Social media's connectivity is often thought to be a manifestation of human nature buried until w, revealed only through the diverse techlogies of the participatory internet. Rather than embrace this view, Inhuman Networks: Social Media and the Archaeology of Connection argues that the human nature revealed by social media imagines network techlogy and data as models for behavior online. Covering a wide range of historical and interdisciplinary subjects, Grant Bollmer examines the emergence of the network as a model for relation in the 1700s and 1800s and follows it through marginal, often forgotten articulations of techlogy, biology, ecomics, and the social. From this history, Bollmer examines contemporary controversies surrounding social media, extending out to the influence of network models on issues of critical theory, politics, popular science, and neoliberalism. By moving through the past and present of network media, Inhuman Networks demonstrates how contemporary network culture unintentionally repeats debates over the limits of Western modernity to provide an idealized future where the human is interchangeable with abstract, flowing data connected through well-managed, distributed networks.
Grant Bollmer is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at North Carolina State University, where he teaches in the Department of Communication and the PhD Program in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media, and an Honorary Associate of the Department of Media and Communications at The University of Sydney.