New Criticals

We can most certainly argue that the personal remains deeply political, offering proof of the continued interconnections between lived reality and structural violence, race, and gender, inequality, and subjectification (If you have any doubt, please immediately visit Tressie McMillan Cottom’s online writings). While the feminist blogosphere/social mediasphere continues to take up vital questions of racism, labor, access to technology, health care, mental health, and structural inequalities in the nature of the web and its use, as well as the endemic misogyny of Silicon Valley, I would argue the same “sphere” is only just beginning to come to terms with data, the digital itself, and its political economy. 

“The Personal Is Public Is Political” might be a new motto from which to begin reconceptualizing the linkages between everyday life and structural oppression. These linkages point us toward the need for deep attunement to emergent forms of data-based governance and toward the role the digital plays in the production of social, economic, and political power, structural inequality, and systematic dispossession. Furthermore, these linkages ask us to move discussions of hashtags and clicks towards an awareness of the fundamentally violent formations of “population” and “population management” that the very medium of the Internet fosters. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges currently facing any “sphere” that aims to raise consciousness or transform the nature of social relations is to begin to articulate who “we” are and to take account of the ways in which data itself is playing across long-standing social and racialized inequalities, while simultaneously working as obscured statistically probability and algorithmic logic to produce profiles of emergent populations—populations tied together in different, speculative temporalities, yet nonetheless governed.