Systems of Information
Any situation of social antagonism necessarily produces competing systems of information, or formal and informal interventions, that archive knowledge. We tend to think of systems of information as dependent on elaborate technological devices such as computers or conflate it with specific media such as TV or radio. However, a system of information is any determined effort to convey new or existing knowledge. Systems can be elaborate configurations assisted by the latest technological advances or more basic interventions stripped down to its essential elements or cultural tools.
Taking up the epistemological dimensions of research, that is, making explicit what we know and how we know it, requires distinguishing between different kinds of knowledges and the strategies used to represent and communicate them. Donna Haraway explains that knowledge is always situated, or produced in specific contexts by specific agents under determined conditions and always in relation to an already dominant set of established knowledges. Knowledge that emerges out of struggle, or what Robin Kelley refers to as poetic knowledges, enable rebels “to imagine something different, to realize that things need not always be this way.” Thus, oppositional knowledges, either situated or poetic, emerge from struggle and attempt to make visible the “future in the present,” or the prefigurative political practice of communities of struggle.
The task of a convivial research effort is to expose the dominant knowledge and its limitations while amplifying local and oppositional knowledges. Towards that end, our effort here is to promote open, reflexive systems of information as part of interconnected temporary autonomous zones of knowledge production, or the variety of short-lived grassroots spaces that generate situated, poetic, and oppositional knowledges.
Tiziana Terranova, “New Economy, Financialization and Social Production in the Web 2.0,” in Andrea Fumagalli & Sandro Mezzadra, eds., Crisis in the Global Economy: Financial Markets, Social Struggles, and New Political Scenarios (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2010);