The tsunami of information unleashed by digitization is threatening to overwhelm us, drowning us in a sea of frenzied communication and disrupting many spheres of social life, including politics. Election campaigns are now being waged as information wars with bots and troll armies, and democracy is degenerating into infocracy.
In this new book, Byung-Chul Han argues that infocracy is the new form of rule characteristic of contemporary information capitalism. Whereas the disciplinary regime of industrial capitalism worked with compulsion and repression, this new information regime exploits freedom instead of repressing it. Surveillance and punishment give way to motivation and optimization: we imagine that we are free, but in reality our entire lives are recorded so that our behaviour might be psychopolitically controlled. Under the neoliberal information regime, mechanisms of power function not because people are aware of the fact of constant surveillance but because they perceive themselves to be free.
This trenchant critique of politics in the information age will be of great interest to students and scholars in the humanities and social sciences and to anyone concerned about the fate of politics in our time.