Algorithms are a form of productive power – so how may we conceptualise the newly merged terrains of social life, economy and self in a world of digital platforms? How do multiple self-quantifying practices interact with questions of class, race and gender? This collection considers algorithms at work, alongside black box control, platform society theory and the formation of subjectivities.Book Details
‘With clarity and sophistication, Antonios Broumas presents a bold new theory of intellectual commons and powerful arguments for a new body of supportive law. This book not only reveals the misleading logic of intellectual property law in our time; it reveals the rich possibilities for constructive change that legally protected commoning can bring. Highly recommended!’ — David Bollier, Director, Reinventing the Commons Program, Schumacher Center for a New Economics.
‘Liberating the Intellectual Commons from the fetters of capital accumulation and appropriation, would give us a renaissance of creative energies and empowered communities: exactly what the world needs to move away from the social and ecological devastations of our times. This book is a thoughtful and compelling argument for making this possible through the works of the law and the redesign of public domain as a common space.’ — Massimo De Angelis, Professor of Political Economy and Social Change, Co-director of the Centre for Social Justice and Change, University of East London.
‘In this pioneering book, Antonios Broumas argues that philosophically, morally, politically and economically we are in urgent need of a new legal regime that recognizes the intellectual commons, peer production and sharing as the primary practices of intellectual production, distribution and consumption. I cannot imagine a more urgent task today. A legally protected intellectual commons will lead to greater scientific and cultural innovation and creativity and will lead to an urgently needed second Enlightenment. This book should be read by lawyers, critical theorists, economists and the many professionals of science, culture and the academy.’ — Costas Douzinas, Professor of Law, Birkbeck, University of London.
‘Antonios Broumas’ book is an excellent critical analysis of the cultural commons and a must-read for everyone interested in understanding what the commons, the cultural commons, and the digital commons are all about. This work brilliantly outlines the foundations of an empirically grounded critical theory of the commons and the cultural commons in the context of the interactions of law and society.’ — Christian Fuchs, Professor of Media and Communication Studies, author of Communication and Capitalism: A Critical Theory (2020).
‘Broumas takes us on a spellbinding tour of how and why the law could and should change to accommodate the creative multitude, which engages into an emerging mode of production. He tells a vibrant story that makes us shout: “Lawmakers of the world, unite!”’ — Vasilis Kostakis, Professor of P2P Governance, Tallinn University of Technology, Faculty Associate at Harvard Law School.
At the cutting edge of contemporary wealth creation people form self-governed communities of collaborative innovation in conditions of relative equipotency and produce resources with free access to all. The emergent intellectual commons have the potential to commonify intellectual production and distribution, unleash human creativity through collaboration and democratise innovation with wider positive effects for our societies. Contemporary intellectual property laws fail to address this potential. We are, therefore, in pressing need of an institutional alternative beyond the inherent limitations of intellectual property law. This book offers an overall analysis of the moral significance of the intellectual commons and outlines appropriate modes for their regulation. Its principal thesis is that our legal systems are in need of an independent body of law for the protection and promotion of the intellectual commons, in parallel to intellectual property law. In this context, the author of the book proposes the reconstruction of the doctrine of the public domain and the exceptions and limitations of exclusive intellectual property rights into an intellectual commons law, which will underpin a vibrant non-commercial zone of creativity and innovation in intellectual production, distribution and consumption alongside commodity markets enabled by intellectual property law.Book Details
This book explores the potential creation of a broader collaborative economy through commons-based peer production (P2P) and the emergent role of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The book seeks to critically engage in the political discussion of commons-based peer production, which can be classified into three basic arguments: the liberal, the reformist and the anti-capitalist. This book categorises the liberal argument as being in favour of the coexistence of the commons with the market and the state. Reformists, on the other hand, advocate for the gradual adjustment of the state and of capitalism to the commons, while anti-capitalists situate the commons against capitalism and the state. By discussing these three viewpoints, the book contributes to contemporary debates concerning the future of commons-based peer production.
Further, the author argues that for the commons to become a fully operational mode of peer production, it needs to reach critical mass arguing that the liberal argument underestimates the reformist insight that technology has the potential to decentralise production, thereby forcing capitalism to transition to post-capitalism. Surveying the three main strands of commons-based peer production, this book makes the case for a post-capitalist commons-orientated transition that moves beyond neoliberalism.Book Details
‘An authoritative analysis of the role of communication in contemporary capitalism and an important contribution to debates about the forms of domination and potentials for liberation in today’s capitalist society.’ — Professor Michael Hardt, Duke University, co-author of the tetralogy Empire, Commonwealth, Multitude, and Assembly
‘A comprehensive approach to understanding and transcending the deepening crisis of communicative capitalism. It is a major work of synthesis and essential reading for anyone wanting to know what critical analysis is and why we need it now more than ever.’ — Professor Graham Murdock, Emeritus Professor, University of Loughborough and co-editor of The Handbook of Political Economy of Communications
Communication and Capitalism outlines foundations of a critical theory of communication. Going beyond Jürgen Habermas’ theory of communicative action, Christian Fuchs outlines a communicative materialism that is a critical, dialectical, humanist approach to theorising communication in society and in capitalism. The book renews Marxist Humanism as a critical theory perspective on communication and society.
The author theorises communication and society by engaging with the dialectic, materialism, society, work, labour, technology, the means of communication as means of production, capitalism, class, the public sphere, alienation, ideology, nationalism, racism, authoritarianism, fascism, patriarchy, globalisation, the new imperialism, the commons, love, death, metaphysics, religion, critique, social and class struggles, praxis, and socialism.
Fuchs renews the engagement with the questions of what it means to be a human and a humanist today and what dangers humanity faces today.Book Details
Not since Marx identified the manufacturing plants of Manchester as the blueprint for the new capitalist society has there been a more profound transformation of the fundamentals of our social life. As capitalism faces a series of structural crises, a new social, political and economic dynamic is emerging: peer to peer.
What is peer to peer? Why is it essential for building a commons-centric future? How could this happen? These are the questions this book tries to answer. Peer to peer is a type of social relations in human networks, as well as a technological infrastructure that makes the generalization and scaling up of such relations possible. Thus, peer to peer enables a new mode of production and creates the potential for a transition to a commons-oriented economy.Book Details
This volume explores activism, research and critique in the age of digital subjects and objects and Big Data capitalism after a digital turn said to have radically transformed our political futures. Optimists assert that the ‘digital’ promises: new forms of community and ways of knowing and sensing, innovation, participatory culture, networked activism, and distributed democracy. Pessimists argue that digital technologies have extended domination via new forms of control, networked authoritarianism and exploitation, dehumanization and the surveillance society. Leading international scholars present varied interdisciplinary assessments of such claims – in theory and via dialogue – and of the digital’s impact on society and the potentials, pitfalls, limits and ideologies, of digital activism. They reflect on whether computational social science, digital humanities and ubiquitous datafication lead to digital positivism that threatens critical research or lead to new horizons in theory and society.Book Details
After President Trump’s election, BREXIT and the widespread rise of far-Right political parties, much public discussion has intensely focused on populism and authoritarianism. In the middle of the twentieth century, members of the early Frankfurt School prolifically studied and theorized fascism and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States. In this volume, leading European and American scholars apply insights from the early Frankfurt School to present-day authoritarian populism, including the Trump phenomenon and related developments across the globe. Chapters are arranged into three sections exploring different aspects of the topic: theories, historical foundations, and manifestations via social media. Contributions examine the vital political, psychological and anthropological theories of early Frankfurt School thinkers, and how their insights could be applied now amidst the insecurities and confusions of twenty-first century life. The many theorists considered include Adorno, Fromm, Löwenthal and Marcuse, alongside analysis of Austrian Facebook pages and Trump’s tweets and operatic media drama. This book is a major contribution towards deeper understanding of populism’s resurgence in the age of digital capitalism.Book Details
What is ‘social capital’? The enormous positivity surrounding it conceals the instrumental economic rationality underpinning the notion as corporations silently sell consumer data for profit. Status chasing is just one aspect of a process of transforming qualitative aspects of social interactions into quantifiable metrics for easier processing, prediction, and behavioural shaping.
A work of critical media studies, Social Capital Online examines the idea within the new ‘network spectacle’ of digital capitalism via the ideas of Marx, Veblen, Debord, Baudrillard and Deleuze. Explaining how such phenomena as online narcissism and aggression arise, Faucher offers a new theoretical understanding of how the spectacularisation of online activity perfectly aligns with the value system of neoliberalism and its data worship. Even so, at the centre of all, lie familiar ideas – alienation and accumulation – new conceptions of which he argues are vital for understanding today’s digital society.Book Details
Knowledge in the Age of Digital Capitalism proposes a new critical theory concerning the functioning of capitalism and how we consider knowledge and information. This ambitious book systematically and lucidly introduces contemporary phenomena into the framework of cognitive materialism to address some of the great themes of the social sciences: knowledge, exploitation and social class in an account of capitalism's totality in the present day. Author Mariano Zukerfeld reinvigorates materialist study of communications, presenting a typology of knowledge to explain the underlying material forms of information, intellectual property and cognitive work in contemporary societies. Using current examples the book also examines concerns such as free labour and the pivotal role of intellectual property. The book offers nothing less than an introduction to the theory of cognitive materialism and an account of the entirety of the digital (or knowledge) capitalism of our time.Book Details