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Ampersand: An International Journal of General and Applied Linguistics

Edited By R. Cann, H. Pichler, K. Van De Poel, D. van Olmen, and K. Watson

Academic Paper

Title: Electronic Capitalism
Paper URL:
Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Indian Statistical Institute
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Philosophy of Language; Pragmatics; Semantics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This paper Highlights on 'Cyberspace', an Electronic space simulated for communication network founded by post Industrialized Society, where the assembly line of mass production is not followed; producing standardized commodities following Fordian line has almost vanished and it is supplemented by non-standardized non-prototypical craft production; and in the realm of division labor, Taylorian paradigm is substituted by workshop-based flexible alternating division of labor. This deployment of high-tech in the simple commodity production is based on the linguistic corpus collected from the heterogeneous so-called locals and those local choices are stored in the computerized data-repertoire. Local choices are considered for the sake of creating niche market. Thus, the phenomenon of globalization (Global Local) that is operating within the cyberspace has emerged. This is also reflected in the languages of electronic ads. What author has referred to as Electronic Capitalism, subscribing the Print Capitalism a la Benedict Anderson, was elaborated in reference to the phenomenon "globalization". What is this hyper-domain of cyberspace of communication? In the so-called global village, an exclusive interactive zone is created with the help of cybernetic science. This new communication space has emerged due to the introduction of electronic capitalism supplementing the print capitalism. Due to the proliferation as well as explosion of electronic industry, this new space enjoys a dominant position to enhance the quickest communication. Ideal speaker-hearer, though they are in physical Diaspora, communicate in the cyberspace and they are exchanging their languages as apparent reciprocal donor-receptors, and therefore, code mixing (cohabitation or encroachment?) is an usual phenomena in this cyberspace. Baudrillard (1975) aptly called this age as an ‘age of simulation”, third order of pretension, where he found signs as representation of themselves. In this third order, the sign of creative computer, without any signifier, endowed with human faculty, does not refer to anything outside itself, viz. creative speaking subject -- a presence whose absence they mark -- but rather serve to mask the absence of any exterior -- the relation between the real and representation or "representational" imaginary is dissolved and hyper-realty of cyber-space begins, where any the self -- referential signs emerges as real ‘reality' by veiling the “real” self. Thus, intelligent computer or talking machines are "real" talking beings in this third order instead of speaking subjects. In this simulated cyberspace, non-signifying electronic devices endowed with human faculty re-inscribe a regime of phonocentrism Deluze and Guattari (1977) or some thing more than phonic, it may be termed as electrocentrism to cover all the possible manifestations of electronic media). Deluze and Guattari (1977) argued that the language and its subsequent semiotic process within the ambit of capitalism are not related to encoded signifying processes but it is concerned with decoded flows, i.e. the material flows of electric language, which is a simulacrum of something without semantic content. It is the capacity of modern language technology to acquire the power of fetish of “other” without being a participant in the other’s domain. Computer, an impersonal machine, now talks with the “other” by deploying, nor logocentric, neither phonocentric, but electrocentnic techno-discourse. This techno-discourse, in the realm of technical intelligentsia’s culture of critical discourse, has become algocentric meta discourse, i.e., a discourse, which is guided by the formal, computable, and algorithmic principles of meta mathematics./L/Keywords: algocentric discourse, electronic capitalism, electrocentrism, phonocentrism, cyberspace
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: Frontier, Vol. 31, No. 25, pp. 4-6, 1999

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