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
Life is increasingly governed by digital and smart technologies, platforms, big data and algorithms. Challenging our increasing dependence on the digital, this book raises 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’, explored across six key areas of digitisation: health; citizenship; education; consumer culture; labour; and 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.Book Details
The rise of the Internet is connected to the rise of authoritarianism across the world. As social media dovetails with neoliberalism, psychosocial wounds are provoked and authoritarian reaction is inspired. Yet this new sociality also facilitates new forms of resistance and political mobilisation.Book Details
This book offers critical interrogations of AI and its impact in order to offer analysis of what ‘AI for Everyone’ might mean. It is structured in three parts: ‘AI: Humans vs. Machines’, ‘Discourses and Myths About AI’ and ‘AI Power and Inequalities’. Bringing together scholars from diverse disciplines this book offers a vital intervention on one of the most hyped concepts of our times.Book Details
The Fight Against Platform Capitalism develops a critique of platform capitalism from the perspective of workers and contributes to debates about the future of work, automation and worker organising. As platforms internationalise it presents an alternative portrait focusing on workers’ experience and transnational solidarity.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
This book explores the fundamental contradiction at the heart of the digital environment: technology offers all manner of promises, yet habitually fails to deliver. This failure often arises from numerous problems: the proficiency of the technology or end-user, policy failure at various levels, or a combination of these. Solutions such as better technology and more effective end-user education are often put into place to solve these failures.
Mike Healy argues that such approaches are inherently faulty drawing upon qualitative research informed by Marx’s theory of alienation. Using Marx’s theory, he considers participants in three distinct settings: the workplace of information and communications technology (ICT) professionals; university scholars researching the ethical and societal implications of our digital environment; and a group of pensioners living in South London, UK, undertaking ICT training. By delving beneath the surface of how digital technologies are created, researched and experienced, this study illustrates the contradictory nature of our digital lives, as they directly arise from the needs of capitalism.
The book also places Marx’s theory in contrast to the mainstream approaches derived from Seaman and Blauner. In researching and comprehending ICT, this book reaffirms the superior explanatory power of Marx’s theory of alienation.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
‘The Internet is broken and Paolo Bory knows how we got here. In a powerful book based on original research, Bory carefully documents the myths, imaginaries, and ideologies that shaped the material and cultural history of the Internet. As important as this book is to understand our shattered digital world, it is essential for those who would fix it.’ — Vincent Mosco, author of The Smart City in a Digital World
The Internet Myth retraces and challenges the myth laying at the foundations of the network ideologies – the idea that networks, by themselves, are the main agents of social, economic, political and cultural change. By comparing and integrating different sources related to network histories, this book emphasizes how a dominant narrative has extensively contributed to the construction of the Internet myth while other visions of the networked society have been erased from the collective imaginary. The book decodes, analyzes and challenges the foundations of the network ideologies looking at how networks have been imagined, designed and promoted during the crucial phase of the 1990s.
Three case studies are scrutinized so as to reveal the complexity of network imaginaries in this decade: the birth of the Web and the mythopoesis of its inventor; and the histories of two Italian networking projects, the infrastructural plan Socrate and the civic network Iperbole, the first to give free Internet access to citizens.
The Internet Myth thereby provides a compelling and hidden sociohistorical narrative in order to challenge one of the most powerful myths of our time.Book Details