Review of Andrejevic's Infoglut
Surveillance & Society
Mark Andrejevic's Infoglut offers a theoretically rich account of the modern information landscape, examining how the massive proliferation of information transfer and storage through modern technology impacts our understanding of both communication and critique. The hyperproliferation of information in the era of the internet and computer data storage has contributed to a form of information overload called 'Infoglut.' This state of information overload marks what Slavoj !i"ek calls the
... ek calls the 'decline of symbolic efficiency,' in which the proliferation and accumulation of competing narratives and truth claims ultimately calls all claims to truth into question. Whereas power once operated through the establishment of a dominant narrative and the suppression of alternative narratives, the perpetual availability of competing claims to truth now makes old strategies of controlling information irrelevant. Where the task of the powerful was once to prevent new information from circulating that could hurt their interests, the task of the powerful is now to circulate so much information that any claim to truth can ultimately be called into question by mobilizing enough data. Controlling information no longer requires preventing new information from circulating but rather controlling access to databases and infrastructure capable of storing, monitoring, and analyzing massive quantities of data. Critical practices of the pre-infoglut era, rooted in theories of representation, are now reduced to conspiracy theories that dispel all claims to expertise as a form of hidden ideology, all while positing a new ideological claim under the postideological guise of prediction or affective certainty.