From: Alexander Galloway
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 15:12:17 -0400
On Apr 19, 2006, at 8:38 PM, Brian Holmes wrote:
> quit saying a network is this, a network is that.
there is a long, fruitful history of people doing just that. so perhaps this thread suffers not from a desire to define the term, but from a lack of specificity in our vocabulary.
a brief, unorganized survey might help:
centralized network--a single hub connected to multiple peripheral nodes; little to no interconnection between nodes.
examples: web server, software security updates, the panopticon prison, sovereign (royal) fiat, LAN router, pyramidal hierarchy
decentralized network--multiple hubs, each with their own sets of peripheral nodes; hubs are connected to other hubs.
related concept: scale-free network (Barab=E1si)
examples: Domain Name System (DNS), airline transportation routes, municipal governments
distributed network--a flat mesh in which there is no distinction between hubs and peripheral nodes (Baran)
related concept: rhizome (Deleuze and Guattari)
related concept: random network, a network having a random distribution of links (Barab=E1si).
examples: TCP/IP, peer-to-peer, national highway systems
chain network--a linear input/output transfer system
examples: smuggler trade routes, IP routing
all-channel network--a star in which every node is connected to every other node
examples: Ethernet, kin groups, collectives
(note, this list only approaches the topological/structural qualities of networks. we would have to supplement the list greatly if we wish to address the topic of network actors [example: the nomad, the virus] and/or networked tactics of struggle [example: swarming, exploits, nonexistence].)
we can and should say what networks are. otherwise networks sink into the landscape as inscrutable, natural forms. such is the trick of power.
Albert-L=E1szl=F3 Barab=E1si, "Linked" (2002)
Paul Baran, "On Distributed Communications" (1964)
Gilles Deleuze and F=E9lix Guattari, "A Thousand Plateaus" (1980)