Publications

 

Selected Publications (2008 – date)

Monographs

Tony D Sampson, The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture, University of Minnesota Press, Dec, 2016.

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A radical new theory of the brain bridging science, philosophy, art, and politics

Once upon a time, neuroscience was born. From it there emerged a dazzling array of neurotechnologies that, according to popular belief, have finally begun to unlock the secrets of the brain. But as the reach of the brain sciences now extends into all corners of cultural, social, political, and economic life, a yet newer world has taken shape: “neuroculture,” as argued in this book, which goes further than ever before to tackle the profound ethical implications we face in consequence.

The Assemblage Brain unveils a major new concept of sense making, one that challenges conventional scientific and philosophical understandings of the brain. Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari, Tony D. Sampson calls for a radical critical theory that operates in the interferences between philosophy, science, art, and politics. From this novel perspective the book is structured around two main questions: “What can be done to a brain?” and “What can a brain do?” Sampson examines the rise of neuroeconomics in informing significant developments in computer work, marketing, and the neuropharmaceutical control of inattentiveness in the classroom. Moving beyond the neurocapitalist framework, he then reestablishes a place for proto-subjectivity in which biological and cultural distinctions are reintegrated in an understanding of the brain as an assemblage.

The Assemblage Brain unravels the conventional image of thought that underpins many scientific and philosophical accounts of how sense is produced, providing an alternative way of thinking about our current time in which capitalism and the neurosciences are endeavoring to colonize the brain.

Reviews

‘Tap my head and mike my brain’; Tony Sampson’s new book might silently echo Pynchon’s famous lines, but this is also an original, inspiring, and theoretically savvy take on the culture of the affective brain, from sciences to business, cybernetics to political power. Warmly recommended.

Jussi Parikka, author of Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology

The Assemblage Brain provides a much-needed critique of the black-box, computational brain that has been a staple in philosophy, science, and the arts and connects the dots between recent innovations in science, dystopian literature, and theoretical developments in contemporary philosophy.

David Gunkel, author of The Machine Question: Critical Perspectives on AI, Robots and Ethics

 

Tony D Sampson, Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks, University of Minnesota Press, 2012. Read review in TCS Journal.

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Reviews

Impressive and ambitious, Virality offers a new theory of the viral as a sociological event. Brian Rotman, Ohio State University.

Tarde and Deleuze come beautifully together in this outstanding book, the first to really put forward a serious alternative to neo-Darwinian theories of virality, contagion, and memetics. A thrilling read that bears enduring consequences for our understanding of network cultures. Unmissable. Tiziana Terranova, author of Network Culture.

“Sampson is a great writer, and the language itself is affective: ‘bullish’, ‘cynical’ are words that become not just descriptive but gather a force of expression in Sampson’s way of mapping techniques of the noncognitive in marketing and politics.”  Jussi Parikka’s review in Theory, Culture and Society

Edited collection

Tony D Sampson, Darren Ellis and Stephen Maddison (eds.) Affect and Social Media. Rowman & Littlefield International In production due 2018.

 

Tony D Sampson and Jussi Parikka (eds.) The Spam Book: On Viruses, Porn and Other Anomalies from the Dark Side of Digital Culture, Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press; 2009.

Untitled-8 copy

Selected Peer Reviewed Journal Articles and Reviews (including work in progress and accepted work)

Tony D Sampson “Transitions in HCI: From the Information Society to Experience Capitalism” invited article for special issue of AI and Society.

Tony D Sampson, “Cosmic Ecologies of Imitation: From the Horror of Digital Autotoxicus to the Auto-Toxicity of the Socialinvited article for special issue of Parallax.

Tony D Sampson, “Various Joyful Encounters with the Dystopias of Affective Capitalism” invited article for special issue of Ephemera.

Tony D Sampson, “Getting the [Care] Deficit Down” A review of Michael Schillmeier’s Eventful Bodies: The Cosmopolitics of Illness in New Formations Issue 84-5 (forthcoming).

Tony D Sampson, Commentary for a special section on ‘contagion’, Journal of Public Health (Oxford University Press, August 21, 2013).

Tony D Sampson, Review of Immaterial Bodies: Affect, Embodiment, Mediation by Lisa Blackman in New Formations Issue 79-79 Touches, Traces, and Times, 2013.

Tony D Sampson, “Tarde’s Phantom Takes a Deadly Line of Flight,” Special Issue, Operations of the Global – Explorations of Dis/Connectivity, Distinktion Journal, Dec 2012.

Tony D Sampson, “Contagion Theory Beyond the Microbe,” CTheory Journal of Theory, Technology and Culture, Special Issue: In the Name of Security, Jan, 2011.

Tony D Sampson (with Jairo Lugo-Ocando), “E-Informality in Venezuela: The Other Path to Technology,” Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 27, No. 1, pp. 102-118; 2008

Selected Book Chapters

“The Divided Selfie: The Politics of [User] Experience in the Age of Social Media” in Boundaries of Self & Reality Online: Implications of Digitally Constructed Realities Editor: Jayne Gackenbach, Elsevier (forthcoming).

“Interview with Tony D. Sampson” in The Birth of Digital Populism. Crowd, Power and Postdemocracy in the 21st Century (Obsolete Capitalism Free Press, 2015).

Tony D Sampson, “Contagion Theory: Beyond the Microbe,” Critical Digital Studies: A Reader, Arthur and Marilouise Kroker (eds.), University of Toronto Press, 2013.

Tony D Sampson (with Jussi Parikka), “Learning from Network Dysfunctionality: Accidents, Enterprise and Small Worlds of Infection” The Blackwell Companion to New Media Dynamics, Hartley, Burgess and Bruns (eds.), Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.

Tony D Sampson, “Error-Contagion: Network Hypnosis and Collective Culpability,” Error: Glitch, Noise, and Jam in New Media Cultures, Mark Nunes (ed.), New York, London: Continuum, 2010.

Tony D Sampson (with Lugo and Lossanda), “A Prospective Analysis of the Video Games Industry in Latin America: From Banana Republic to Donkey Kong,” FILE: Electronic Language International Festival 10 Years Commemorative Book, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 2010.

Tony D Sampson and Jussi Parikka, “On Anomalous Objects: An Introduction,” in The Spam Book: On Viruses, Porn and Other Anomalies From the Dark Side of Digital Culture, Parikka and Sampson (eds.), Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, pp. 1-18; 2009.

Tony D Sampson, “How Networks Become Viral: Three Questions Concerning Universal Contagion,” in The Spam Book: On Viruses, Porn and Other Anomalies From the Dark Side of Digital Culture, Parikka and Sampson (eds.), Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, pp. 39-59; 2009.

Selected Online Publications

Tony D Sampson, “Barbican’s Digital Exhibition is Nothing More Than Gimmickry”, Review of Barbican Digital Revolution Exhibit in The Conversation, July 2014.

“Crowds, Power and Post-Democracy in the 21st Century” an interview with Tony D. Sampson by Rizomatika, Obsolete Capitalism and Variazioni Foucaultiane blogs, 2013.

‘Tarde as Media Theorist’: an interview with Tony D. Sampson, by Jussi Parikka on the Theory, Culture and Society blog, 2012.

Tony D Sampson, “Imitative Inventions”, an online review of Olga Goriunova’s Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet, Mute Magazine, 2012.

Tony D Sampson, “Software de Arriba a Abajo”, Tin Tank: Conocimieto Inspiracion e Ideas ahora, 2010.

Tony D Sampson, “Turning Software Inside Out: A Review of FLOSS +Art and Software Studies”, Mute Magazine, 2009.

Reviews

Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks, , University of Minnesota Press, 2012

“Impressive and ambitious, Virality offers a new theory of the viral as a sociological event.” Brian Rotman, Ohio State University

“Tarde and Deleuze come beautifully together in this outstanding book, the first to really put forward a serious alternative to neo-Darwinian theories of virality, contagion, and memetics. A thrilling read that bears enduring consequences for our understanding of network cultures. Unmissable.” Tiziana Terranova, author of Network Culture

“Sampson is a great writer, and the language itself is affective: ‘bullish’, ‘cynical’ are words that become not just descriptive but gather a force of expression in Sampson’s way of mapping techniques of the noncognitive in marketing and politics.”  Jussi Parikka’s review in Theory, Culture and Society

“[Virality] is an important interdisciplinary contribution to the understanding of network cultures not only because it puts into historical context how crowd behavior has been studied for the last hundred years, but also because it helps anyone interested in attaining a more in-depth understanding of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy; thus, Virality is a real contribution to assemblage theory and its relation to media archeology in terms of network analysis. For this reason, it is a book that anyone interested in understanding how social media functions at the beginning of the 21st century should seriously consider reading.” Huffington Post book review by Eduardo Navas

Virality participates in a growing scholarly trend within the humanities in which researchers criticize and propose alternatives to the reification of a methodological division between biology and culture. While dense, Virality treats a wide range of relevant scholarship as it presents a refreshing approach to contagion theory in what has been a stagnant area of scholarship… the book is both innovative and timely, which means that the work necessary to understand Sampson’s connections will be well rewarded.” Claire Barber in Reviews in Cultural Theory.

Video

For a summary of the book’s main themes see the below video produced by students on the MA New Media and Digital Culture programme at the University of Amsterdam. Published on YouTube Oct 30, 2012 by Bozhan Chipev.

 

Interview with the author on the TCS blog ‘Tarde as Media Theorist’: an interview with Tony D. Sampson, by Jussi Parikka

spam_soft

Jussi Parikka and Tony D Sampson (authors and coeditors) The Spam Book: On Viruses, Porn and Other Anomalies from the Dark Side of Digital Culture, Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2009.

For those of us increasingly reliant on email networks in our everyday social interactions, spam can be a pain; it can annoy; it can deceive; it can overload. Yet spam can also entertain and perplex us. This book is an aberration into the dark side of network culture. Instead of regurgitating stories of technological progress or over celebrating creative social media on the Internet, it filters contemporary culture through its anomalies. The book features theorists writing on spam, porn, censorship, and viruses. The evil side of media theory is exposed to theoretical interventions and innovative case studies that touch base with new media and Internet studies and the sociology of new network culture, as well as post-representational cultural theory.

Reviews and press:

“Tony Sampson tackles the problem of modeling contagions by folding system instability over stability therein bringing inside the hitherto externality of the parasite model. He rehabilitates the figure of the juvenile virus writer for technocultural theory and revalorizes a “constitutive anomaly” that makes instability a key factor of stability in a network not given in advance, that is, not frozen, but sensitive to growth, uncertainty, and vulnerability. This idea of the network “in passage” is rich and foregrounds the robustness of the fragile”
Gary Genosko’s review of The Spam Book Leonardo Reviews

“Parikka and Sampson present the latest insights from the humanities into software studies. This compendium is for all you digital Freudians. Electronic deviances no longer originate in Californian cyber fringes but are hardwired into planetary normalcy. Bugs breed inside our mobile devices. The virtual mainstream turns out to be rotten. The Spam book is for anyone interested in new media theory.”
Geert Lovink, Dutch/Australian media theorist

“What if all those things we most hate about the Internet, the spam, the viruses, the phishing sites, the flame wars, the latency and lag and interruptions of service,and the glitches that crash our computerswhat if all these are not bugs, but features? What if they constitute, in fact, the way the system functions? The SpamBook explores this disquieting possibility.”
Steven Shaviro, DeRoy Professor of English, Wayne State University

“The first section, on ‘Contagion’, is strong on the question of the internal informational architecture of the web itself, analysing the particular topologies of networked spaces. It took me a while to grasp the logic behind this section, since the heading ‘Contagion’ seemed a secondary concern for a chapter that ultimately focussed on the production of space. In fact, this counter-intuitive framing of the subject is particularly useful – the paradigm here is one of process ontology, whereby a network is not identified with its physical infrastructure, but shown to be continually produced and transformed through the making and breaking of links, in dynamic processes of interaction. The network, in this sense, does not carry contagion, but is constituted by the flows of contagion, ‘a heterogeneous compositional force endemic to the network’. This theme opens up questions as to which biological concepts are most helpful in mapping the internet – the polemical thrust of the book is to reject images of functional organic completeness in favour of viral proliferation and productive malfunction.” Ben Pritchett’s Review for Mute

 

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