Title Internet Daemons
Subtitle Digital Communications Possessed
Author Fenwick McKelvey
ISBN 9781517901547
List price GBP 20.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 336
Book size 140 x 216 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher University Of Minnesota Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
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“Beneath social media, beneath search, Internet Daemons reveals another layer of algorithms: deeper, burrowed into information networks. Fenwick McKelvey is the best kind of intellectual spelunker, taking us deep into the infrastructure and shining his light on these obscure but vital mechanisms. What he has delivered is a precise and provocative rethinking of how to conceive of power in and among networks.”

—Tarleton Gillespie, author of Custodians of the Internet


Internet Daemons is an original and important contribution to the field of digital media studies. Fenwick McKelvey extensively maps and analyzes how daemons influence data exchanges across Internet infrastructures. This study insightfully demonstrates how daemons are transformative entities that enable particular ways of transferring information and connecting up communication, with significant social and political consequences.”

—Jennifer Gabrys, author of Program Earth


A complete history and theory of internet daemons brings these little-known—but very consequential—programs into the spotlight we’re used to talking about how tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon rule the internet, but what about daemons? Ubiquitous programs that have colonized the Net’s infrastructure—as well as the devices we use to access it—daemons are little known. Fenwick McKelvey weaves together history, theory, and policy to give a full account of where daemons come from and how they influence our lives—including their role in hot-button issues like network neutrality. Going back to Victorian times and the popular thought experiment Maxwell’s Demon, McKelvey charts how daemons evolved from concept to reality, eventually blossoming into the pandaemonium of code-based creatures that today orchestrates our internet. Digging into real-life examples like sluggish connection speeds, Comcast’s efforts to control peer-to-peer networking, and Pirate Bay’s attempts to elude daemonic control (and skirt copyright), McKelvey shows how daemons have been central to the internet, greatly influencing everyday users. Internet Daemons asks important questions about how much control is being handed over to these automated, autonomous programs, and the consequences for transparency and oversight.


Abbreviations and Technical Terms


Chapter 1. The Devil We Know: Maxwell’s Demon, Cyborg Sciences, and Flow Control

Chapter 2. Possessing Infrastructure: Nonsynchronous Communication, IMPs, and Optimization

Chapter 3. IMPs, OLIVERs, and Gateways: Internetworking before the Internet

Chapter 4. Pandaemonium: The Internet as Daemons

Chapter 5. Suffering from Buffering? Affects of Flow Control

Chapter 6. The Disoptimized: The Ambiguous Tactics of the Pirate Bay

Chapter 7. A Crescendo of Online Interactive Debugging? Gamers, Publics and Daemons



Appendix: Internet Measurement and Mediators




About the Author:

Fenwick McKelvey is assistant professor of communication studies at Concordia University.

Target Audience:

People interested in Digital Media Studies.

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