of brand loyalty.” Journal of Marketing, 65, no. 2, (2001): 81-93.
been around for a long time, has been relevant and useful to me, its image
for brand familiarity, save for their lowercase inclusion as a part of my
is identifiable, and its name has been inserted into my primary language
primary language. If these brands were people, I would align them as the
(e.g., Google, v. – to search online, ex. “I’ll just google it.”) just as xerox
same caliber of person that Google was: reliable, trustworthy, helpful, and
(v., n.), kleenex (n.), and windex (v., n.) have all moved from proper nouns
indicative of brands to lowercase nouns and verbs indicative of general items or actions.
I feel a strong sense of connection to Facebook, Google, and all of the aforementioned high-scoring Google-alternatives. Similar to the
In hand with brand familiarity comes feelings of brand
criteria for brand familiarity, these brands have not only been around for a
connectedness. When a brand has been around for a while, it has been
while, but were relevant and useful in my life on a consistent basis, even
relevant and useful, is identifiable, and has inserted itself in one’s daily
before my Google resistance. Consistency was key in developing an even
language, laying the foundation for consumers to feel connected to the
stronger bond with brands, like Google, and brand loyalty.58
brand. In my opinion, and in likening brands to people, the processes of brand familiarity and consumer connectedness are not unlike seeing an
acquaintance multiple times, meeting and getting to know somebody, or making a friend. There is an emotional bond between two people in the
The primary ubiquity of Google I perceived before my research
same way that the bond between the consumer and brand is an emotional
was not due to Google forcing its way into my life, but, rather, my loyalty to
the Google brand. Brand loyalty develops from the same criteria of brand
Evidence of my connectedness to Google and Google-
familiarity;59 however, brand loyalty differs in that consumers are strongly
alternatives reveal surprising results and lend support to my emotional
bonded to the brand because of the brand’s consistency in delivering its
connection, or lack thereof, between brands and myself. On a 4.00 scale,
brand promise over a long period of time as well as the brand’s ability to
the Overall Feelings of Connectedness Score for Google was 3.95 whereas
make the life of the consumer easier immediately.60
Google-alternatives was 2.72. Referring to the Feelings of Connectedness
Once again, in likening my brand loyalty to Google as well as to
Scale, Google scored closest to “Most Connected” whereas Google-
Facebook and other viable Google-alternatives that scored 4.00 on the
alternatives scored between “Somewhat Connected” and “Connected.”
Feelings of Connectedness scale to that of a person, these brands are my
The Google-alternatives that scored the lowest were brands I
closest of friends. We know each other very well. When I search for shoes
had never used before (Metacafe=0.66, Yandex=1.67) or brands I had
online, Google will tailor my search results based on my previous browser
heard of before, but had failed to follow through on several brand promises
history and visits to shoe and shoe-related websites. It gives me what I
that would help me achieve my online goals (Vimeo=1.00; Flickr=1.33)
want and knows what I want before I announce it. Google knows me so
and, in some cases, repeatedly inhibiting my connections with others
well that it even finishes my sentences.
(Skype=2.00). In likening these brands to people, these brands were
Similarly, Facebook knows whom I communicate with most
unreliable and had not yet earned my trust. Naturally, I felt little to no
frequently and puts their updates at the top of my Top Stories news feed.
connection with these brands.
Shops like Amazon know that I have been searching for a leather laptop
The Google-alternatives that scored the highest were brands that
bag and that I own a Kindle and uses this information to recommend
I had used before with success (Amazon=4.00; Bing=4.00; Etsy=4.00;
a leather laptop bag and Kindle case combination. Both Google and
Firefox=4.00; Yahoo!=4.00; Yahoo!News=4.00). These brands had
Yahoo!News know that I have been researching news of new construction
delivered on their brand promises and had exemplified most of the criteria 57
A. Chaudhuri & M.B. Holbrook.
58 59 60
A. Chaudhuri & M.B. Holbrook. A. Chaudhuri & M.B. Holbrook. A. Ahmed & S. Olander.
on micro-apartments in San Francisco and both offered news alerts before
would degrade my overall experience.
I even asked for it. Etsy knows I have a PayPal account and asked me if I wanted to sign in to pay for an item with my PayPal account.
In this (and only this) sense Vaidhyanathan had a somewhat relevant point in stating that “switching away from Google services
These brands understand my needs, meet them, exceed them,
degrades one’s ability to use the Web.”62 Considering this point and
and do so consistently. They have earned my loyalty as a consumer
analyzing the greater scheme of Google, YouTube is one of Google’s
and I feel that I had mistaken (if not forgotten) my autonomy to consume
189 tools, applications, products, and services (List of Google products,
brands repeatedly with the perception of forced brand ubiquity. I was
n.d.), making it only 0.53% of Google’s overall body of existence. Those
not forced to use Google before, during, or after this project. Not only
I subscribe to on YouTube utilize the platform as their primary means of
do viable Google-alternatives exist, but I feel strongly that I am equally
vlogging, but they all have their own websites and social media platforms
as loyal and connected to those Google-alternative brands that scored a
separate from YouTube on which I can follow them on. The need for
4.00 on the Feelings of Connectedness Scale as I am to Google. This not
YouTube, however great it feels and however dependent on it I perceive
only establishes brand familiarity, loyalty, and connectedness to brands
myself to be, is not dire when considering the greater picture of my
beyond Google, but led me to question my perceived brand dependence
subscriptions and their presence elsewhere in my digital culture.
on Google. Conclusion Perceived Brand Dependence The original goal of this autoethnography was to challenge Google does not force me to be dependent on it, rather, it
and directly address the popular opinion that Google is everywhere and
provides a service that makes my life easier—I want to continue to use
inescapable. The opt-out myth,63 prior to the start of this research, was
it. Therefore, the feelings of brand dependence I felt were fabricated in
not a myth, but a hypothesis in my mind. I had originally intended to tie
my own mind. Furthermore, brands like Google need me.61 I forget my
my analysis to Google’s ubiquity and sovereignty and what their growth
own autonomy as a consumer. My feelings of dependence on YouTube
means for users; however, when taking a macro perspective on the
(which is owned by Google) had much to do with the fact that a viable
current autoethnography it is imperative that I step away from Google and
alternative to the brand did not exist, at least not in the current research.
other online platforms and, instead, consider myself.
Alternatives like Metacafe and Vimeo scored poorly on both the Feelings of
In my experience, one of the main reasons Google users try to
Connectedness (Metacafe=0.66; Vimeo=1.00) and Product Effectiveness
attempt to cut away from Google altogether is because “it is everywhere.”
(Metacafe=50%; Vimeo=21%) scales. Even more than the lack of a viable
Perceived ubiquity is aligned with and gives cause for consumer caution,
alternative, the vlogs I am subscribed to are not present on these platforms
suspicion, and inconvenience (e.g., perceived product dependence; lack
and are only viewable on YouTube’s platform. I have developed brand
of choice; perceptions of lost consumer autonomy). To discontinue using
loyalty and a strong connection to these subscriptions, to not view these
a product because it is perceived to be everywhere is counterintuitive to
vloggers, in my opinion, would be to diminish the quality of my online
why we use and prefer brands in the first place. As a consumer, the digital
experience. In my case, however, the current research suggests that, at
(e.g., Facebook, Google) and non-digital (e.g., Steve Madden, Levi’s)
least for now and until a viable alternative comes to exist, YouTube is the
brands I am most loyal to are easily accessible, align well with my values
only Google service whose absence from my personal daily online activity
and goals, and I prefer them to be everywhere if not when I look in the
C. Delo, “How much are you really worth to Facebook and Google?” Advertising Age. 2014.
S. Vaidhyanathan, 20. S. Vaidhyanathan.
mirror (e.g., Levi’s), in the digital sphere (e.g., Google), or other aspects
that, another powerful element of my consumer culture is the autonomy
of my life (e.g., Etsy). It is easier to consume when the product is there,
to question the intentions of the brands I consume. Consumer culture is
and the product is there because it is in demand and has been accepted
driven not only by consumption, but by consumers’ right to take brands
by others, and it has been accepted by others because it makes the lives
to task, to challenge their actions, and inquire about how their progress
of consumers easier.
and direction will impact our lives. In this way, the unexpected result of
Moreover, other brands are lauded for their perceived ubiquity
this autoethnography supports the idea that there is a democratizing
and ability to blend into our lives and make it easier. The digital brand
component to consumer culture.69 Brands, and even brands like Google,
Apple continues to have success with consumers, strong brand loyalty,
are subject to the demands and opinions of their consumers and rely
and a legion of faithful followers who forgive the company for great
on the literal and moral buy-in of their consumers to continue to stay
It can be argued that Apple is just as
relevant and viable. As powerful as Google might have felt to me prior to
Nike is another
this research, I discovered that they need me, the consumer, more than
business and design missteps.
pervasive in the lives of their consumers as Google is.
example of a brand lauded for its perceived ubiquity and ability to blend
I need them.
into the lives of its consumers, particularly with its Nike+ product line that
Experiencing the Google resistance, for me, is to better
allows you to share your running routes with your friends via social media,
understand brands and my relationship to them. Moreover, if Google did
turning each “Like” (via Facebook) into a roaring cheer over the music you
not exist (as seen in the Google-alternatives) I would seek products that
listen to while you run. In a new way, Nike connected consumers’ social
performed the same role (e.g., e-mail) and gave me the same benefits
media, exercise routines, and music into one well-received product.67,68
(e.g., connectivity to others). These consumer desires are real within me,
Like Apple, Nike appears pervasive in the lives of their consumers;
whether Google exists or not. Analyzing this behavior, the autoethnography
however, they are lauded whereas Google is chided.
suggests something greater and far beyond Google alone: I might be able
The sole characteristic that drives the Google brand and that
to move away from certain brands, but I cannot move away from myself.
Google has in common with brands like Apple and Nike is its tenacious pursuit of innovation. All three brands offer innovative products that make our lives easier, if not richer by bringing the vastness of the Internet to us (e.g., Google Web Search), allowing us to bring music everywhere (e.g., iPod), or track our jogs and share it with friends (e.g., Nike+). In acknowledgement of my experiential data and in my own opinion of Google, my greatest misstep as a consumer was confusing innovation with invasion and replacing my autonomy as a consumer with perceived feelings of force and personal defenselessness. A powerful piece of my consumer culture is the autonomy to choose brands based on those that make my life easier. More so than 64 65 66 67 68
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Hannah Rashydi The digital age has provided the tools to unearth human rights violations.
Human Rights in the Digital World
International human rights, defined by western standards, does not take into consideration cultural contexts of non-western nations. What does it mean to implement equal human rights on the global stage? Comparing the constitutions, court systems and human rights mechanisms of the Russian Federation and the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China in a side-byside analysis will provide detailed data on how these two countries have progressed and adapted to the international emphasis on human rights.
As the concept of human rights continues to flourish in the
Convention on Human Rights had removed Russia from the Soviet
international community, there are countries that continue to lag behind
mentality of sovereign power reigning over human rights and provided
when it comes to solidifying and implementing such a notion into their
the incentive for human rights to be an ensured part of the Russian
political and social systems. These countries have been repeatedly
Constitution. In Chapter 1 Article 2 of the Constitution of the Russian
chastised by the West for their alleged incompetence in the context
Federation, (Конституция Рoссийской Фeдерации), it is stated that “Man,
of human rights. Yet, it is unfair for the West to hold these countries to
his rights and freedoms shall be the supreme value. The recognition,
western standards without taking into consideration how these countries
observance and protection of human and civil rights and freedoms shall
differ from the West in their history, culture, and national identity. As the
be an obligation of the State.”3 The rights and freedoms of citizens are
West continues to push for an equal and universal understanding and
stated in Chapter 2, articles 17 through 64, of the constitution and include
implementation of human rights, it is important to take into consideration
basic human rights principles such as equality before the law4 and the
the differences of nations’ standards, specifically Russia and China. In
right to life.5 Similarly, Chapter 1, Article 2 of the Constitution of the
recent years, both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic
People’s Republic of China (中華人民共和國憲法), includes a discourse
of China have made great leaps forward by implementing human rights
stating that: “All power in the People’s Republic of China belongs to the
legislation into their political systems and taking part in international
people. The organs through which the people exercise state power are
human rights institutions. It is argued that Russia has embraced human rights norms
the National People’s Congress and the local people’s congresses at
within its own constitutional law1 and that China has become more and
different levels. The people administer state affairs and manage economic,
more engaged with the international inclination towards human rights;
cultural and social affairs through various channels and in various ways in
however, it is arguable as to whether or not the apparent enthusiasm for
accordance with the law.”6
While the basic rights of citizens are described in Chapter 2 of
human rights is implemented into practice or just into principle. Comparing the constitutions of the Russian Federation and the
the Constitution, this section of the Constitution includes the term “duties,”
People’s Republic of China will take into account the rights and freedoms
insinuating that Chinese citizens are obligated to uphold and perform the
of citizens established in the country’s legal principles of the constitution
required tasks declared in Chapter 2 of the Constitution. Although it is
and the discourse on the international obligations which they have agreed
stated in both constitutions that citizens have the right to work, nowhere
Both the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of
does it state in the Constitution of the Russian Federation that citizens are
China are Original Members within the United Nations. By signing onto
obliged to work as is stated in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of
the UN, each country is obliged to follow all articles embedded within
China.7 The list of rights and corresponding duties included in the Chinese
the UN Charter, suggesting that both countries have a mutual interest in
constitution suggests the existence of a kind of intangible mentality of
pursuing human rights and incorporating them into their national agendas.
obedient loyalty to the state that does not exist in such an institutionalized
Moreover, this pursuit of multi-lateral human rights treaties has extended
manor in Russia. In Russia however, State bodies of power are obligated
into the Russian Constitution. The Russian decision in 1998 to accede to the European 1 2
Lauri Malksoo, “Concluding Observations. Russia and European Human-Rights Law: Margins of the Margin of Appreciation.” Review of Central and East European Law/\. Vol. 37, 2012. 359-369. Bjorn Ahl, “Statements of the Chinese Government Before Human Rights Treaty Bodies: Doctrine and Practice of Treaty Implementation”. Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 12, 2010.
3 4 5 6 7
The Constitution of the Russian Federation, Chapter 1 Article 2. Online: http://eng. constitution.kremlin.ru/ The Constitution of the Russian Federation, Chapter 1 Article 2. The Constitution of the Russian Federation, Chapter 2 Article 19. Online: http://eng. constitution.kremlin.ru/#chapter-2 The Constitution of the Russian Federation, Chapter 2 Article 20. Online: http://eng. constitution.kremlin.ru/#chapter-2 The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. Chapter 1, Article 2. Online: http:// english.people.com.cn/constitution/constitution.html
to abide by international law.8
of international law norms.14 At the top of the hierarchical triangle is the
Another major difference in the constitutions of Russia and China
Constitutional Court. It deals with cases specifically relating to federal
is the leaderships’ reasoning behind the push for incorporating human
laws, presidential decrees, and government resolutions. The rulings of the
rights legislation. Russia’s international outlook on human rights has
Constitutional Court must be abided by all inferior courts, State bodies,
resulted in the internalized adoption of human rights legislation whereas
China views human rights from a nationalistic viewpoint, resulting in
In the Russian Federation, higher courts administer advisory
only the “ad hoc” endorsement of human rights.9 In other words, China
opinions to lower courts; they “summarize judicial practice” in order to
has chosen to adopt human rights legislation into its Constitution for
exemplify legislation established in higher courts. This action by the
tactical reasons as the country realized that there is more to be gained
higher courts demonstrates the functionality of the hierarchical order in
by adhering to international principles than opposing them. Furthermore,
Russia’s court system. Outside of the structural aspects of the Russian
Chinese practice suggests that human rights treaty obligations are not
judiciary system are the principles that allow for international human rights
directly invoked, but rather are only implemented to a certain extent. The
norms to be adopted into the court system. Article 15 of the Constitution
same can be said for Russia in the Russian judiciary system: non-binding
of the Russian Federation for example provides that generally recognized
international treaties are only sometimes abided by.
principles of international agreements shall be an “integral part” of the
Article 18 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation
Russian legal system.15 Although the courts in Russia are required by
establishes that the “court is one of the main guarantors of the rights of man
law to utilize international law and domestic legislation equally, it is not
and citizen.” The federal law currently in place in Russia designates that
the case in China.
the protection of human rights and the application of international norms
As in Russia, the court system in China is hierarchical and consists
The judiciary system currently in
of several courts varying in their jurisdiction. In the past few decades,
place in Russia is a hierarchical system containing a series of six courts
China has had four differing constitutions, the most recent having been
having individual levels of jurisdiction. Second to top is the Supreme
established in 1982, with provisions in 2004. Until the 1982 Constitution
Court: it acts as a supervisor to lower courts and on occasion, a court of
was put into force, none of the previous constitutions had touched on
first instance for cases dealing with state issues. The Supreme Court also
the lack of legislation within the People’s courts system requiring them
fulfills three functions relating to human rights; to ensure uniformity to the
to implement legislation in the Constitution.16 Although in theory, all state
application of international human rights law,12 fill legislative gaps and
organs, political parties, organizations and other engagements must abide
and identify trends
by the Constitution as stipulated in Chapter 1, Article 5 of the Constitution
in the interactions between domestic and international law, thereby aiding
of the PRC, political guidelines have supremacy over institutionalized
the relevancy of implementations as well as aiding in the administration
rules time and again, consequentially limiting the effective implementation
is a responsibility of the court system.
present pre-established solutions to inferior courts,
of institutionalized human rights. 8 9
The Constitution of the Peaople’s Republic of China. Chapter 2, Article 42. Online: http://english.people.com.cn/constitution/constitution.html Decree of President of the RF of 12 July 2008, No. Pr -1440, ‘The Russian Federation
Foreign Policy Conception’. Online: http://www.kremlin.ru/text/docs/2008/07/204108.shtml/ 10 Antonio Casses. International Law. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005 11 Bjorn Ahl, “Statements of the Chinese Government Before Human Rights Treaty Bodies: Doctrine and Practice of Treaty Implementation”. Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 12, 2010. 12 Compilation of the Legislation of the Russian Federation No. 15 (2005) 13 ‘On the Practice of Courts’ Legal Investigation of Criminal Cases about the Evasion from Military and Alternative Civil Service’, Supreme Court, Plenum, 3 April 2008
It is no secret that media outlets have been strictly monitored and controlled by the leadership in both Russia and China. While there 14
On some Questions of the Application of the Constitution of the Russian Federation by Courts while Exercising the Administration of Justice’, Supreme Court, Plenum, 31 October 1995, 15 ‘On the Application by Courts of General Jurisdiction of the Universally Recognized Principles and Norms of International Law and the International Treaties of the Russian Federation’, Supreme Court, Plenum, 10 October 2003 16 The Constitution of the Russian Federation. Chapter 1, Article 15. Online: http://eng. constitution.kremlin.ru/#chapter-1
multimedia outlets have expanded to a point where leaking stories to the public is inevitable
has been incremental progress as media becomes harder and harder to
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all people have
control, it is still a relevant restriction of freedom to the public.
the “freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold
Up until former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev introduced Glasnost in the late 1980’s, Russian media outlets were strictly monitored
opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”19
and controlled by the state. Gorbachev’s call for greater transparency
Additional human rights mechanisms in Russia and China
and the relaxation of censorship brought about a new wave of media
include government services. In Russia, the government offers numerous
freedom that has continued to slowly improve to this day. It is now much
federal aid programs in order to improve the lives of Russian’s citizens.
harder for the Russian government to hide behind its system of corruption
The Federal Service for Public Health and Social Affairs, the Federal
now that technological advances has made media coverage more difficult
Service for Employment and Labor Relations, and the Federal Service
to filter. The death of Sergei Magnitsky is a recent example of Russia’s
for Public Health and Human Services are all government-operated
new inability to hide violations to human rights as a result of the digital
human rights mechanisms targeting the wellbeing of Russian citizens.
age. Magnitsky, a lawyer and tax auditor was tried and thrown in jail on
The citizens themselves have also contributed to human rights by taking
charges of tax fraud after having reported to the Russian authorities a
matters into their own hands. Several non-governmental human rights
massive tax fraud by Russian tax officials and police officers.17 There is
advocacy groups have flourished in Russia and continue to enhance
belief that the case developed against Magnitsky was fabricated in order
the level to which international human rights norms are incorporated
to stop his investigations, and has resulted in his premature death while
into Russia. Additionally, Russia has incorporated international treaties,
in custody. Before Glasnost and other efforts to increase transparency
such as the European Convention on Human Rights, into its system at
in Russia, cases like Magnitsky’s were brushed off and attributed to the
all levels and there has been a “democratization of state institutions and
inevitability of corruption in the political system. However, the development
enhanced participation of civil society in the decision-making process by
of international human rights standards in coupling with advanced
public authorities.”20 Likewise, China has also joined international human
media resources have prevented Russia from getting away with murder.
rights treaties such as the International Convention Against Torture and
Likewise, the Chinese have progressed towards a freer media as a result
the Convention on the Rights of a Child in the hopes of furthering the
of growing technological awareness. The Chinese Communist Party has
development of human rights in China. The People’s Republic of China
long attempted to censor information available on the internet to Chinese
in cooperation with the CCP has also incorporated more national human
citizens in an effort to protect the Party and limit the possibility for unified
rights legislation into their system in the form of the Government White
demonstrations on the part of the people. But despite the Party’s attempts
Papers, which details the National Human Rights Action Plan of China,
at filtering the constant cyber-chatter, there is no way to completely shut
operational from 2012-2015.21
down every unfavorable tread that rips through cyberspace every second
constitutional principles that ensure and respect human rights. It is
of every day. The Chinese government has censored treads on natural
divided into six segments; I. Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; II. Civil
disasters on numerous occasions in an effort to prevent mass gatherings,
and Political Rights; III. Rights of Ethnic Minorities, Women, Children, the
however multimedia outlets have expanded to a point where the leaking of
Elderly and the Disabled; IV. Human Rights Education; V Fulfillment of
stories to the public is inevitable. It seems that the development of media
Obligations to International Human Rights Conventions, and Exchanges
This measure is designed to ensure
outlets has become a mechanism of human rights in itself, reiterated in 17
Kam C. Wong. Human Rights and Limitation of State Power: The Discovery of Constitutionalism in the People’s Republic of China. Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law. 1:1-37, 2006. 18 Q&A: The Magnitsky Affair. BBC News Europe. Online. March 19, 2013. http://www. bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20626960
Class Notes: PO 3055. April 24, 2013. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19. Online: https://www.un.org/en/ documents/udhr/ 21 Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations. Universal Periodic Review of Russian Federation. April 29, 2013. Online: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Highlights29April2013pm.aspx
now that technological advances have made media coverage more difficult to filter
It is much harder for the russian government to hide behind its system of corruption
and Cooperation in the Field of International Human Rights; and finally, VI. Implementation and Supervision. If this Five Year Plan is successful, respect for human rights will continue to improve in China. Although the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China are lagging behind western nations in the context of human rights, both countries have begun to seriously implement the means necessary for human rights into various aspects of their political systems. Russia and China have already begun to revolutionize their constitutions, court systems and domestic human rights mechanisms in order to catch up to international standards; however, it still remains to be seen whether or not human rights customs will be applied into these two countries in practice as well as in theory, or if the digital movement and technological advancements will directly aid citizens in social empowerment.
Compilation of the Legislation of the Russian Federation No. 15 (2005)
Decree of President of the RF of 12 July 2008, No. Pr -1440, ‘The Russian Federation
Fogleson, T. The Dynamics of Judicial Independence in Russia. In Russell, Peter H.; O’Brien, David M. Judicial Independence in the Age of
Democracy :Critical Perspectives from Around the World. University of Virginia Press. pg. 65. 2001
Foreign Policy Conception’. Online: http://www.kremlin.ru/text/ docs/2008/07/204108.shtml
Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. White Papers of the Government
Malksoo, L. “Concluding Observations. Russia and European Hu-
man-Rights Law: Margins of the Margin of Appreciation.” Review of Central and East European Law/\. Vol. 37, 2012. 359-369.
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations.
Universal Periodic Review of Russian Federation. April 29, 2013. Online: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Highlights29April2013pm.aspx
Q&A: The Magnitsky Affair. BBC News Europe. Online. March 19, 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20626960
Works Cited “On some Questions of the Application of the Constitution of the Russian
Federation by Courts while Exercising the Administration of Justice”, Supreme Court, Plenum, 31 October 1995,
“On the Application by Courts of General Jurisdiction of the Universally
Terrill, R. J. World Criminal Justice Systems Survey. 7 edition, 2009
The Constitution of the Peaople’s Republic of China. Chapter 2, Article 42. Online: http://english.people.com.cn/constitution/constitution. html
The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. Chapter 1, Article 2. Online: http://english.people.com.cn/constitution/constitution. html
Recognized Principles and Norms of International Law and the
The Constitution of the Russian Federation, Chapter 1 Article 2. Online:
Plenum, 10 October 2003
The Constitution of the Russian Federation, Chapter 2 Article 19. Online:
the Evasion from Military and Alternative Civil Service”, Supreme
The Constitution of the Russian Federation, Chapter 2 Article 20. Online:
International Treaties of the Russian Federation”, Supreme Court, “On the Practice of Courts’ Legal Investigation of Criminal Cases about Court, Plenum, 3 April 2008
Ahl, B. “Statements of the Chinese Government Before Human Rights
Treaty Bodies: Doctrine and Practice of Treaty Implementation”.
The Constitution of the Russian Federation. Chapter 1, Article 15. Online: http://eng.constitution.kremlin.ru/#chapter-1
Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 12, 2010.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19. Online: https://
Treaty Bodies: Doctrine and Practice of Treaty Implementation”.
Wong, K. C. Human Rights and Limitation of State Power: The Discovery of
Ahl, B. “Statements of the Chinese Government Before Human Rights Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 12, 2010.
Casses, A. International Law. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005
Constitutionalism in the People’s Republic of China. Asia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law. 1:1-37, 2006.
Rieko Whitfield 20th Century Divisions in a 21st Century Network:
A Study on the 2007 Estonian-Russian Cyber-
Do cyber-attacks constitute an act of war? Looking at the 2007 cyberattacks on Estonia, a small high-tech and internet dependent country, ISIS’s use of manipulating cyberspace, and the attacks on Sony Enterainment as a response to the film “The Interview,” how does international law evolve to negate cyber-attacks and netwars when the enemy is difficult to identify? Who are these hackers and what do they want? What international institutions will mediate these types of attacks in the future and define international laws and resolutions? When does an act of breaching cyber-security became an act of war?
occupations by the Germans and the Russians. Now in the 21st century,
this small country is ripe with cultural contradictions between language, nationalism, and globalization.
The explosive invention of the internet has transformed the
As a newly independent state, Estonia’s definition of what
manner in which social movements and international conflicts are
is “us” is shifting with their definition of what is “them” from the alien
organized and orchestrated. With the internet we are not dealing with
(Russification) to the universal (globalization).2 Ten years after gaining
neat geographical divisions of land, sea, air, or space, but with a battle
independence, Estonia has become a success story with its burgeoning
of spectacle and social convergence in the immaterial fifth domain of
technological capital in the international market. With the diminishing
cyberspace. Due to the immediate weaving of the internet into the hearts
importance of geographical borders, Estonia has transformed from a
and minds of the developed world, this new platform has consequently
post-Soviet mentality to a cosmopolitan one. With close ties to Finland,
magnified the ideological battles of identity. This particular technology
as another Baltic technological hub, and to Europe as a member of the
plays a radical advancement in the speed and efficiency of cyber-wars
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Estonia has come to identify
and their real life consequences.
itself with the globalized cyberspace as a means to survive and thrive as
In order to analyze cyber-conflict, we must first take a look at the
Immaterial fifth domain of cyberspace.
ways in which conflict manifests on the platform of the internet through netwars and cyber-wars. John Arquilla and David Rondfeldt categorize thsee two kinds of conflict. Netwar is a “lower-intensity, societal-level
a small nation; a foundation built upon years of social and political unrest.
counterpart to our mostly military concept of cyber-war.”1 In this framework
It was not until 2007 that these cracks came to surface.
we can consider the effects of new media, social media, and accessibility
Estonia was granted independent unity in 1917 after the
to the global media, and their subsequent effects on social movements
collapse of the Russian Empire in World War I, only to be invaded by
and uprisings, as elements of Netwar. Meanwhile, cyber-war is a heavy
Bolshevik Russia later that year. When peace talks failed between Russia
information attack such as the direct cyber-attacks between Russia and
and Germany in 1918, German forces occupied Estonia that prompted
Georgia in 2008, and between Russia and Estonia in 2007. In this paper, I
the Estonian Declaration of Independence. Shortly after the Germans
will take an in depth look at the relations between Russia and Estonia, and
began to retreat, the Red Army’s military invasion spurred the Estonian
the situation leading up to the 2007 cyber-attack.
War for Independence that lasted until 1920. This led to the Treaty of Tartu, where Estonia’s independence was recognized by Soviet Russia.
A CASE STUDY OF THE ESTONIAN-RUSSIAN
Estonia, along with the other Baltic States, was yet again occupied by the
CYBERCONFLICT OF 2007
Soviets in 1940 as a strategic military base for the European War, which
A Portrait of Estonian Identity
led to an illegal coup d’état and the annexation of Estonia into the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. The years to follow were marked by thousands
With its strategic location straddling the East and West, Estonia has been caught between a territorial and ideological tug of war. Estonia
of arrests and mass deportations of Estonians into far corners of the Soviet territories.
has survived centuries of invasions and occupations by the Poles, Danes,
The German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 was as a mirage
and Swedes, right up to the wartime tennis match bouncing between
of salvation from a bleak occupation. In reality, the Germans utilized
Arquilla, John and David Ronfeldt. Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2001.
Eiki Berg, “Local Resistance, National Identity, and Global Swings in Post-Soviet Estonia,” Europe Asia Studies. 54 (2002):111.
Estonia as an execution site for tens of thousands of Jews from the Baltic States and Eastern Europe. By 1944, the inevitable fall of Germany and the Axis powers prompted Estonians to rally their forces to forge a defensive line against the Soviets in the East, though their efforts were ultimately in vain. This led to a 37 year Soviet Occupation until 1991 when—after decades of protest—the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic recognized Estonian independence, and independence of the Baltic States, from the Soviet Union. In 2004, Estonia was accepted as an official member of NATO.3 Now more than ever, Estonia is comprised of an incredibly multiethnic population comprising of 68.8% Estonians, 25.5% Russians, and the remaining population from other Baltic and Eastern European ethnicities.4 However, with ethnic division comes a tension between languages, further instigating the cultural division between the Estonian and Russian speaking communities. The Estonian language was only reclaimed as the official state language in 1989, after decades of enforcing Russian language under Soviet occupation. The Bronze Soldier of Tallinn April 2007 marked an eruptive moment in Estonia’s history. Riots broke out in the streets of Tallinn for two consecutive days, resulting in thousands of arrests, one hundred injuries, and one fatality. This was followed by a cyber-attack on Estonia’s state websites and most prominent private websites on an internationally unprecedented level. The unrest was sparked over a dispute about a statue erected in 1947 to commemorate the 1944 arrival of the Red Army in Tallinn. Estonian authorities made the decision to move this statue, originally titled the Monument to the Liberators of Tallinn, but later renamed as the Monument to the Fallen in World War II, from the central square of Tallinn to the Tallinn Military Cemetery in the outskirts. To the ethnic Russians in Estonia, this statue is a symbol of pride celebrating what they call the Great Fatherland War of 1941-45. The 3 4
“The North Atlantic Treaty,” http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_17120. htm “Population by Nationality,” http://estonia.eu/about-estonia/country/population-by-nationality.html.
Bronze Soldier of Tallinn, as the statue is colloquially called, had become a sacred site to them. To the Russians, the statue may be a symbol
As a small, high tech country, the cyber-attacks on April 27th,
of their grand liberation narrative. For months leading up to the riots,
2007 had a significant impact on Estonia. For weeks, Estonia’s major
children from various Russian regions in Estonia would visit the site on
state websites and private commercial sites were hacked with “denial
field trips, carrying red flags and portraits of Stalin, which was a reminder
of service attacks, clogging the country’s servers and routers, and the
to Estonians of Russian nationalism during their country’s occupation.
infiltration of the world with botnets (banding computers together and
Estonian authorities, foreseeing tensions sparking possible
transforming them into ‘zombies’ hijacked by viruses to take part in such
conflict, moved the statue and some of the soldiers’ bodies to the Tallinn
raids without their owners knowing)… The plans of the attackers were
Military Cemetery, while the other bodies were returned to the families in
posted in Russian-language chatrooms with instructions on how to send
Russia. The moment the workers began dismantling the statue, riots broke
disruptive messages, and which websites to target.”6
out. Though the controversy surrounding this statue had been largely
The websites that were attacked reflected a vulnerability in the
kept under wraps until the fall of the Soviet Union, the decades preceding
political, social, and economic spheres for cyber-security: the Estonian
2007 were fueled with public disputes over the different implications of the
presidential administration, Parliament, most of the government ministries,
statue and the statue’s symbolism of the Soviet occupation.
political parties, half of the country’s largest news organizations, two of the
The displacement of the statue caused a strong reaction within
biggest banks, and firms specializing in communications were rendered
the Russian population and came as a surprise to the Estonian authorities,
inaccessible or ineffective. The sites were replaced with either Russian
which was the main contributing factor as to the reason the riots went
propaganda or fake apology notifications.
out of control. Although this statue does have historical ties to decades
The most detrimental effect of this attack was forcing Estonia
old disputes between the former Soviet Union and Estonia, there is little
to cut off access to sites from abroad in order to remain accessible to
evidence suggesting that the outrage of Russians in Estonia has any real
domestic users. This had an adverse effect on their economy, and
link to soldiers buried in 1944, or with the narrative of the Great Fatherland
furthermore hampered “Estonia’s efforts to counter Russian propaganda
War of 1941-45 or even the context of the larger war.
that portrays the country as a fascist hellhole.”7
When the Bronze Soldier was moved, the Russian population
The Estonians were quick to call for the help of the international
took this to be a personal attack as a degradation of the sacrifices Russia
community, especially when America, the European Union, and NATO
had made in the Second World War. To the Russians, the Estonian
reacted firmly to a pro-Kremlin youth organization sealing off and
annexation had nothing to do with Estonia per se, but was a part of the
attacking the Estonian embassy in Moscow. Though riots in real life are
larger Russian strategy to band together satellite territories in order to
relatively easy to break apart, cyberspace is no man’s land and takes no
triumph over German fascism. To the Estonians, the attacks came as
resistance to the porous, symbolic barriers of international law. The most
a threat from the Russian population that has a consistent history of
difficult element of this cyber-attack was that not only did the organizers
expanding onto its small, neighboring countries. To the international
and attackers stay anonymous, but the computers of ordinary citizens
community, the attacks were seen as an assault on western globalization,
became active participants of these attacks without the knowledge of the
still following the divisions of the Cold War narrative.
owners. When the owners of the “bots” were not even aware that they had launched a war, how would it be possible to track down the individuals
The Russian-Estonian cyber-conflict of 2007 5
Wertsch, James V. “A Clash of Deep Memories.” Cardozo-Kane, Karen M., and Rosemary Geisdorfer. Feal. Profession 2006. (New York, NY: Modern Language Association of America, 2008), 48.
Athina Karatzogianni, “Cyberconflict and the Future of Warfare,” in The Ashgate Research Companin to War Origins and Prevention, (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012), 498. “A Cyber-riot; Estonia and Russia,“ http://www.economist.com/node/9163598
behind the attacks?
At this point, it seems NATO is the most promising, and perhaps the only
For Estonians, the plausible perpetrator was Russia; yet with no real evidence, how could Estonia, and the international community,
feasible solution to protect a nation from these kinds of attacks in the future.
react to such a situation? Both Estonia and the global press blamed the Russian government, though eventually the attacks were more or less
THE FUTURE OF CYBERCONFLICT
pinpointed on individual, nationalistic hackers. State-controlled media
20th Century Solutions for a 21st Century Problem
played a substantial role in stirring anti-Estonian sentiments that may have helped attract hackers to participate in the attacks.8 The pro-Kremlin
One year after the attack on Estonia, NATO rushed in to establish the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (more commonly
Cyberspace is no man’s land and takes no resistance to the porous, symbolic barriers of international law.
known as the CCD COE, or code name K5) in Tallinn. Beyond the symbolic statement of establishing this center, NATO warriors are hard at work defending their Western allies against the flood of daily hacking attempts, and the increasing threat of Russia and China gaining the technological upper hand. Former NATO Director of Policy Planning, Jamie Shea, has
youth group Nashi had also taken credit for launching attacks, which
pointed out that “there are people in the strategic community who say
reportedly receives financial support from pro-Kremlin businesses and
cyber-attacks now will serve the same role in initiating hostilities as air
the Kremlin itself. Nationalistic sentiments from attackers that transcend
campaigns played in the 20th century.”11
geographic barriers and concrete identities are not enough to point the
That would mean, according to Article 5 of NATO’s
finger at Russia. With the horizontal warfare of cyberspace, the age
defense clause, that an act of breaching cyber-security could constitute
of clear divisions of Us vs. Them is over. How then, can a nation, or a
multinational intervention and “the use of armed force, to restore and
group of nations, protect their states and their citizens from these kinds
maintain the security of the North Atlantic area… [until] the Security Council
of attacks in the future? What makes a cyber-attack an act of war? What
has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international
kind of proactive measures should be taken when the enemy is so hard
peace and security.”12
to define? What does this say about international political communities
This could be largely problematic when NATO does not define
when they cannot protect their own governments from a gang of angsty
electronic attacks as military action, yet the organization’s lawyers argue
adolescents behind their parents’ home computer?
that there is no need to redraft the existing treaties as a cyber attack
These are the kinds of questions that NATO appears to have
is similar to an armed assault, especially if casualties or considerable
shouldered the burden of. Shortly after the attacks, a senior official of
damages were to occur. As Karatzogianni points out, “unless the precise
NATO in Brussels asks, “If a member state’s communications centre is
level at which a cyber attack becomes part of armed conflict is defined
attacked with a missile, you call it an act of war. So what do you call it if
by international law on cyber-conflict, any cyber attack could be framed
the same installation is disabled with a cyber-attack?” A spokesman from
as cybercrime and prosecuted as such. This in turn would mean that
Estonia’s defense ministry took a step further by comparing the attacks
any political hacking, even for protest, will be prosecuted as cybercrime
to those launched against the United States on September 11 , 2001.
[.… and will] have been recognized as war or grounds for war.”13 Like
Athina Karatzogianni, 498. Miriam Elder, “Hacked Emails Allege Russian Youth Group Nashi Paying Bloggers,” last modified December 15, 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/07/ hacked-emails-nashi-putin-bloggers 10 “A Cyber-riot ; Estonia and Russia,“ http://www.economist.com/node/9163598
Athina Karatzogianni, 501. “The North Atlantic Treaty.” Last modified December 8, 2008 http://www.nato.int/cps/ en/natolive/official_texts_17120.htm 13 Athina Karatzogianni, 501.
in the case of Estonia, when the attacker cannot be clearly defined, and the level of attack cannot be clearly classified in NATO’s terms, how can NATO and/or the CCD COE fight back against cyber-attacks beyond just ramping up defenses? Though NATO’s protection seems like a necessary and viable option for the time being, one cannot ignore the illogical nature of defending only the North Atlantic from the current and potential issues of global cyber-conflict. Even within the states of NATO members, who will protect the citizens from their own government when each state can deem what is fair game for cyber-security or an individual’s right to privacy? With China alone representing nearly 22% of the world’s internet users, opening up an inclusive, global discourse on the internet and cyberconflict policies is a step we will need to take now.
With the shifting
tides of public opinion between continental and generational shifts, it is impossible to tell at what point hacks will transgress into attacks. Finding solutions for cyber-conflict through NATO alone oversimplifies the issue. In the international arena, we are only going to dig deeper the lines in the sand drawn out nearly 70 years ago. The Ethereal Enemy In the wake of the 21st century, the world has become a horizontal plane. Individuals are points within multitudes of networks that disregard history but gravitate toward origin stories. The new generation of hacktivists are drawn to spectacle, yet revel in anonymity. Power is slipping through the crevices of top-down institutions, to the citizens and netizens of nomadic allegiance. With the ability to organize on the internet into “sprawling multi-organizational networks,” these non-state actors are more flexible, decisive, and effective than hierarchical organizations.
Their major advantage is the ability to disseminate information quickly and react to real world developments, instead of working through bureaucratic systems. The multi-organizational network model can be an extremely potent weapon, especially in the hands of terrorist organizations. As 14
“Internet Users (per 100 People),” http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IT.NET.USER. P2 15 Karatzogianni, Athina, 502.
NATo warriors are hard at work defending their Western allies against the flood of daily hacking attempts, and the increasing threat of Russia and China gaining the technological upper hand.
systems for maintaining stock markets, banking systems, air traffic control, emergency dispatches, or prison security rely on computers and internet technology, any of these systems can be hacked into at any moment, potentially causing real pandemonium through a disconnected, intangible platform.16 Although groups such as ISIS are not necessarily affiliated with cyber-war, the organization is inherently dependent and molded on using the internet as a tool. Their centralized, yet simultaneously decentralized structure is only possible because of the internet, as ISIS has been able to reach out to every corner of the globe and recruit through very slick promotions and viral videos. It is the sensational global media that has also been lending legitimacy to the organization, as they feed into the online frenzy that ISIS themselves have orchestrated. The recruits who have been impacted by this content may not even be familiar with what ISIS actually stands for ideologically, nor the historical tensions that have led to the creation of ISIS in the first place. ISIS has branded themselves as the champions of the alienated, with a fight-fire-with-fire approach to strike down their oppressors. As far as their outreach efforts go, ISIS has tapped into the narrative template with global appeal—a much wider reach than the specific struggles of ethnic Russians in Estonia. Besides the use of multi-organizational networks, one of the most dangerous components of cyber-conflict is how quickly cyberattacks can escalate into real life attacks, or be interpreted as justification for a real life counterattack. A recent example would be the cyber-attack on Sony Entertainment by North Korean nationalist hackers in reaction to the 40 million dollar film “The Interview” depicting the assassination of Kim Jong-un. The attacks are most likely attributed to Kim’s elite cyber-unit Bureau 121, and consisted of a mass exposé of the company’s sensitive insider information. Though, to the United States, North Korea seems like a distant threat, Sony’s Japanese chief executive Kazuo Hirai made a plea to the independent subsidiary branch Sony Entertainment to tone down the film to please North Korea. With the kidnapping cases on the beaches of Japan by North Koreans in the 80’s still fresh in the minds of the public, and long-range North Korean rockets on test runs flying over Japanese 16
Karatzogianni, Athina, 502.
main islands there is a constant reminder of the threat of this nucleararmed authoritarian state. While the origins of the Sony hack remain uncertain, there was still a political backlash. If this cyber-attack that resulted in Sony stalling the release of their “movie of terrorism” had indeed come from the orders of Kim’s inner circle, then this would have meant that North Korea could have interpreted the release of this film as a terrorist act. This would have, in the eyes of the patriotic North Korean public, justified a counterattack beyond the preemptive warning of the cyber-attack.17 With the decades old anxieties of a nuclear apocalypse at the hands of a rogue hacker, or the looming threat of a sci-fi dystopia, it is easy to believe that there is no long-term answer for the messy and complex issues of cyber-conflict. Yet this networked mentality is a two-sided coin. The effectiveness of this structure and the technology that enables it has played colossally important roles in revolutions like the Arab Spring or the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong. Karatzogianni stays hopeful: “The move to overthrow repression, violence, and fear through peaceful means with virtual protest and its real life materialization of revolution seems to be rendering war and extraordinary response to be used only to protect and not maim life.”18 For now, we can continue exploring the untapped potential of the internet toward peaceful diplomacy between interstate, intrastate, and increasingly non-state conflicts.
Works Cited “A Cyber-riot ; Estonia and Russia,“ last modified May 12, 2007, http:// www.economist.com/node/9163598.
“Internet Users (per 100 People).” Last modified December 15, 2014 http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IT.NET.USER.P2
“Population by Nationality.” Last modified January 1, 2010
“The North Atlantic Treaty.” Last modified December 8, 2008
Arquilla, J. and D. Ronfeldt. Networks and Netwars: The Future of Terror, Crime, and Militancy. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2001.
Berg, E. “Local Resistance, National Identity, and Global Swings in
Post-Soviet Estonia.” Europe Asia Studies. 54 (2002):119-22.
Elder, Miriam. “Hacked Emails Allege Russian Youth Group Nashi Paying Bloggers.” Last modified December 15, 2014 http://www.
Fackler, M., Brooks, Barnes, and Sanger, David E. “Sony’s International
Incident: Making Kim Jong-un’s Head Explode.” Last modified December 14, 2014
Karatzogianni, Athina. “Cyberconflict and the Future of Warfare.” in The Ashgate Research Companin to War Origins and Prevention. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012. 491-504.
Wertsch, James V. “A Clash of Deep Memories.” Cardozo-Kane, Karen M., and Rosemary Geisdorfer. Feal. Profession 2006. (New York, NY: Modern Language Association of America, 2008), 46-53. Print.
Martin Fackler, Barnes Brooks, and David E. Sanger, “Sony’s International Incident: Making Kim Jong-un’s Head Explode,” http:// www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/world/ sonys-international-incident-making-kims-head-explode.html 18 Athina Karatzogianni, “Cyberconflict and the Future of Warfare,” in The Ashgate Research Companin to War Origins and Prevention, (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2012), 504.
16:40 16:45 16:50
Sven van Mourik A Documentary
16:55 17:05 17:10 17:15 17:20 17:25
The war in Ukraine has raged for over a year, but some fundamental questions remain unanswered: What is Russiaâ€™s interest in the fighting, did the West provoke the conflict, and what is the future of Ukraine? This documentary looks critically at a war of fluid borders and confused identities. A series of experts offer their interpretations of a conflict that is once again polarizing the world: academics, journalists, artists, security advisors and politicians explain what inspired the Artificial War in Ukraine, and what fuels it.
17:30 17:35 17:40 17:45 17:50 17:55 18:00 18:05 18:10 18:15 18:20
the truth is
nowhere to be had.
How quickly a state can DISAPPEAR.
Now itâ€™s up to Ukraine to see whether it can become a real state.
Works Cited “The Artificial War” by Sven van Mourik https://vimeo.com/121828782 “Liminal Square” series by Tatiana Grigorenko “Trench Warfare Ukraine - Tanks and Arms Fire” by GlobalLeakse News httphs://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4GOJ3HRiKk License: Fair Use creativecommons.org/licence “Ukraine protests escalate” by GlobalLeaks News https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKUaMqBLncA License: Fair Use creativecommons.org/licence
Alison Adams The unreliability of human memory...
The Many Faces of Multiple Personality Disorder
Multiple Personality Disorder, now referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder in the field of psychology, is a popular and controversial topic. Does this disorder truly exist, haunting those troubled by the presence of “alters” within their own minds and bodies? Or is it an example of social hysteria adopted in the field of psychology as a result of inaccurate media portrayals and overzealous psychiatrists? There is not much middle ground on this topic, as most who have studied the disorder vehemently defend or oppose its very existence. Through the use of previous studies and published statements by respected members in the field, a deeper analysis of this controversy can be uncovered for further understanding. While it is impossible to come to a definitive conclusion through these sources—as psychology specialists themselves are still unsure—all that can be known for certain is that patients exhibiting symptoms of this disorder deserve proper attention despite the debate surrounding their diagnosis.
While it is easy to conjure up descriptions of what mental health
freedom from employment, and support from others.”3 Who would want to
patients look and act like, such representative heuristics are unfairly based
pass up a chance to get out of dealing with adulthood and life in general?
off of the media and exaggerated cases. It is truly impossible to imagine
In 1918, distinguished psychiatrist Joseph Babinski studied the outbreak
what it would be like to endure a mental illness, particularly multiple
of hystero-epilepsy that was a phenomenon of his time. Seemingly
personality disorder. Known today as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID),
everyone around him was developing perfect textbook-definition cases
this diagnosis is more complex than the public may think, as it requires
of epilepsy as interest in the diagnosis was being shown throughout the
specific criterion of mental health to be met before a patient is diagnosed.
psychological community, and his studies suggested that social hysteria
According to the DSM-IV-TR, the newest edition of the accredited
was to blame, as well as the perks to being seen as a victimized patient.4
psychological encyclopedia, DID is characterized by two or more distinct
Critics in the medical and psychological community alike have asserted
identities within one’s self that recurrently takes control of the person’s
that “patients willingly misguide [their psychiatrist] for personal gains,”5
behavior and leads to an inability to recall important information.1 It is also
and that the influence of convenience outweighs the moral issue of faking
defined as “a condition in which a person experiences a disorganization
an illness. Perhaps a patient’s personality is “dissociated under stressful
of the self that results in the experience of discrepant individuals residing
life circumstances”6 and minor symptoms can be blown out of proportion
within one’s overall being.”2 This mental illness was officially recognized
due to external stresses in their daily lives. It is even possible that the
Desperate for both a quick diagnosis as well as an interesting one.
epidemic of DID is not entirely attributable to the patients; rather the mindset of psychiatrists and the overly-broad definition of the disorder. Using the DSM-IV as the bible of diagnoses, a psychiatrist spotting the right symptoms at the right time could unintentionally shift
by the third edition of the encyclopedia, the DSM-III. Since then, the
the nature of the entire psychological evaluation in the direction of DID.
occurrence of diagnosing patients with this disease has risen rapidly,
Instead of creating a full and objective picture of a patient’s mental health
causing an uproar in the psychological community. The recent increase
before delving into the possible disorders of their mind, the identity
of patients diagnosed as suffering from DID has led experts to address
disorder diagnosis may be “induced by overzealous therapists”7 who are
the controversy of an extreme mental diagnosis from both sides: is it a
desperate for both a quick diagnosis as well as an interesting one. This
legitimate illness that has simply received more recognition in past years,
proves to be an illogical way of thinking due to the fact that “individuals
or is it a form of social hysteria and patients crying wolf to play the sick
with [this] disorder may also have symptoms that meet criteria for Mood,
Substance-Related, Sexual, Eating, or Sleep Disorders” and that their Among the fiercest of opinions regarding the DID debate are
symptoms also “may warrant a concurrent diagnosis of Borderline
those of the opposition who believe that the diagnosis is a sham and that
Personality Disorder.”8 Assuming that a certain combination of symptoms
many other factors attribute to what appears to be multiple personalities
is undoubtedly a DID diagnosis demonstrates both a hasty generalization
within a patient. These factors range from self-inflicted victimization for a profit to diagnoses of highly suggestible people at the hands of convincing psychotherapists. Anyone who has previously been stricken with an ailment knows that the sick role comes with certain perks; namely of “rest, 1 2
“Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” 4th. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000. Print. Richard P. Halgin,Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Abnormal Psychology. 3rd. McGraw-Hill, 2005. 42-52.
3 4 5 6 7 8
Richard P. Halgin, 42-52. Richard P. Halgin, George Serban, “Multiple Personality: An Issue For Forensic Psychiatry.” American Journal Of Psychotherapy 46.2 (1992): 269. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 May 2012. Serban. Bernet M. Elzinga, Richard Van Dyck, and Philip Spinhoven. “Three Controversies About Dissociative Identity Disorder.” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy 5.1 (1998): 13-23. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 May 2012. “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” 4th. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.
as well as a fallacy of composition. Perhaps the sum of the symptoms does not equal a diagnosis of DID, rather another disorder that requires entirely different treatment; in this case hastily diagnosing a patient with a more interesting disorder is detrimental to their emotional, mental, and physical health. Perhaps a widening of the definition of DID is also partly to blame for the “astronomical increase in the frequency of Multiple Personality Disorder diagnoses”9 since the official recognition of the disorder in the 1980 DSM-III. Introducing this disorder to the psychological community and defining it broadly are not necessarily bad things; however, an overlygeneralized definition can have terrible consequences when put in the hands of a manipulative patient or psychiatrist. The DSM states that “half of reported cases include individuals with 10 or fewer identities”, although cases of 10-100 personalities have been reported.10 Such large numbers may seem a bit extreme, and psychiatrist Paul R. McHugh agrees: after the discovery of the first “alter”, or secondary personality in a patient, “no obstacles to invention remain.”11 If amnesia coupled with mood swings leads to the misdiagnosis of a personality disorder, it may just so happen that dozens of previously unmentioned alters coincidentally reside in a patient for as long as they can remember. Such a turn of events could be backed by the fact that “memory research has shown that some false memories can be created in the laboratory,”12 such as with psychiatrist John Wiley and colleagues in 1998. Wiley et al. conducted repeat memory tests in their laboratory and found that memories are best remembered in the context in which they were learned; for example, a list of words memorized at school will be more easily recalled at school than at home. This finding came with an unexpected one: as participants tried repeating personal memories outside of the context where they were formed, many of these memories turned out to be partially or completely fabricated. This unreliability of human memory poses an issue for defendants of DID. A basic plotline of misdiagnosis could go like this: due to the DSM-IV’s broad definition of Dissociative Identity Disorder, a psychiatrist gets his
Nicholas P. Spanos, Multiple Identities & False Memories: A Sociocognitive Perspective. 1st. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1996. Print. 10 “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” 11 Halgin. 12 Bernet M. Elzinga, Richard Van Dyck, and Philip Spinhoven.
or her hopes up that their patient is suffering from a rare and fascinating mental disorder, and prompts the patient with questions specifically regarding their childhood and ongoing internal conflicts. When questions are posed a certain way, it is easy to find patients who have a past story, experience, or incident that solidifies the psychologist’s hunch, which may result in an incorrect diagnosis of DID. Finally finding an answer to their recent troubles, the patient plays up the diagnosis by inventing seemingly endless alter-egos that suddenly have always existed, and now the patient has an excuse to escape reality while the psychiatrist has obtained a loyal patient. This cycle is all too real and possible, proving that DID has potentially “run away with itself.”
There are always two sides to every story, which is just as true in the case of the DID controversy. While there are plenty of people who rally against the legitimacy of DID, there are still those who defend it. From a technical approach DID contains content, criterion-related, and construct validities. These three terms are used by psychologists to explain how valid a proposed diagnosis is and all three are necessary to prove the existence of any disorder. DID exhibits content validity as it can “give a specific and detailed clinical description of the disorder”, criterion-related validity with its laboratory tests that “are consistent with the defined clinical picture”, and finally construct validity as it is a disorder delimited from others and unmistakably unique. From a logistical standpoint, this 14
argument is sound and the textbook definition of DID is viable. Further arguments for its legitimacy exist in the form of attacks on the views of the opposition. For example, psychiatrist Frank W. Putnam points out that in the past three decades, other disorders besides solely DID “have shown equal or faster rises in the numbers of published cases,”
as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The alarming frequency of condition identifications by psychologists and other specialists in the field does not imply that illegitimate methods were employed to reach that diagnosis. Common arguments by those who oppose DID’s legitimacy include pointing out how overly suggestible clients can be, as well as the possibility of creation of false memories; rare yet popular cases have been documented where women (who are 13 14 15
Halgin. Halgin. Halgin.
As participants tried repeating personal memories outside of the context where they were formed, many of these memories turned out to be partially or completely fabricated.
the majority of DID cases, as presented by the media) have accused friends or family of sexual assault in their childhood after rediscovering the memory in therapy…only to be proven wrong. The use of isolated cases as the core of an argument demonstrates a hasty generalization, and those with “vested interest in maintaining the subordination of women will undoubtedly use the phenomenon of false memories to paint a picture of women as mentally unstable and suffering from a childlike suggestibility”,16 reminiscent of vintage psychology’s fixation with “hysteria” in women. Once women and children were depicted in the psychological community as suffering the most from DID (such as in The Three Faces of Eve or Sybil), sexism and simple write-offs were to be expected, and the defense recognizes both of these possibilities in the attackers’ logic. The widespread depiction of identity disorders in books, movies, and the news is another aspect this debate: it is said that DID “is induced by media portrayals”17 but also that mainstream media outlets have never positively “propagated the notion of false memories.”18 Since the media dramatizes mental disorders to be unfavorable, attributing the media to be the source of DID’s “somewhat spectacular comeback”19 is illogical. Those defending the legitimacy of the disorder have their own points to retaliate with against those who doubt its existence. By discussing the arguments made by both sides, it is made obvious that each school of thought has something to contribute. Those that write the disorder off as “social hysteria gone too far” can prove their assumptions by citing the dishonesty of both patients and psychiatrists. On the other hand, defenders of the disorder can prove DID’s valid definition and explain the recent increase of cases through other psychological phenomena. Both supporters and attackers have been guilty of arguing illogically as well as holding unfair biases, so neither side has a perfectly sound argument. A universal consensus among professionals and specialists will only be reached when, and if, empirical evidence proving the existence or nonexistence of the disorder is unveiled. Until then, no side will stand victorious in this debate based solely on opinions, jabs at the other side, and citing out-of-context facts. Serban articulately 16 17 18 19
Spanos. Halgin. Spanos. Serban.
states that “both sides…tend to agree that multiple personality disorder requires careful evaluation before being diagnosed”, which leads to the point that clients need to hold a critical eye to their psychiatrists before committing to their care, and that psychiatrists in turn must thoroughly and objectively evaluate their patients before diagnosing them with a disorder, not limited to the case of DID. Whether or not an agreement is reached, individuals worldwide are suffering from mental illnesses that require specialized treatments despite the controversies surrounding their diagnosis. Specialists’ intellectual feud does not justify ignoring the symptoms of patients who could potentially be diagnosed with DID or brushing them off as silly; all psychologists would hopefully agree on this. The meat of this controversy is the existence or nonexistence of DID, and the real-life sufferers of such symptoms are often forgotten. Leaving patients helpless due to a scholarly debate is immoral, and their treatment cannot be dismissed in the midst of this heated controversy: the care of the mentally ill should still be the top priority for all.
Works Cited “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” 4th. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 2000. Print.
Elzinga, Bernet M., Richard Van Dyck, and Philip Spinhoven. “Three
Controversies About Dissociative Identity Disorder.” Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy 5.1 (1998): 13-23. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 May 2012.
Halgin, Richard P. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Abnormal Psychology. 3rd. McGraw-Hill, 2005. 42-52. Print.
Serban, George. “Multiple Personality: An Issue For Forensic Psychiatry.”
American Journal Of Psychotherapy 46.2 (1992): 269. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 May 2012.
Spanos, Nicholas P. Multiple Identities & False Memories: A Sociocogni-
tive Perspective. 1st. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1996.
Doctor Rhoublin Charlotte Lewis Dear Doctor Rhoublin, Is it too much to ask the damn dog to groom himself? Jennet is fuming, sliding around the hardwood floors collecting his fur; she’s even designated special socks to it. Knitted cream ones I purchased from Macy’s Mother’s Day Sale, to be gifted at Christmas. But Christmas came too soon, and the socks remained in the back of the closet. It wasn’t until July 6th that she discovered them while looking for the kids’ beach toys,when it was much too humid to wear socks anyway. I had initially imagined them by the granite fireplace, toes curled into the other. I saw nothing but the socks and the fireplace. “Thank you.” “They’ll look nice next to the fireplace.” “What fireplace?” These socks, she claims, will ‘just get dirty again’ therefore indicating the lack of eagerness or energy to wash them right away, or use them for any purpose aside from sweeping the dog’s sheddings. Their color holds the house’s dirt, and dog hair well. I fear the hound has been a good step for the family, it would be a pity for me to have to ask him to leave. The kids are well, always well. With the melodramas of childhood I can only comfort them from experience. Yesterday Emily ‘felt it creeping up’ so we trudged to Humrey park and sat in the sun until the wind picked up and it started to rain and the only thing that was creeping up on our escapist adventure home was her smile. At night, Jannet slithers down the stairs, barefoot, and I hear her cigarette tell her she’s pretty. Doctor, I want to hold onto the light, slippery, sweet air that supports me before I wake. When my body and mind are one, and the kids are still asleep. Why did a freckle appear on the softest inch of my index finger the summer I went swimming in the Mediterranean? Where does one go with the will to float? Write soon, and please consider the dog in your conclusions. B. Felicity
B, Please do not contact me at this address, I am moving in two weeks time and I do not wish to frighten the newcomers with letters revealing our correspondence. The nurses at the ward strongly suggest I do not write back to you, however, I am not a heartless man, and I believe your hallucinations of a family is simply your unwillingness to identify with the cumbersome nature of your own extremities. Please reflect upon the night of the incident; without reflection, one becomes stuck in the hamster wheel of an imagined reality. I have attached clippings from October 17th through the 22nd of December, I hope these can aid you in your recognition. You cannot float through life, dear B, unless you begin to swallow the pills under your tongue. I wish you well. J. Rhoublin
Anya VerKamp 28
Caitlyn Marie Hutchison xii, 17, 18, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 57, 123
Charlotte Lewis 27, 135
Dasha Goncharova Cover and Front Art Editorial (v, ix, x) 31, 34, 48
Eleanor Dickinson 30, 94
Emilie Ronald 32, 35, 122
Emma Aikens 82, 86, 128, 132
Leo Gray 102, 118
Sabyrzhan Madi 117
Stefan Kaumann 4, 42
Sven van Mourik 120
FATHOMING OUR FEIGNED PANIC
Enter right, from a birth canal This one’s for the humble utility of foldaway metro chairs, the cheeky stylings of L’Eclipse, and the forgotten Mr. Gill My plane landed in Paris that hadn’t ever been the Paris of Joyce or Fitzgerald on January 9th, 2015. On that same day an attack on their newly beloved Charlie Hebdo turned what could have easily been a hateful part of french history into a moment of great reflection for this nation. But for an outsider infringing on this holy moment, the barrel of the FAMAS bullpup was a main facet of Paris, city of lights. The solidarity unfolded while this American watched, silently considering the conflicts of race cauterized through Freddy Gray’s death and the beatings photographers from newspapers had been receiving for their capture of the moment back home in Baltimore. I was here to dig through historical dirt we heaped on things past. To see past those boundaries we’ve set up for history with literature and film. So many textbooks filled with overwhelming periods and movements given to children in classrooms. Their internet (that which will be their internet) will be filled with it. One of those glorious moments (Moments replaced by other moments replaced by others until even the word day becomes unnecessary, a comparison of the sun’s movement to other astrological bodies rather than our subjective experience) of revelation came by internet. Those moments that had been a culmination of a break from home, going to class, watching some Netflix, maybe thinking a little, getting smothered by the sheer number of people in the Marais, ignoring the Eiffel Tower
on occasion, finding the greatest bar with the worst pour in Oberkampf,
reflected in Britomart, and there was probably some masculine insecurity
seeing some dogs, and boarding the plane/train/submarine back home.
mixed in there too.
No matter the trees of my parents home the cascades of cold spring lane or the beautiful bridges of paris, it was where my mind found peace. I had been focusing on my task of learning outside of rigid classroom teachings all night when at 3 AM I stumbled upon an image from Andre Gill’s oeurve. It was the cover of L’Eclipse, a heavily censored satirical Hebdo from the late 19th century, caricatured any and all figures of repute. The magazine was born of the ashes of another bastion of mockery, La Lune. During the magazine’s nearly ten year long publication run, they were challenged/censored by Napoleon III’s government about 22 times. Or so I hear. These censored issues led to severely limited page numbers per issue, sometimes down to one page. Or so I hear. The image on the
At some point in the 20th century there were literal wires running all across the US and probably most of Europe. But we of the 21st century have eschewed even these, to revert back to imagination through technology. So those invisible wires of WiFi running through our skies are signs to stop imagining connections. That’s their fundamental message. When wise men would tell stories in those more primitive times, they looked to the stars to guide their tales. We can’t even see the stars. Use that angst of easy connection, young writers, to help put your words down to paper. How the hell can I search for the dates of the fall of the Bastille through a four inch glowing rectangle that sits in my palm? Apparently there is a satellite and maybe the moon involved, but I’m betting only six people actually know.
opposite page was lifted from one of its many controversial covers. Other
We’ve tied such strings around our history from one event to the next.
than a relatively obscure digitized collection on the Universitätsbibliothek
Connecting wars, leaders, books, movements all to one another that
Heidelberg website and an article from History Today in 2009 on the
allows us to forget the lesser moments that built up to those times. The
details of Andre Gill’s life, the internet is fairly bare on L’Eclipse.
furthest reaches of knowledge have been pushed for centuries, and
It was a candle thumbing his nose at Victor Hugo’s giant, floating head. January 7th, 1872. April 20th, 2015. The mind (mine) that put those two days in juxtaposition had created an all-too human connection. But perhaps those connections are barely human. Dogs bark with a selective
the only moves forward for academia and writing could most likely be measured in inches. The ties and labels of periods and movements with which we’ve wrapped up our history hold us in much more of an existential panic than the government ever did.
intonation reminiscent of our arbitrary difference between love and greed.
Our generation has been left with punctuation and slight typography tricks
(Show me a love that isn’t the result of a received benefit and there lies
are the artistic bread and butter of our generation. An open and shut case
managed greed) What’s human and what isn’t really isn’t up to me, we’ve
of modernity and post-modernity in the first half of the 20th century has
been defining that in one way or another for years.
left artistic boundaries pushed to the limit. Or so I’ve been told by those
But maybe consider that these so-called «human connections” that have been hypothesized for centuries do not retain their metaphoric nature
books that list the lives of those great artists whose fame and biographical posturing has been allowed by death.
any longer. For years it had been the writer and philosopher to bring
Might I have a penchant for smoking if an old man with a cigarette smiled
us together through sheer imagining. Thales and his water was the first
at me one day when I was two or or my father smoked secretly outside for
universal look at our common experience. Heraclitus saw change through
years? Or are these just a few stand out moments in a wholly experienced
fire as a universal. For Shakespeare’s men, it was insecurity. For Joyce, it
existence which does not need the labels of day or year? We retain such
was water AND insecurity. Spenser made us see our own subjective view
trappings of language for the dead and their fleeting memory.
4PIFSFXFTJU mGUFFOZFBSTJOUPBDFOUVSZJOXIJDIXFWFTQFOUMPOHFS MPPLJOH CBDLXBSET BOE GPSXBSET JO UJNF UIBO XF IBWF UFTUJOH PVU PVS moment. Intellectual pursuits have become pissing contests of the obscure and incremental. We retreat further and further from public life, masturbating to images of each other and using virtual anonymity to truly UFTUUIFMJNJUTPGIBUF#VUBUMFBTUXFSFOPUPOUIFWFSHFPGUIF'JSTU8PSME 8BS BT IBE IBQQFOFE XJUI UIF MBTU mSTU mGUFFO ZFBST PG B DFOUVSZ 4P thatâ€™s a start, I guess. 5IFDIBJOTUIBUCJOEPVSBSUJTUT PVSTFMWFT BSFOPMPOHFSIFMEUJHIUCZUIF TUSPOHIBOEPGUIFHPWFSONFOU"DUVBMMZ XFNPTUMZBSFUIFHPWFSONFOU /P UIPTF MJNJUT BSF TFMGJNQPTFE DSFBUFE CZ UIF CVSEFO PG PSHBOJ[FE IJTUPSZ XFWF QMBDFE VQPO PVS PXO CBDLT "OESF (JMM UIF 4JTZQIVT PG TBUJSF BOUJDJQBUFE UIJT IJTUPSJDBM QMBDF XJUI IJT ESBXJOH i5IF 'VUVSF PG +PVSOBMJTNw4JYZFBSTMBUFS (JMMXPVMECFQMBDFEJO$IBSFOUPO"TZMVN XIFSFIFXPVMEMJWFPVUUIFSFTUPGIJTNPNFOUT)JTGSJFOETBOEBVEJFODF BCBOEPOFE IJN )F XBT POF PG UIF GFX XIP TBX UIPTF IJTUPSJDBM connections so thoroughly that it drove him insane. We of the Lutetian TBMVUFZPV .S(JMM)FSFTUPUIFOFYUNPNFOUT Exit left, chased by death.
Finite papyrus padding due to limited wood pulp from life-giving trees. Means we must end these perspective-riddled prosodies.
The American University of Paris Journal of the Social Sciences