Reading Form as Opposed to Absenced Meaning

I said that I would post again, and thus, here I am.

As I am rereading the middle portion of Galloway’s text, I am interested in a rather base distinction that Galloway forwards.  Quite simply, Galloway suggests that protocol, seemingly the preeminent controlling force, remains mostly indifferent to the information within (Galloway 52).  Here, of course, the rather ambigious “within” refers to that which protocol encapsulates; that which is controlled and distributed by means of encapsulation.  Following on this assertion, Galloway provides that we must read possibility as opposed to meaning.  This, I think, is an interesting stipulation.  Following on the comments that I received to the first post I made, I can’t help considering resistance and power as a “meaning” play in much rather idealistic resistance discourse.  So the theory often mistakenly goes, by changing subjectivity or affecting such change, one is able to resist the meanings inherent to certain systems of power.  This, as Galloway seems to be arguing, is called into question in consideration of certain technologies. 

Perhaps, though, there is another way of reading resistance as it relates to the division of rhetoric/composition and literature within English departments.  Here, Galloway’s insistence on reading form as opposed to meaning prompts questions as to the viability of Literature scholarship (read big “L”).  As Galloway suggests, “protocol is a circuit, not a sentence” (Galloway 53).  This seems a difference between reading and interpreting the ringing of the bells in Mrs. Dalloway, and focusing on structure (Note that I picked this text not without rhyme or reason).  Quite provocatively, it seems that Galloway’s text provides a suggestion of how we should read, or rather, prepare ourselves as students and educators.  By limiting meaning, in preference for form, does not technology insist that we pursue the same avenue?  Consider, for a moment, Galloway’s chapter conclusion:

Next, I move beyond the hard science of protocol and begin to consider it from the perspective of form.  That is: How does protocol function, not as a material machine, but as an entire formal apparatus?  What techniques are used by and through protocol to create various cultural objects?  How can one define protocol in its most abstract senese?

Second, and quite divergently, I am troubled by Galloway’s conception of the internet as it relates to commodification.  Following on his spiel that the internet encourages many-to-many communication, as opposed to older technological forms of information distribution, Galloway references Enzensberger, to suggest that the, “very immateriality of the media resists commodification and reification” (Galloway 58).  Though I applaud Galloway’s attempts to call forth the Marxist method, I find this assertion problematic.  As we discussed earlier this semester, it seems that ubiquity and choice are the very methods by which commodification works.  Also, isn’t the internet made material by means of commodification.  This point seems counterintuitive to Galloway’s other arguments.  It seems, at least to this reader, that despite the existence of protocol as a rather immaterial form, there is still a great deal of material transfer, especially as it relates to people and the products that they purchase.



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