Ned Rossiter – Software, Infrastructure, Labor: A Media Theory of Logistical Nightmares


Routledge, ISBN-13: 978-0415843058, English, 220 pages, 2016, USA

The most popular theoretical investigations in this second half of the 2010s are mostly tied up with our closest devices (smartphones) and their most used software (social media), untangling our new media bubbles. What we’re often missing, beyond the viral passing around of international news on social media, is the big picture and especially the strategic role of software infrastructures. Ned Rossiter provides help with this book. He’s a significant researcher with a long term interest in logistics. Here he articulates an account of software infrastructures’ impact and development, working from a few key cases respectively placed in China, India, Australia, Europe and South America. It’s an outstanding and revealing analysis of how “algorithmic architectures govern much of labour and life”, ranging from containers to students moving to acquire their expensive higher education. His theoretical mapping of the dynamics involves a collective research discussing and locating the logic of global software systems (like the renowned SAP). This logic is completely abstracting territoriality, overcoming it with a lighter and speedier capitalist-driven level of organisation. Rossiter unfolds this level, unveiling unavoidable consequences, including the strategies, alliances and technologies involved. The endlessly orchestrated flows of people and goods can then be understood, realising their sheer importance for the economy and their unavoidability for material and immaterial capital.