Astrid Mager and Christian Katzenbach have jointly edited a special issue of New Media & Society, called: “We Are on a Mission”. Exploring Future Imaginaries in the Making and Governing of Digital Technology. I have contributed a short article in which I re-visit some of the early and recurring metaphors used to capture the internet and digital technologies, such as highway and library. I then examine more recent metaphors of cloud computing and big data. I argue that it remains important to deconstruct the metaphors of powerful actors. But I also argue that critical scholars of the internet and digital media need to be simultaneously careful and imaginative in their own use of metaphorical language.
My article is called ‘Metaphors in critical and digital media studies’. It is open access and can be found here.
The special issue grew out of a workshop held in April 2018 in Berlin at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Following the workshop, I wrote a short piece about the ‘addiction’ metaphor often implicit in discussions of internet use.
The new article builds on the workshop presentation and an earlier article, published in Science, Technology & Human Values back in 2004. In that article, I focused on metaphors of evolution and change, not only for understanding the internet but also for understanding economics and geophysiology.