Speedism, boxism and markism: Three ideologies of the Internet

Jan Michael Nolin


The Internet is one of man’s greatest inventions. As all transformative technologies, it leaves a stamp on society, social action and values. This is actually a case of the Internet and society mutually constructing each other. Therefore, as the Internet is in constant transformation, social values rebound and impact on further development. This paper is concerned with systems of values grouped around core ideas, here described as ideologies, which continuously renegotiates the development of the Internet. Three basic ideas are identified as underpinning the development of the packet switching system during the 1960s. It is argued that the historical development of the ARPANET, the Internet and the World Wide Web, as well as current developments, are all variations of these three ideas: the distributed network, the envelope and the identifier. It is maintained that these are translated into value systems, ideologies, held by different social groups. These three ideologies are conceptualised as speedism, boxism and markism. These are discussed in relation to various trends in past and current development of the Internet. This paper is also concerned with concepts articulated by Jonathan Zittrain in his book The future of the Internet and how to stop it (2008), in particular the generative Internet and tethered appliances.


Internet ideologies; generative Internet; tethered appliances; speedism; boxism; markism; Zittrain

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v15i10.2566

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