Professor of Urban Studies Maroš Krivý has published “Digital ecosystem: The journey of a metaphor” in Digital Geography and Society.
The article engages with the history of the idea of the digital ecosystem to reveal the ideological work of representing economy, technology and the urban everyday as ecological systems. Krivý finds that the by now ubiquitous metaphor prioritizes the imperative of adapting to, and downplays the possibility of challenging, the erratic digital capitalism which shapes our lives.
The article focuses on the metaphor’s history and present use in the context of digital capitalism to examine what it enables, marginalizes and ignores. A key opportunity for the materialist analysis of language, according to cultural theorist McKenzie Wark is to “trace metaphor back to the process of its production” (2015: 125). It is shown that the journey of “digital ecosystem” is marked by a series of transmutations between the natural and technical contexts.