HONG KONG REVIEW OF BOOKS 香港書評

Brian Haman reviews Byung-Chul Han’s Psychopolitics and explores a regime of domination that has discovered the force of the psyche.

Byung-Chul Han,Psychopolitics: Neolibealism and New Technologies of Power, translated by Erik Butler (Verso, 2017), 96 pp.

Big Data has been big news recently. The latest reports suggest that Cambridge Analytica, the British data analytics firm, harvested personal data from over 87 million Facebook users without their consent in order to construct a digital panopticon, which was subsequently used to target American voters with bespoke political advertising during the 2016 presidential election. The advertising content itself was shaped according to the psychological profiles that resulted from the monolithic digital net cast by the company, a practice that it monetizes in order to enable politicians and corporations to influence voter and consumer behaviour. Although Cambridge Analytica’s psychographic profiling was exported to the American market in 2012 and played its part there…

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