Digital Modes of Exchange: Structural Relations of Commodity, Control, and Community

in Asiascape: Digital Asia
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Abstract

In this article, I perceive digital space as a space structured by different and, at the same time, related modes of exchange. Drawing on Karatani Kōjin’s model of ‘exchange’, I scrutinize capitalist exchange in digital space, data-based control on platforms, and the conditions of community in a filtered digital reality. The analysis indicates a shift in the structure of exchange in digital space. In Karatani’s analysis, capital, nation, and state form a strong alliance that maintains the present status quo. Although this holds true for digital space, the emphasis is much more on corporate and thus capitalist actors, which, in some cases, replace the state and interfere with the emergence of imagined communities. By relating the various actors and dimensions, I provide a heuristic model for the structure of digital space.

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Figures
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    FDP poster for the German general election in 2017
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    An email from Google, suggesting security measures after a potential threat is detected
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    A more detailed report from Google, indicating that the company not only knows the phone model of its user but also the system settings of the phone
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    The modes of exchange and their historical transformation according to Karatani
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    Close-up on the new Kirin surveillance apparatus. Surveillance camera built into the second sample bottle from the left
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    Acure next gen machine by JR Higashi Nihon Waters Business
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    Structural shift in exchange in digital space
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