Pirates of Silicon Valley: State of exception and dispossession in Web 2.0

  • Peter Jakobsson Södertörn University
  • Fredrik Stiernstedt Södertörn University
Keywords: Web 2.0, state of exception, dispossession, copyright


This paper investigates a paradox in the reception of Web 2.0. While some of its services are seen as creators of a new informational economy and are hence publicly legitimized, other features are increasingly under surveillance and policed, although in reality the differences between these services is far from obvious. Our thesis is that we are currently experiencing a temporary postponement of the law, in the context of Web 2.0. Agamben’s work on the state of exception is here used to theorize the informational economy as an ongoing dispossession, under the guise of ‘networked production’. This dispossession is seen as a parallel to the concept of ‘primitive accumulation’, as a means of moving things from the exterior to the interior of the capitalist economy. This theory lets us problematize the concept of free labor, the metaphor of the enclosure, and puts into question the dichotomy between copyright and cultural commons.

Author Biographies

Peter Jakobsson, Södertörn University
Peter Jakobsson is a Phd candidate at Södertörn University, Sweden. His thesis work tracks the development of copyright in relation to new media in a Swedish context. He has previously published articles on game studies in, for example, European Journal of Cultural Studies and Interactions.
Fredrik Stiernstedt, Södertörn University
Fredrik Stiernstedt is a PhD candidate and Junior Lecturer at Södertörn University. His dissertation research is on the political economy of Web 2.0. He has previously worked in the field of radio research and published in for example Radio Journal.
How to Cite
Jakobsson, P., & Stiernstedt, F. (2010). Pirates of Silicon Valley: State of exception and dispossession in Web 2.0. First Monday, 15(7). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v15i7.2799