through the twin historicisms of cultural materialism and cultural poetics (or ‘new historicism’).2 The periodising title early modern is part of a movement away from notions such as ‘the English Renaissance’ or from ‘the Tudor period’, although such names are retained by some of historicism’s adherents.3 That the emergence of the phrase ‘early modern’ seems to mark a strategic attempt to delineate what otherwise appears to be a depressingly familiar ramification of what I suppose we must now term ‘old’ historicism doesn’t diminish its institutional eﬀectivity.4 One
This chapter considers the temporal dynamics of anti-computing, focusing on the tendency of tropes of dissent and anxiety around the computational to rise and fall but also to return and trouble the present. The goal of the chapter is to produce a form of thinking the technological that is apt for the consideration of anti-computing formations – taking cognisance both of their material underpinnings and the ideological heft of computational capitalism and its claim to be compulsory. The route taken goes first by way of a critical but appreciative engagement with media archaeology, approached by way of Foucault’s discussion of the sleep of history. Media archaeological approaches, drawing on this, but exchanging the document for the technical material, and focusing on disjuncture and on non-linear accounts are then explored, and deployed to develop a sense of anti-computing as non-continuous but recurrent.
The focus then shifts to consider systemic factors that media archaeology largely sets aside in its concentration on the material effects of technical media; this demands a consideration of anti-computing as a formation produced by and within computational capitalism – and produces the conundrum of resistance within what has become compulsory. Finding a way through these conflicts it is argued that anti-computing itself can present a challenge to strongly new materialist forms of media archaeology whilst also making evident the need for forms of cultural materialism that continue to reach beyond representation and that find new ways to grapple with the specificity of digital media.
’ (censorship as a repressive, external threat to essential freedoms) that has been adopted by ‘political critics’ working on the early modern period (particularly British cultural materialists), which ‘makes available in the Renaissance a certain essentially moral notion of critical opposition’. ‘By extension,’ argues Burt, ‘a similar kind of critical opposition becomes available in the present.’4 This situation may well have come about, as Robert Young has noted, because cultural materialism as a broadly leftist critical practice has pretty much supplanted or displaced the
. 2 Wotton, The Elements of Architecture , p. 4. 3 Harris, Untimely Matter , pp. 16–20. 4 See Jonathan Dollimore, ‘Introduction: Shakespeare, Cultural Materialism and New Historicism’, in
, ‘Cultural Studies and Renaissance in Africa: Recovering Praxis’, Scrutiny2: Issues in English Studies in Southern Africa [Pretoria, South Africa], 4, 2 (1999), pp. 43–8. 4 Michael Green, ‘“Cultural Studies!”, Said the Magistrate’, News from Nowhere: Journal of Cultural Materialism, 8 (1990), p. 36. 5 Tony Bennett, ‘Putting Policy into Cultural Studies’, in Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson and Paula Treichler (eds.), Cultural Studies (London: Routledge, 1992), p. 26. 6 For an interesting discussion of writing centres (based on US models) within South African universities
to incorporate a concern with culture and humanism into his own reworking of Marxism as ‘cultural materialism’. He thus added to the New Left interpretation of labourism a more nuanced and sympathetic element, taking it beyond an orthodox Marxist approach. But though his analysis went further than those of other New Leftists in acknowledging the value of indigenous radical ideas, and the genuine human sources of some Labour Left thinking, Williams nevertheless shared with other New Left writers the view that the dominant traditions and internal structural logic of
. 2002 . Re-imagining Cultural Studies: The Promise of Cultural Materialism . London : Sage . Mulhern , Francis . 1979 . The Moment of Scrutiny . London : New Left Books . Mulhern , Francis . 2013 . ‘ English Reading ’, in Homi Bhabha (ed.) Nation and Narration. London : Taylor and Francis , 250
with the idea that art itself is now something whose very existence has been put in doubt by various manifestations of the avantgarde from Duchamp onwards, and by the anti-essentialist, radically historicised temper of much recent thinking. The fact is, though, that questioning of art as, say, a form of ideology is present more in aspects of Cultural Materialism and New Historicism than in many philosophically oriented approaches to the end of metaphysics. It is therefore not surprising that, despite his desire to circumvent metaphysics, Rorty has, in Romantic