Geert Lovink: A Pioneer in Internet Studies

Geert Lovink, a Dutch media theorist and internet critic, has been a significant figure in Internet Studies. Lovink is the founding director of the Institute of Network Cultures, an organisation dedicated to exploring, documenting, and fostering the potential for socioeconomic change within the new media field. His work has been instrumental in shaping the critical understanding of the web, and was a researcher at the Faculty of Digital Media and Creative Industries at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam (HvA) since 2004.

A critical approach to internet culture has characterised Lovink’s work. He has been one of the critical theorists behind the concept of tactical media, which involves using media technologies to make critical theory artistic. His work has also focused on the mental states of internet users, as recorded in his books “Sad by Design” and “Stuck on the Platform”. One of Lovink’s essential works is “Dynamics of Critical Internet Culture (1994–2001)”, which comprehensively analyses the fast-growing body of work in Internet research. This work investigates the actual practice of the Internet and deals with the complex relationship between the Internet and society.

In 2022, Lovink delivered an inaugural lecture titled “Extinction Internet” as Professor of Art and Network Cultures at the University of Amsterdam. In this lecture, Lovink argued that the Internet is headed for a point of no return and that Big Tech is probably already aware of this. He suggested that the Internet cannot be fixed and that people will begin to shun technology as the psychological costs outweigh the benefits. Lovink’s work has influenced critical discussions about how digital media, new media industries, and business fads relate to existing social, political, and economic contexts. His work has been characterised by a willingness to cut through cliches, cynicism, and hype and to look at internet culture in all its messy, contradictory reality.

Geert Lovink has made significant contributions to Internet Studies. His work has been characterised by a critical approach to Internet culture, a focus on the mental states of Internet users, and a willingness to challenge and question the status quo. His seminal work “Dynamics of Critical Internet Culture (1994–2001)” and his recent lecture “Extinction Internet” are a testament to his influential role in shaping the field of Internet Studies.

The lecture can be found (here).



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