On clustered organization and legalist overcodings

[this post is written in English, but mostly links to Swedish pages. Republish freely anywhere]

Marcin de Kaminski coins a very useful concept in the spectrial; clustered organizational dynamics. Also Oscar Swartz elaborates on this theme in Wired, where Fredrik Neij is quoted in relation to the Pirate Bay:

”No,” Neij answered. ”Why? If someone believes a new text is needed, he just inputs it. Or if a graphic is ugly, someone makes a better one. The one who wants to do something just does it.”

From a civil sociological point of view this is of course very interesting, not only from a theoretical point of view, but also because of the opportunity of relating theory to practice, as the blogosphere seems to discuss it widely at the moment. Also, it stands in opposition to formal models of social organization, and is harshly incompatible with any legal procedure.

The sticking point becomes; Are bazaar-like modes of organizing the world a form of realized anarchism, or simply the best way to make massive innovations, such as the Pirate Bay, work?

Rick Falkvinge relates this to the work of the Swedish Pirate Party (Piratpartiet). A party necessarily needs some formalized way of dividing roles (leaders, members, candidates, etc.). However, in order to actually get things done, meetings and procedures of authorization seem to be too slow to make politics work.

Pyramidal organization needs to waste a lot of energy in order to simply preserve the roles and identities of the organization itself, hence making the structure autopoetic. The result is very factual; record companies such as EMI are deterritorialized by way of speed (they still make money though), and the spectrial clearly displays that the nation-state based court has to be educated about this thing called the internets (even in terminology).

Clearly the prosecutors are desperately looking for an ”ideological” motivation, as they are politicising the trial. This, however, pales in comparison to the ontopolitics of making things work.

Some related Swedish media: Aftonbladet ,DN.

5 svar på “On clustered organization and legalist overcodings”

  1. I have to make some objections here, even though it might be entirely beside the point… Anyway, pyramidal organization does NoT necesserily ”waste energy”, certainly not when they’re autopetic – that is molecularily organized, bottom-up. In fact, the historical success of particular hierarchies, as well as frequent hierarchic structures in non-human nature, should lead us to the conclusion that hierarchies sometimes really are the best way to organize, the best way to utilize energy for a particular purpose.

    However, hierarchies are worse at adapting to swift changes, both internal and external, and quite poor at developing new strategies. They are optimized to solve ONE particular problem, and to acumulate rather than diversify. This is, in my opinion, why hierarchies of small-to-medium scale are failing, in a world defined by constant and rapid change (and not just experiencing a phase, a punctuated equilibrium). The high-speed exchange of information is killing hierarchies, even though it seems as if hierarchies of large scales can slow down the effects of this and to some extent dictate a rythm of their own.

    So far, it looks to me as if the winners in so called information societies are the bazaar and the very large cathedral…

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