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Dr Jonathan Marshall


Jonathan Marshall is a QE II Research Fellow investigating the ways that software can produce disorder and disruption, with an aim to finding solutions for these ongoing problems. He is working on this project with James Goodman of the Social and Political Change Group and Didar Zowghi, a professor of IT at this University.

He has previously conducted research in several major areas:

  • The use, and affects, of gender online.
  • The construction and maintenance of online communities
  • The paradoxes and inconsistencies in so called 'information societies'.
  • The psycho-social history of Western science and the occult.
His ethnographic thesis was published as Living on Cybermind: Categories, Communication and Control. He was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship to do the work on online gender, and has recently edited Depth Psychology, Disorder and Climate Change.


Member of the Australian Anthropological Association
Member of the Association of Inernet Researchers

Senior Research Associate, Social Inquiry Program
Core Member, Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Research Centre
Associate Member, Transforming Cultures
BA (Hons) (Syd), M (Hons) (Syd), PhD (Syd)
Member, Australian Anthropology Society
+61 2 9514 2726

Research Interests

Anthropology and History of the Western Occult, Science and Technology
Ethnographic Studies of computer and internet use
Gender and technology (especially computers)
Social theories of the imagination
Jungian Psychology


Marshall, J., Goodman, J., Zowghi, D. & da Rimini, F. 2015, Disorder and the Disinformation Society: The Social Dynamics of Information, Networks and Software, Routledge, 2015.
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Marshall, J.P. & Connor, L. 2015, Environmental Change and the World's Futures Ecologies, Ontologies and Mythologies, Routledge, Oxford.
The futures discussed in this book primarily arise from awareness of the potentially disruptive impact of climate change and ecological instability on human societies.
Goodman, J. & Marshall, J.P. 2014, Crisis, Movement, Management Globalising Dynamics, Routledge, oxford.
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This book was published as a special issue of Globalizations.
Marshall, J.P. 2009, Depth Psychology, Disorder and Climate Change, JungDownunder, Sydney.
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In this book, nineteen writers explore our reactions largely, but not only, from the perspectives of Jungian Depth Psychology.
Marshall, J. 2007, Living on Cybermind: Categories, Communication and Control, 1, Peter Lang, New York, USA.
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Cybermind is an Internet mailing list, originally founded in 1994 to discuss the issues and problems of living online. It proved exceptionally fertile and is still going strong thirteen years later. This book is an ethnographic investigation which follows Cybermind members in their daily lives on the List, and explores the ways they look at the world, argue, relate online life to offline life, use gender, and build community. Perhaps the most comprehensive history of an Internet group ever published, it includes detailed analyses using List members own words and commentary, and develops a unique theory of the relationship between culture, the problems of communication, and the ongoing processes of categorisation. Living on Cybermind illustrates how behaviour is affected by the organisation of communication, and how people deal with the paradoxes involved in resolving ambiguity and truth in a situation in which presence is always on the verge of slipping away.
Marshall, J. 2002, Jung, Alchemy and History: A Critical Exposition of Jung's Theory of Alchemy, Hermetic Research Series, Glasgow, UK.


Marshall, J.P. 2015, 'Ecological complexity and the ethics of disorder' in Marshall, J.P. & Connor, L.H. (eds), Environmental Change and the World's Futures: Ecologies, ontologies and mythologies, Routledge, Oxford, pp. 48-62.
Decisions about the future, always involve ethics. Ethical decisions express our imagining of the way the world works and should work. The ideas of 'systemic complexity', unpredictability, flux and conflict which are found in ecological views of the world, undermine some traditional conceptions of Western ethics, which depend on ideas of ontological harmony, order, predictability and the ability to easily define situations as similar. The chapter argues that the ethical attitude of Albert Schweitzer ('reverence for life'), allows the recognition of these fundamental ecological factors of being, and recognises that ethical conflict, disagreement and risk of inadequacy is at the heart of ethics. This recognition stops ethics from becoming a set of actions directed at an ideal non-existent world, and is therefore more realistic and less harmful to human relations in, and with, the world and other life forms. It recognises difficulty, and what humans define as 'disorder', as inherent to ethics.
Marshall, J.P. 2015, 'Geo-engineering, imagining and the problem cycle: a cultural complex in action' in Marshall, J.P. & Connor, L.H. (eds), Environmental Change and the World's Futures: Ecologies, ontologies and mythologies, Routledge, Oxford, pp. 247-263.
One imagining for solving the problems of climate change, which is of growing importance, is geoengineering, or the technological regulation of Earth's climate to avoid the consequences of climate change. The dynamics of this new 'solution' is analysed in terms of a general pattern of problem/solution and breakdown at both the psychological and social level. The psychological theory of Carl Jung, shows how paying attention to neglected symbols and imaginative formations can help solve or mitigate existential problems. However, access to these solutions can be channelled by what have been called "cultural complexes". These cultural complexes reinforce current patterns of power and social existence, and can lead to repressions of solutions and upsurges from the social and natural 'unconscious', which are usually dealt with by shadow projection. A characteristic of geoengineering is that it proposes that society is more natural and unalterable than nature itself, despite common awareness of the likely unforseen and disastrous consequences of geoengineering. The chapter argues that geoengineering is embedded in a free market cultural complex, which drives its perception and politics.
Marshall, J.P. 2015, 'Philanthropy, Celebrity and Incoherence' in Jeffreys, E. & Allatson, P. (eds), Celebrity Philanthropy, Intellect Books, Bristol, pp. 41-58.
Aid, and celebrity philanthropy in particular, is often criticized as if such help was always a simple matter of it defending, or governing, those structures of power and order which produce the need for philanthropy in the first place. This argument should not be downplayed; however it might not be the only line to the story. Criticism of celebrity philanthropy might equally stem from a desire for tidiness and order in the world that does not acknowledge the complexities of the situation, of human motivation, of the difficulties of virtue, or of unintended effects, and itself does little to fix the situation. Indeed demands for order and for divisions into good and evil may also lead to significant problems in dealing with the difficulty, magnitude and 'horror' of the troubles facing the world. This chapter explores 'incoherence' as a response which, if stayed with, has the potential to produce an opening which may allow us to deal with overwhelming mess, chaos, divergence and despair, and to build empathy without foreclosing those possibilities into premature order, certainty or condemnation. The term 'incoherence' is used to refer to disorder of speech, disorder of argument, and disorder of intent and results, that is, to a general lack of congruence and coherence. The argument proceeds by looking at the relationships between help, exchange and empathy, moving into a brief history of 'help' (primarily in the UK) and finally exploring an interview with Angelina Jolie – film star, Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and Special Envoy to the current High Commissioner of the UNHCR. I argue that incoherencies are inevitable and often useful if not dismissed, and emulation of celebrity may be preferable to attempted compulsion or control.
Marshall, J. & da Rimini, F. 2014, 'Piracy is Normal, Piracy is Boring: Systematic disruption as everyday life' in Fredriksson, M. & Arvanitakis, J. (eds), Piracy: Leakages from Modernity, Litwin Books, Sacramento, pp. 323-353.
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What is often called 'digital piracy' is nowadays a mundane and everyday activity shared by millions of people. As such, piracy is a commonplace disorder within the order of information capitalism; it is both created by the ubiquitous orders of information capitalism and suppressed by those orders. In the myriad points of view of its participants, piracy represents an order that is implicit within contemporary life, an order/disorder that we will call 'pirarchy'. For non-corporate producers, it constitutes a way of distributing their work that both threatens their ability to survive off that work, while also potentially opening previously unavailable possibilities of acquiring income or status from their products, or gaining expertise through direct, unmediated contact with fans and audiences. Many corporations see it simply as a disorder that threatens their future. We assert that pirarchy is a non-resolvable part of what we have elsewhere called the 'information disorder' – that is, the way that exchange of information, or the accuracy of information, tends to be disrupted by the political and economic processes of information capitalism.
Marshall, J.P. 2013, 'The Intranet of the Living Dead' in Whelan, A., Walker, R. & More, C. (eds), Zombies in the Academy: Living Death in Higher Education, University of Chicago in US; Intellect Books in UK, Chicago, London, pp. 121-136.
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Myths and stories sometimes tell us information we prefer not to observe consciously. This article argues there is a homology between cyborgs and zombies, by considering the Cybermen in the long running British TV programme Doctor Who, and discussing peoples experience of computing and networking in Universities. A secondary theme is that cyborgs are ordering devices which create disorder by being overly inclusive and suppressing waht they do not deign to perceive. Computerisation and intranet usage helps spread zombification (bureaucracy, administration and mindless or pointless labour) throughout the university. While cyborgs generally make optimistic theory and people proudly announce they are cyborgs, few make similar claims about being zombies. However, the myths have parallels and point to similar dynamics and anxieties. Cyborg myths encapsulate some aspects of reality better than cyborg theory, and help explain why people would embrace zombification.
Marshall, J. 2012, 'Culture, Disorder and Death in an Online World' in Le, H. (ed), Virtual Community Participation and Motivation: Cross-Disciplinary Theories, IGI Global, hershey, pp. 330-346.
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Death strikes everywhere, even online. Death poses problems personally, existentially, and culturally, and is potentially destructive to person and group. Yet many social theories of death posit some kind of social integration as normal, downplaying the potential for disorder. This chapter explores how people on the internet mailing list, Cybermind, dealt with death on two occasions: firstly, just after the groupâs founding, and secondly, when the group had been established for eight years, and was in crisis. On both occasions the group was rocked by the deaths, and struggled to make a meaningful and ongoing mailing list culture out of parts of offline culture, while transforming that culture within the constraints and ambiguities of List Life. This was a disorderly exploratory process, which verged on disintegration. Social disorder cannot be seen as simply pathological or an error; it is a vital part of cultural processes and must be taken seriously in itself.
Marshall, J. 2012, 'Disorder and Management: approaching computer software through Lao Tzu, Heraclitus and Gorgias' in Prastacos, G.P., Wang, F. & Soderquist, K.E. (eds), Leadership through the Classics: Learning Management and Leadership from Ancient East and West Philo, Springer Verlag, Hiedelberg, pp. 459-474.
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We live within a time of intense flux and unpredictable change. It is doubtful whether our techniques of management deal with such times very well, as they tend to look for eternal truths and forms of action and control. This paper asks whether our situation might be improved by looking to pre-Platonic philosophical sources for guidance; in this case the writings of Lao Tzu, Heraclitus and Gorgias. After exploring this background the paper considers the ways that people manage software installations, as these are exemplars of chaotic systems with unintended and often disruptive effects. The conclusion is that these ancient philosophers have something to say to us about the way our attempts to create order actually create disorder. Order and disorder are not opposites which negate each other, but are intertwined in an âorder/disorderâ complex.
Marshall, J. 2009, 'Climate Change is a Symbolic Event' in Jonathan Marshall (ed), Depth Psychology, Disorder and Climate Change, Jung Downunder Books (CG Jung Society of Sydney), Sydney, Australia, pp. 33-42.
Marshall, J. 2009, 'Depth Psychology and Social Innovation' in Jonathan Marshall (ed), Depth Psychology, Disorder and Climate Change, Jung Downunder Books (CG Jung Society of Sydney), Sydney, Australia, pp. 197-218.
Marshall, J. 2009, 'Hair and Chaos' in Boccalette, S. & Jones, M. (eds), Trunk I: Hair, Boccalatte, Sydney, pp. 147-151.
Marshall, J. 2009, 'Oedipus and Ecology: with a note on the Holy Grail' in Jonathan Marshall (ed), Depth Psychology, Disorder and Climate Change, Jung Downunder Books (CG Jung Society of Sydney), Sydney, Australia, pp. 125-136.
Marshall, J. 2009, 'On Oppositions and Differences' in Jonathan Marshall (ed), Depth Psychology, Disorder and Climate Change, Jung Downunder Books (CG Jung Society of Sydney), Sydney, Australia, pp. 341-354.
Marshall, J. 2009, 'Conclusion: Climate Change and Disorder' in Jonathan Marshall (ed), Depth Psychology, Disorder and Climate Change, Jung Downunder Books (CG Jung Society of Sydney), Sydney, Australia, pp. 415-450.
Marshall, J. 2008, 'Gender In Online Communications' in Coiro, J., Knobel, M., Lankshear, C. & Leu, D.J. (eds), Handbook of Research on New Literacies, Taylor and Francis (Lawrence Erlbaum), New York, pp. 491-519.
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Marshall, J. 2008, 'Cybermind: Paradoxes of Gender and Relationship in an Online Group' in Samantha Holland (ed), Remote Relationships in a Small World, Peter Lang, New York, USA, pp. 199-215.
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Marshall, J. 2006, 'Online Life and Gender Dynamics' in Eileen Trauth (ed), Encyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology, Idea Group Inc, Hershey, PA & London, UK, pp. 926-931.
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Marshall, J. 2006, 'Online Life and Online Bodies' in Eileen Trauth (ed), Encyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology, Idea Group Inc, Hershey, PA & London, UK, pp. 946-951.
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Bodies are often claimed to be irrelevant to online activity. Online space, or activity, is frequently described as if disembodied, and often this absence of visible bodies is said to contribute to freedom from social pressures around gender, race, and body type (Reid 1996). However, without bodies, people could not access the Internet, and online there are continual references, directly or indirectly, to bodies, so the term disembodied references a particular type of "ghost" body. Therefore, rather than accepting ideas that naturalise dislocating life online from bodies, it is necessary to explore the situations in which this occurs. Another commonly used body metaphor is the cyborg: the melding of human with machine. In both cases, the body is usually taken as underllying what is happening and as a referent for authenticity.
Marshall, J. 2006, 'Online Life and Netsex or Cybersex' in Eileen Trauth (ed), Encyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology, Idea Group Inc, Hershey, PA & London, UK, pp. 939-945.
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Marshall, J. 2006, 'Online Life and Gender Vagueness' in Eileen Trauth (ed), Encyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology, Idea Group Inc, Hershey, PA & London, UK, pp. 932-938.
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Marshall, J. 2011, 'Tillich: Symbol, Ecology, Paradox and the Creativity of Disorder', Ecological Theology and Environmental Ethics Vol.2, Institute of Theology and Ecology, Orthodox Academy of Crete, Orthodox ACademy of Crete, pp. 27-35.
For Paul Tillich, theology is always carried out, and meaning gained, within an existing social situation. Today this situation includes the crises of the whole eco-system. Tillich suggests that awareness of paradox, and facing conceptual disorder, provides a way through such crises. We sit before the contradictions and limitations which appear and allow a new openness to being to the divine to arise, generating a breakthrough which surprises and transcends without destroying what has gone before. The contradictions we need to face include: the ways our attempts at making order have produced disorders; the contrast between human and divine; the distinction between nature and spirit; the relation between unity and variety; and the clash between omnipotence and disorder. Within these paradoxical tensions a new sense of meaning can grow and social potential develop.
Marshall, J. & Zowghi, D. 2010, 'Software and the Social Production of Disorder', PROCEEDINGS OF THE 2010 IEEE INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY: SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES, International Symposium on Technology-and-Society - Social Implications of Emerging Technologies, IEEE, Univ Wollongong, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA, pp. 284-291.
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Marshall, J. 2010, 'Technology, Disorder and the Ends of Work', Anthropology and the Ends of Worlds - Symposium Online Publication 2010, Anthropology and the Ends of Worlds, Sydney University Anthropology Department, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-18.
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Originally technology was to end work and produce leisure, nowadays technology seems devoted to the ends of work, to furthering the spread and demands of work. However, in extending and intensifying the orders of work, technology disrupts those orders. As a result many peopleâs lives are embedded in confusion and uncertainty; they hope that technology will free them, but fear it will enslave them or lead them to disaster. Recognising these disjunctions should influence the ways we approach and analyse the âinformation societyâ.
Marshall, J. 2006, 'Problems of online ethnography', Internet Mediated Sociality, ANU.
Marshall, J. 2006, 'Information Technology, Disruption and Disorder: Australian Customs and IT', Seventh Association of Internet Researchers Conference, Brisbane.
Marshall, J. 2005, 'David Hume and the Imagining of Culture', Cultural Studies Association of Australian Annual Conference: CultureFix, UTS, UTS, pp. 00-00.
Marshall, J. 2005, 'cyborg governance', CongressCATH 2005, University of Leeds UK.
Marshall, J. 2005, 'Empire or cyborg governance: divining the physiognomy of systemic power', Hawaii International Conference on Social Sciences, Hawaii.
Marshall, J. 2004, 'Governance, Structure and Existence: Authenticity, Rhetoric, Race and Gender', The Australian Electronic Governance Conference 2004, Australian Electronic Governance Conference, Centre for Public Policy Iniversity of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1-33.
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Marshall, J. 2002, 'Communications and Conflict', Networks of Excellence, Waikato Institute of Technology & Power Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, pp. 15-15.

Journal articles

Marshall, J.P. & da Rimini, F. 2015, 'Playstation, Demonoid and the orders and disorders of Pirarchy', Krisis: Journal for contemporary philosophy, vol. 2015, no. 1, pp. 8-21.
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This paper explores the disorganised political order ('pirarchy') generated by so-called digital pirates, arguing that pirarchy appears in swarms. Swarms are not necessarily revolutionary, but they can be disruptive. They are a social formation, growing out of reaction to, and enabled within, the systems of information capitalism, which do not form a harmonious, self-reinforcing whole.
Marshall, J.P. 2015, 'Plato and Gorgias walk into a Symposium', Transnational Literature, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 1-14.
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A 'platonic' dialogue in which Plato and Gorgias (and later Aristophanes) dispute about the nature of literature and the importance of disorder for a proper conception of life.
Marshall, J.P. & Notley, T. 2014, 'Communication technology and social life: Transformation and continuity, order and disorder', The Australian Journal of Anthropology, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 127-137.
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Marshall, J.P. 2014, 'The social (dis)organisation of software: Failure and disorder in information society', The Australian Journal of Anthropology, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 190-206.
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Marshall, J. & Goodman, J. 2013, 'Disordering Network Theory: An Introduction', Global Networks a Journal of Transnational Affairs, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 279-289.
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Whereas theories of the information society/network society tend to regard networks as generally resilient and adaptable, the articles in this special issue treat disorder as inherently important in social theory and in the analysis of networks. By takin
Goodman, J. & Marshall, J.P. 2013, 'Crisis, Movement and Management in Contemporary Globalisations', Globalizations, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 343-353.
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Globalised neoliberalism has produced multiple crises, social, ecological, political. In the past, crises of global order have generated large-scale social transformations, and the current crises likewise hold a transformative promise. Elite strategies, framed as crisis management, seek to exploit crisis for deepened neoliberalism. The failure of elite policy to address the causes of crisis creates new forms of politicisation. Social movements become a crucial barometer, in signalling both the demise and rise of political formations and programs. Experiments in movement strategy gain greater significance, as do contending elite efforts at repressing, managing, or displacing the fall-out. In this Special Issue we investigate both management and movements in the face of crisis, taking crisis and unanticipated consequences as a normal state of play. The issue enquires into the winners and losers from crisis, and investigates the movement-management nexus as it unfolds in particular localities as well as in broader contexts. The Special Issue deals with pressing conflicts, and produces a range of theoretical insights: the ubiquity of crisis is seen as not only a hallmark of social life, but a way into a different kind of social analysis. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Marshall, J. 2013, 'The Mess of Information and the Order of Doubt', Global Media Journal Australian Edition, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 1-11.
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The failure of news media to adequately report `accurate' information is frequently noted. However, information seems widely distorted in other situations as well, and it may not be possible to explain this distortion fully by factors such as inevitable reinterpretation, or political and pro-corporate propaganda. This paper argues that magnified distortion and inaccuracy can be traced to fundamental factors within the `information society itself, such as `information overload and `information-grouping. In this society, doubt becomes a political tool with which our sense of status quo, meaning, group membership and personal identity is defended when under threat. Doubt is an ongoing part of informations reception in the `information society and helps filter what I call `information mess. The paper elaborates some `information mess principles (IMPs), to explain these features.
Marshall, J. 2013, 'Communication Failure and the Financial Crisis', Globalisations, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 367-381.
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The financial crisis is, amongst other things, a crisis in information. Bad information and bad models became the basis for toxic financial products, bought on faith. This paper argues that the crisis in information begins in the networked corporate workplace, in the structures and drivers of management, and the building of workplace conformity through worker insecurity. This guarantees an environment in which information inaccuracy is normalised. The paper primarily looks at a series of blog posts about peoples experiences in work setting and the world of financial capital, during the financial crisis which began in 2008. The supposed rationality of capitalism and capitalists desire for control over markets, is undermined by its own uncontrolled and computerised extension. Disorder in information is shown to be a normal part of managerial dynamics. People can realise and be affected by these problems without necessarily seeming to be motivated to act against them.
Marshall, J. 2013, 'The information society: permanent crisis through the (dis)ordering of networks', GLOBAL NETWORKS A JOURNAL OF TRANSNATIONAL AFFAIRS, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 290-309.
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People often assume that computerized networks are relatively stable and well connected. This implies that the network society, or information society, is also relatively stable, well ordered and adaptive. However, computer software and networks repeatedly fail or prove inadequate, so we cannot assume that network society is stable. Similarly, misinformation is as expected and socially important as information. By taking this disorder seriously, it becomes possible to observe data that paradigms that primarily seek order exclude and to reveal some of the fundamental paradoxes of the information society that simultaneously both undermine and establish that society. By means of these informational paradoxes, I consider and elucidate some network and software failures from January 2011
Marshall, J. 2012, 'Information Technology and the Experience of Disorder', Cultural Studies Review, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 281-309.
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nformation and communication technology (ICT) is a prime modality of ordering in the contemporary world. However, order creates and needs its own disorder, and ICT has a long record of failing to deliver on its promises and creating the experience of disorder. This paper looks at the myths of ordering around ICT and then looks at people's experiences of ICT disorder. In particular it looks at three factors: the informal networks that develop because of problems with ICT and with ICT help; the failure of management and communication in hierarchy and finally the failure of requirements engineering to live up to its promise. This focus on disorder may suggest a new way of approaching the so-called `Information Society.
Marshall, J. 2011, 'The New World System and Worldview: Review of Richard E. Lee Knowledge Matters: The Structures of Knowledge and the Crisis of the Modern World System', Cultural Studies Review, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 406-410.
http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/csrj/article/viewFile/2307/2498 Compares World Systems Theory with Disorder theory
Marshall, J. 2011, 'Climate Change, Copenhagen and Psycho-social Disorder', Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 1-23.
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After the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change we need to approach analysis of the processes of negotiations and social action in a different way. In particular ideas of justice do not provide an adequate framework for dealing with the problem. This paper explores climate change and the sense of disorder it encapsulates, particularly focusing on the Copenhagen Conference but, at the daily life level, also looking at the disorder present in attempts to edit a book on climate change. Contemporary life is driven by, and conducted within, fragile and messy networks. In terms of politics it may be useful to listen to this disorder with care, rather than prematurely rush to a preconceived mode of ordering. After the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change we need to approach analysis of the processes of negotiations and social action in a different way. In particular ideas of justice do not provide an adequate framework for dealing with the problem. This paper explores climate change and the sense of disorder it encapsulates, particularly focusing on the Copenhagen Conference but, at the daily life level, also looking at the disorder present in attempts to edit a book on climate change. Contemporary life is driven by, and conducted within, fragile and messy networks. In terms of politics it may be useful to listen to this disorder with care, rather than prematurely rush to a preconceived mode of ordering.
Marshall, J. 2011, 'Climate change movements and psycho-social disorder', The Australian Journal of Anthropology, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 265-269.
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Marshall, J. 2011, 'Cosmopolitan Sophistry: Grounding Politics in Disorder and Uncertainty', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 197-223.
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Conceptions of the State, Nation and politics, which are actually in play in `the West, usually descend from totalitarian models which are primarily Platonic and monotheistic in origin. They aim for unity, harmony, wholeness, legitimate authority and the rejection of conflict, however much they claim to represent multiplicity. By expressing a vision of order, such models drive an idea of planning by prophecy as opposed to divination, as if the future was certain within limits and the trajectory was smooth. Chaos theory and evolutionary ecology shows us that this conception of both society and the future is inaccurate. I will argue that it is useful to look at the pre-socratic philosophers, in particular the so-called sophists Gorgias and Protagoras and Heraclitus with their sense of ongoing flux, the truth of the moment, and the necessary power of rhetoric in the leading forth of temporary functional consensus within the flux. This ongoing oscillation of conflict provides social movement and life rather than social death.
Marshall, J. 2010, 'Ambiguity, Oscillation and Disorder: Online Ethnography and the Making of Culture', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Jo..., vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 1-22.
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Marshall, J. 2010, 'Social Disorder as a Social Good', Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 21-46.
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In complex systems, disorder and order are interrelated, so that disorder can be an inevitable consequence of ordering. Often this disorder can be disruptive, but sometimes it can be beneficial. Different social groups will argue over what they consider to be disordered, so that naming of something as `disorder is often a political action. However, although people may not agree on what disorder is, almost everyone agrees that it is bad. This primarily theoretical sketch explores the inevitability of disorder arising from ordering systems and argues that a representative democracy has to tolerate disorder so as to function.
Marshall, J. 2009, 'The Physiognomy of Dispersed Power', Leonardo Eelectronic Almanac (LEA), vol. 16, no. 4-5, pp. 1-21.
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The web of post-modern power appears nomadic, elusive and always elsewhere. Like our online presences, it has no obvious boundaries and appears as spirit-like, a magic life haunting the net and the world. Government becomes liminal: 'Liminal identities are neither here nor there, they are betwixt and between the positions assigned by law, custom and ceremonial' to quote Victor Turner. This liminality has changed the balance of power between the corporate and non-corporate sectors, however this does not mean that power is straightforward. When everything is interlinked through information technology then exercises of power may even increase confusion and undermine the bases or legitimacy of that power. Modes of ordering can produce perceived disorder. Knowledge of the system becomes divination and trapped in magic. It is suggested that an awareness of this, and focusing on contradiction, or oscillation is more useful than focusing on simplicity.
Marshall, J. 2007, 'The Mobilisation of Race and Gender on an Internet Mailing List', Transforming Cultures eJournal, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 52-85.
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This paper explores an incident in which race and gender categories were mobilised on the Internet Mailing List Cybermind during an incident of conflict
Marshall, J. 2006, 'Categories, Gender and Online Community', E-learning, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 245-262.
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This article explores issues of authenticity, identity, privacy, power, community, and gender as they occur in online spaces. Using the Cybermind mailing list as a case study, Marchall highlights how gender is used as a category in online spaces, and what effect this has had on the community, including in offline, 'in the flesh' meetings. He also demonstrates that offline markers of identity cannot help but be significant in the online world.
Marshall, J. 2006, 'Negri, Hardt, Distributed Governance and Open Source Software', Portal : Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1-25.
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Marshall, J. 2006, 'Apparitions, Ghosts, Fairies, Demons and Wild Events: Virtuality in Early Modern Britain', Journal for the Academic Study of Magic, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 141-171.
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Marshall, J. 2006, 'Review of Margaret Smith: Stelarc the Monograph', Media International Australia, vol. 121, pp. 219-221.
Marshall, J. 2005, 'Review of Roy Willis and Patrick Curry. Astrology, Science and Culture: Pulling Down the Moon', The Australian Journal of Anthropology, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 277-279.
book review
Marshall, J. 2004, 'The Online Body Breaks Out? Asence, Ghosts, Cyborg, Gender, Polarity and Politics', Fibreculture, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 1-21.
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Representations of the online body seem constantly involved with issues of imprecise, crossed or broken boundaries. Online boundaries, both personal and group, appear especially fluid when contrasted with moves towards establishing impermeable boundaries offline. This contributes to perceptions of disembodiment or potential unity with machines. Online bodies are thus described in terms reminiscent of other constructs such as ghosts partly because experiences of materiality can be described in terms of boundary issues, and partly because it is difficult to bring offline bodies to bear. From another angle, gender, when constructed as a polarity, also serves to ghost experience. However, online bodies are also connected to constructions and feelings of offline bodies to reduce ambiguities and to establish authenticity online. For example, mood, as sustained by the offline body, acts as a framing for communication in netsex, mourning and flame. Another popular body metaphor in this context involves the description of people as cyborgs. It is sometimes claimed that cyborgs form radical hybrid entities. Yet cyborgs also get caught in boundary issues. The cyborg is, for example, caught in narratives that further capitalist technopower, whatever our intentions. The situation becomes even more complex when we consider that both the ghostly body and the cyborg body are often contrasted with a virile and active offline body. This provides a further set of paradoxes if we consider the possibility of online action affecting the offline world. There are no easy answers.
Marshall, J. 2003, 'The Sexual Life of Cyber-Savants', The Australian Journal of Anthropology, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 229-248.
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Marshall, J. 2003, 'Internet Politics in an Information Economy', Fibreculture Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-20.
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Marshall, J. 2003, 'Resistances of Gender', M/C Journal, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 1-4.
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Marshall, J. 2003, ''Review of Alice Beck Kehoe: Shamans and Religion'', The Australian Journal of Anthropology (TAJA), vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 425-426.
Marshall, J. 2003, 'Review of Daniel Miller and Don Slater: The Internet an Ethnographic approach', The Australian Journal of Anthropology, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 432-434.
Marshall, J. 2002, 'Reading Paul McHugh: Politics, Psychiatry and the Response to Terror', Perspectives on Evil and Human Wickedness, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 92-98.
Paul McHugh, a leading figure in American Psychiatry, was Henry Phipps Professor of Psychiatry and director of the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has been given extremely enthusiastic eulogies from admiring former students. He was able to found an endowed chair named after himself, with "contributions from admiring colleagues, friends and former patients" (Duffy). The author of The Perspectives of Psychiatry, a standard text book in Psychiatry, he has been appointed to President Bush?s Bioethics committee. This is a man whose commitment to psychiatry and its public place at the turn of the current century is assured and significant. Therefore when he writes on terrorism and the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in a piece which is widely syndicated, his thoughts cannot be ignored. We can expect that these arguments might well carry significant weight in Washington, especially as they appear to be so in favour of the Government?s stance.
Marshall, J. 2001, 'Cyberspace or Cybertopos: The creation of online space', Social Analysis, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 81-102.