“Recuperation” is a semi-political machination that I find incredibly interesting, and is a common thought throughout a lot of the books I read back in university. It is also a fleeting thought that all those numerous books could never quite explain. In some regards, it is the antipode to mass media control: a systematically necessary, though not-exactly-opposite, part of the process. Simply put, if we assume that most media systems are closed or self-sustaining, what are the possible means by which these highly selective systems eventually turn to new perspectives or material? And more importantly, what pressures does that put on the new content in order to adapt itself to the new situation, appropriately or not?
Unfortunately, material on this topic is very hard to find. Before I learned of a possible label to this process from some anarchist writers, I called it “cultural capture” in the same way that specific governmental regulatory agencies had to deal with “regulatory capture.” Even the anarchist term is rather new, only first given name back in 02001. Making matters more curious is that there are similar terms like détournement, which differ from recuperation in that recuperation is largely a one-way, irreversible process. The evasiveness of this topic, entirely noted by its je-ne-sais-quoi quality, makes it hard thing to search for in the academic catalogues I have access to.