The Cultural Logic of Computation

TitleThe Cultural Logic of Computation
Publication TypeBook
AuthorsGolumbia, David
Number of Pages276
PublisherHarvard University Press
ISBN Number978-0-674-03292-7

Advocates of computers make sweeping claims for their inherently transformative power: new and different from previous technologies, they are sure to resolve many of our existing social problems, and perhaps even to cause a positive political revolution. In The Cultural Logic of Computation, David Golumbia, who worked as a software designer for more than ten years, confronts this orthodoxy, arguing instead that computers are cultural âeoeall the way downâe âe"that there is no part of the apparent technological transformation that is not shaped by historical and cultural processes, or that escapes existing cultural politics. From the perspective of transnational corporations and governments, computers benefit existing power much more fully than they provide means to distribute or contest it. Despite this, our thinking about computers has developed into a nearly invisible ideology Golumbia dubs âeoecomputationalismâe âe"an ideology that informs our thinking not just about computers, but about economic and social trends as sweeping as globalization. Driven by a programmerâe(tm)s knowledge of computers as well as by a deep engagement with contemporary literary and cultural studies and poststructuralist theory, The Cultural Logic of Computation provides a needed corrective to the uncritical enthusiasm for computers common today in many parts of our culture.


'In this book, Golumbia describes a sort of pervading thought style around computation as one that serves as a metaphor for the design of so much else in the world.  He shows how the logic of computation functions in society writ large.  I find Golumbia\'s argument to be a bit too technologically dystopian - I believe that computation can be structured differently and that leveraged creatively, it can open possibilities for epistemological pluralism.  Still, it is an extremely important point of reference for it opens space to talk about computationalist logics.\n - poiril'