The Problem of Privacy in Capitalism and the Alternative Social Networking Site Diaspora*
AbstractIn this paper, l examine the alternative social networking site Diaspora* from a Marxist standpoint. The investigation focuses on privacy, and contributes to a better understanding of this issue within the context of capitalism in general. First, I describe Diaspora*’s way of production by pointing out its alternative character as part of the free software and copyleft movement. Second, dominant theories of privacy related to individual control, exclusion, and property are introduced. Third, the problem of privacy in capitalism is described wherein dominant concepts of privacy will be contextualised on behalf of a critical political economy analysis that refers to the Marxian concept of ideology critique, Marx’s differentiation between a societal sphere of production and a societal sphere of circulation, and his analysis of capitalist fetishisms. Fourth, taking into account the problem of privacy in capitalism, the alternative potential of Diaspora* is evaluated. Finally, a brief outline of a Marxist theory of privacy is proposed.
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