We humans are thinking, speaking creatures, with a theoretically limitless capacity to analyse the world around us, and, if we are lucky, to also make sense of our own internal worlds. Under informational capitalism an elite class of 'thought robbers' exploit our mental and affective capacities. We, and especially the untenured 'we', the indy intellectual 'we', or the cultural activist 'we', toil at our texts only to perhaps then witness them being padlocked inside hierarchies of knowledge which we cannot afford to access. The 'University Inc.' or 'edu-factory' and its co-dependent sibling, academic publishing, siphon the worst qualities of managerialism and profiteering to support systemised structures of knowledge enclosures. In response, the cognitariat have started to rebel. In 2012 a mathematician blogged the withdrawal of his labour from the Elsevier academic behemoth. His stance triggered worldwide solidarity. While the unfolding narrative of grassroots mobilisation resonates with the official, overly earnest Open Access movement, it seems to hold more anarchic possibilities for the cooperative creation of unfettered systems of production and exchange of knowledge.
No one who suggests to do work under the title Fields should be surprised if it turns out to be fertile. Or maybe even too fertile, where the naming of the one concept, field, generates a multiplicity of connections with other things nearby, fields, whose interconnections can be thought of as pathways, channels, tracks, boundaries, trees-structures, rhizomes, lines of flight, trajectories, networks ...
What is often called ‘digital piracy’ is nowadays a mundane and everyday activity. 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 which is implicit within contemporary life, which we will call ‘pirarchy’.
The attached chapter entitled ‘Piracy is Normal, Piracy is Boring: systemic disruption as everyday life’ by Francesca da Rimini and Jonathan Marshall was written for the book Piracy: Leakages from Modernity edited by Martin Fredriksson and James Arvanitakis (Litwin Press, USA, forthcoming 2012, http://litwinbooks.com/piracy.php).