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Cutting Code

Software and Sociality

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Adrian MacKenzie

Software has often been marginalized in accounts of digital cultures and network societies. Although software is everywhere, it is hard to say what it actually is. Cutting Code: Software and Sociality is one of the first books to treat software seriously as a full-blown cultural process and as a subtly powerful material in contemporary communication. From deCSS to Java, from Linux to Extreme Programming, this book analyses software artworks, operating systems, commercial products, infrastructures, and programming practices. It explores social forms, identities, materialities, and power relations associated with software, and it asks how software provokes the re-thinking of production, consumption and distribution as entwined cultural processes. Cutting Code argues that analysis of code as a mosaic of algorithms, protocols, infrastructures, and programming conventions offers valuable insights into how contemporary social formations invent new kinds of personhood and new ways of acting.

Introduction: Softwarily – Opening Code: Expression and Execution in Software – Algorithms: Sequence and Convolution – Kernel: Code in Time and Space – Java: Practical Virtuality – "Pits" and "Traders": Infrastructures in Software – Extreme Programming: Code as Prototype for Software – Conclusion – Notes – References – Index.