In English

Contemporary societies are often described in terms of network metaphors and theories informed by an ‘ethos of connectivity’. Many contemporary social theories (from Luhmann’s systems theory to Deleuze/Guattari’s rhizome analysis to Actor Network Theory) operate with a normative bias toward networking. In recent years, however, diagnoses of over-networking (hyperconnectivity) have increased alongside the search for, and experimentation with, practices and infrastructures of de-networking. The lecture will present some exemplary cases of these phenomena and inquire into the social and media-theoretical relevance of disconnection. What conceptual challenges might be associated with thinking in terms of de-networking? Putting problems of passivity, inactivity, and withdrawal at the centre of theoretical interest, the lecture aims to conceive de-networking not as a romanticizing exit from the network, but rather as a paradoxical operation at the boundary of networking processes.


Urs Stäheli is Professor of Sociological Theory at the University of Hamburg. His research areas include poststructuralist and neo-materialist social theory, the sociology of the list, cultural economy, and digital cultures. Publications include: Soziologie der Entnetzung (2021); Spectacular Speculation (2013).

Organized by

ICI Berlin

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  • At the venue (registration required): Registration opens on 24 May 2022.
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