"[A] 'networked power,' a new form of sovereignty, is now emerging, and it includes as its primary elements, or nodes , the dominant nation-states along with supranational institutions, major capitalist corporations, and other powers." (p. xii)


The successes and shortcomings of this text can be traced to the authors' use of a wide variety of theorists. The impetus for the book comes from John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt’s short post-9/11 essay, “Fight Networks with Networks.” Arquilla and Ronfeldt claim that the United States only has a marginal advantage over networks like al-Qaeda, at the levels of narrative and technology. Otherwise, al-Qaeda “seems to hold advantages at the organizational, doctrinal, and social levels.” Foucault informs the authors’ structural accounting of biopolitics while Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt help to bring their argument into the contemporary political environment of a networked “empire.”

But overall, it is Deleuze and Guatarri who help Thacker and Galloway promote their networked vision that spans both conceptual and material fields. Borrowing such concepts as the “dividual,” the “swarm,” and the “assemblage,” they develop a means of “thinking topologically” that “compares the abstract spaces of different structural or architectonic systems” (p. 13). By “thinking topologically,” the authors account for both pyramidal structures of social organization and the not-as-apparently-hierarchical distributed network structures that nevertheless deliver control (albeit in new ways elaborated in the “Nodes” section). The authors’ use of Deleuze and Guatarri pushes their claims into the realm of what has been frequently called the “posthuman,” where the agency of the subject is de-emphasized. Galloway and Thacker’s emphasis on the posthuman (or more accurately, the non-human), arguably takes their critique into the realm of material expressivity and the nodal relationship humans share with this material ecology while drifting further away from the more subject-centered concept of ideology.