The Matrix in Theory


The Matrix trilogy continues to split opinions widely, polarising the downright dismissive and the wildly enthusiastic. Nevertheless, it has been fully embraced as a rich source of theoretical and cultural references. The contributions in this volume probe the effects the Matrix trilogy continues to provoke and evaluate how or to what extent they coincide with certain developments within critical and cultural theory. Is the enthusiastic philosophising and theorising spurred by the Matrix a sign of the desperate state theory is in, in the sense of “see how low theory (or ‘post-theory’) has sunk”? Or could the Matrix be one of the “master texts” for something like a renewal for theory as now being mainly concerned with new and changing relations between science, technology, posthumanist culture, art, politics, ethics and the media? The present volume is unashamedly but not dogmatically theoretical even though there is not much agreement about what kind of theory is best suited to confront “post-theoretical” times. But it is probably fair to say that there is agreement about one thing, namely that if theory appears to be “like” the Matrix today it does so because the culture around it and which “made” it itself seems to be captured in some kind of Matrix. The only way out of this is through more and renewed, refreshed theorising, not less.

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Stefan HERBRECHTER: Introduction
Section One: Cultural Phenomenon
Jon STRATTON: “So Tonight I’m Gonna Party Like It’s 1999”: Looking Forward to The Matrix
Kimberly BARTON: Revolution in The Matrix: A Cue Call for Reflexive Sociology
Christian KRUG and Joachim FRENK: Enter the Matrix: Interactivity and the Logic of Digital Capitalism
Section Two: Virtualities
Chris FALZON: Philosophy and The Matrix
Sven LUTZKA: Simulacra, Simulation and The Matrix
Elie DURING: Is There an Exit from “Virtual Reality?” Grid and Network – From Tron to The Matrix
Section Three: Embodiment
Don IHDE: Technofantasies and Embodiment
Aimee BAHNG: Queering The Matrix: Hacking the Digital Divide and Slashing into the Future
Rainer EMIG: Sexing The Matrix: Gender and Sexuality in/as Cyberfiction
Section Four: Theory
Denisa KERA: Matrix – The New Constitution Between Hardware, Software and Wetware
Salah EL MONCEF BIN KHALIFA: The Matrix Trilogy and the Triumph of Virtual Reason – Territorialized Topoi, Nomadic Lines
Stefan HERBRECHTER: The Posthuman Subject in The Matrix
Ivan CALLUS: “New Theory?” The Posthumanist Academy and the Beguilements of the Matrix Trilogy