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2 - Legal Orders and Social Performance

Founding Facebook

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 June 2021

Laura R. Ford
Affiliation:
Bard College, New York
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Summary

This chapter establishes a basis for the book's meta-narrative in a present-day context, highlighting the importance of intellectual property - particularly patents - for the foundation of Facebook. The chapter emphasizes the weaving together of formality and substantive rationality in contemporary patents, which are theorized as instruments of legal power. By showing how patents were important in the founding of Facebook, the chapter emphasizes the role that instruments of legal power - like patents - can play in linking people together into social groups, classes, and networks. Michael Mann's IEMP model for social power helps us to understand the dynamics of exclusivity, as seen in contemporary intellectual property, particularly in patents.

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Chapter
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The Intellectual Property of Nations
Sociological and Historical Perspectives on a Modern Legal Institution
, pp. 57 - 84
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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