Foundations of Science

, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 287–296 | Cite as

Social Autonomy and Heteronomy in the Age of ICT: The Digital Pharmakon and the (Dis)Empowerment of the General Intellect

  • Pieter LemmensEmail author


‘The art of living with ICTs (information and communication technologies)’ today not only means finding new ways to cope, interact and create new lifestyles on the basis of the new digital (network) technologies individually, as ‘consumer-citizens’. It also means inventing new modes of living, producing and, not in the least place, struggling collectively, as workers and producers. As the so-called digital revolution unfolds in the context of a neoliberal cognitive and consumerist capitalism, its ‘innovations’ are predominantly employed to modulate and control both production processes and consumer behavior in view of the overall goal of extracting surplus value. Today, the digital networks overwhelmingly destroy social autonomy, instead engendering increasing social heteronomy and proletarianization. Yet it is these very networks themselves, as technical pharmaka in the sense of French ‘technophilosopher’ Bernard Stiegler, that can be employed as no other to struggle against this tendency. This paper briefly explores this possibility by reflecting upon current diagnoses of our ‘technological situation’ by some exemplary post-operaist Marxists from a Stieglerian, pharmacological perspective.


Digital technologies Cognitive capitalism Marxism Post-autonomism General intellect Stiegler 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NijmegenNetherlands

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