Born Political: A Dispositive Analysis of Google and Copyright

Glen Whelan

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

230 Downloads (Pure)


Google is a complex and complicated political beast with a significant, and often confusing, interest, in copyright matters. On one hand, for example, Google is widely accused of profiting from piracy. On the other, Google routinely complies with what is rapidly approaching a billion copyright takedown requests annually. In the present article, Foucault, neo-Gramscians, and Deleuze and Guattari are utilized to help construct a 32 dispositive analysis framework that overlaps three dispositive modalities (law, ethical, utilitarian) and perspectives (apparatus, articulation, assemblage). In applying the framework to the Google–copyright relationship, the article shows how Google was "born political": in that it was, and still is, disposed by an apparatus comprised of copyright laws, Silicon Valley culture, and broad advances in digitization. Moreover, the article shows how Google continuously acts where "politics is born": as it significantly shapes copyright considerations by disposing of (non-)human and organizational phenomena through articulations and assemblages
Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness & Society
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)42-73
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Copyright
  • Dispositive
  • Foucault
  • Google
  • Politics

Cite this