“The digital now thoroughly saturates our everyday lives to the point where it seems we are drowning. But is it possible to swim on our terms? This book thoughtfully examines this question, critically teasing apart the structures of power that permeate digital relations and charting pathways to a more just digital world. Essential reading for those who want to move beyond personal digital detoxes to challenge and transform our digital society and economy.” - Professor Rob Kitchin, author of The Data Revolution and Data Lives
“The seductions of tech have ushered in the encroachment of technological solutions into policing, law enforcement and ever-widening systems of social regulation across the UK and Europe. This book marks a critical intervention – by conceptualising our understanding of the ways in which data and digital harms are systemically expended against the powerless. It is a must read for those of us who are concerned to resist the (digital) exclusion of the marginalised, and the (digital) banishment of the vulnerable.” - Dr Patrick Williams, author of Data-Driven Policing: The Hardwiring of Discriminatory Policing Practices Across Europe
“While imaginaries of techno futures constructed by the Digital Lords of contemporary societies become self-fulfilling prophecies, we struggle to imagine a present and future free from digital coercion and exclusion. In their powerful interdisciplinary analysis, Adi Kuntsman and Esperanza Miyake delve into the personal, social, political and environmental costs of compulsory digitality. Rejecting a self-defeating naturalisation of digitality and digital inevitability Paradoxes of Digital Disengagement compellingly shows how collective digital justice is imperative in this future/present where the machine rules and people can become marginalized and excluded. A much-needed scholarly intervention that can inspire our collective thinking, research and praxis.” - Dr Benedetta Brevini, author of Is AI Good for the Planet?
“Kuntsman and Miyake have written an engaging book. It offers a readable critique of enforced digitality and broadens the scope of disconnection studies. The detailed analyses of complicated documents are elegantly structured and thought-provoking.” - https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2022/11/16/book-review-paradoxes-of-digital-disengagement-in-search-of-the-opt-out-button-by-adi-kuntsman-and-esperanza-miyake/
Life is increasingly governed and mediated through digital and smart technologies, platforms, big data and algorithms. However, the reasons, practices and impact of how the digital is used by different institutions are often deeply linked to social oppression and injustice. Similarly, the ability to resist these digital impositions is based on inequality and privilege. Challenging the ways in which we are increasingly dependent on the digital, this book raises a set of provocative and urgent questions: in a world of compulsory digitality is there an opt out button? Where, when, how, why and to whom is it available? Answering these questions has become even more relevant since the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the book puts forward the concept of ‘digital disengagement’ which is explored across six key areas of digitisation: health; citizenship; education; consumer culture; labour; and the environment.
Part I examines the difficulty of opting out of compulsory digitality in a world where most things are digital by default. From health apps, algorithmic decision-making to learning analytics, opting out comes with a set of troubling consequences. Part II turns to several examples of disconnection and disengagement. The chapters reveal how phenomena like digital detoxes, time-management apps and online ‘green’ spaces are co-opted by the very digital systems one is trying to resist.
The book critiques issues relating to digital surveillance, algorithmic discrimination and biased tech, corporatisation and monetisation of data, exploitative digital labour, digitalised self-discipline and destruction of the environment. As an interdisciplinary piece of work, the book will be useful to any scholar and activist in Digital, Internet and Social Media Studies; Digital Sociology and Social Policy; Digital Health; Media, Popular and Communication Studies; Consumer culture; and Environment Studies.
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Professor Trine Syvertsen
In Paradoxes of Digital Disengagement: In Search of the Opt-Out Button – available open access from University of Westminster Press – Adi Kuntsman and Esperanza Miyake explore digital disconnection across fields including health, the welfare syste...
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Kuntsman A. & Miyake E. 2022. Paradoxes of Digital Disengagement: In Search of the Opt-Out Button. London: University of Westminster Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/book61
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Published on Oct. 4, 2022