The Exploit: A Theory of Networks

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U of Minnesota Press, 2007 - Computers - 196 pages
2 Reviews
“The Exploit is that rare thing: a book with a clear grasp of how networks operate that also understands the political implications of this emerging form of power. It cuts through the nonsense about how 'free' and 'democratic' networks supposedly are, and it offers a rich analysis of how network protocols create a new kind of control. Essential reading for all theorists, artists, activists, techheads, and hackers of the Net.” —McKenzie Wark, author of A Hacker Manifesto


The network has become the core organizational structure for postmodern politics, culture, and life, replacing the modern era’s hierarchical systems. From peer-to-peer file sharing and massive multiplayer online games to contagion vectors of digital or biological viruses and global affiliations of terrorist organizations, the network form has become so invasive that nearly every aspect of contemporary society can be located within it.


Borrowing their title from the hacker term for a program that takes advantage of a flaw in a network system, Alexander R. Galloway and Eugene Thacker challenge the widespread assumption that networks are inherently egalitarian. Instead, they contend that there exist new modes of control entirely native to networks, modes that are at once highly centralized and dispersed, corporate and subversive.


In this provocative book-length essay, Galloway and Thacker argue that a whole new topology must be invented to resist and reshape the network form, one that is as asymmetrical in relationship to networks as the network is in relation to hierarchy.


Alexander R. Galloway is associate professor of culture and communications at New York University and the author of Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture (Minnesota, 2006) and Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization.


Eugene Thacker is associate professor of new media at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the author of Biomedia (Minnesota, 2004) and The Global Genome: Biotechnology, Politics, and Culture.


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Review: The Exploit: A Theory of Networks

User Review  - Goodreads

A little postmodern for my tastes, but the look at graph theory was dead on and I appreciated the context of asymmetrical warfare. Quick read. Read full review

Review: The Exploit: A Theory of Networks

User Review  - Goodreads

This book is absolutely fascinating if you're at all interested in politics, the globalizing effects of technology and the net, and/or network theory. I definitely recommend it. Read full review


Were Tired of Trees
Part I Nodes
Part II Edges
Bits and Atoms
Notes for a Liberated Computer Language

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About the author (2007)

Alexander R. Galloway is associate professor of media studies at New York University and lives in New York, NY. He is the author of four books on digital media and critical theory, most recently "The Interface Effect".

Eugene Thacker is the author of several books, including After Life and Horror of Philosophy. He teaches at The New School in New York.

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