In the wake of the recent far-reaching changes in the use and accessibility of technology in our society, the average person is far more engaged with digital culture than ever before. They are not merely subject to technological advances but actively use, create, and mold them in everyday routines—connecting with loved ones and strangers through the Internet and smart phones, navigating digital worlds for work and recreation, extracting information from vast networks, and even creating and customizing interfaces to best suit their needs. In this timely work, Mirko Tobias Schäfer delves deep into the realities of user participation, the forms it takes, and the popular discourse around new media. Drawing on extensive research into hacking culture, fan communities, and Web 2.0 applications, Schäfer offers a critical approach to the hype around user participation and exposes the blurred boundaries between industry-driven culture and the domain of the user.
In the twenty-first century, a network society is emerging. Fragmented, visually saturated, characterized by rapid technological change and constant social upheavals, it is dizzying, excessive, and sometimes surreal. In this breathtaking work, Steven Shaviro investigates popular culture, new technologies, political change, and community disruption and concludes that science fiction and social reality have become virtually indistinguishable.
Connected is made up of a series of mini-essays-on cyberpunk, hip-hop, film noir, Web surfing, greed, electronic surveillance, pervasive multimedia, psychedelic drugs, artificial intelligence, evolutionary psychology, and the architecture of Frank Gehry, among other topics. Shaviro argues that our strange new world is increasingly being transformed in ways, and by devices, that seem to come out of the pages of science fiction, even while the world itself is becoming a futuristic landscape. The result is that science fiction provides the most useful social theory, the only form that manages to be as radical as reality itself.
Connected looks at how our networked environment has manifested itself in the work of J. G. Ballard, William S. Burroughs, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, K. W. Jeter, and others. Shaviro focuses on science fiction not only as a form of cultural commentary but also as a prescient forum in which to explore the forces that are morphing our world into a sort of virtual reality game. Original and compelling, Connected shows how the continual experimentation of science fiction, like science and technology themselves, conjures the invisible social and economic forces that surround us.
Reconceptualizes the relationship between participatory democracy, technology, and space.
The Internet has been billed by some proponents as an "electronic agora" ushering in a "new Athenian age of democracy." That assertion assumes that cyberspace's virtual environment is compatible with democratic practice. But the anonymous sociality that is intrinsic to the Internet seems at odds with theories of democracy that presuppose the possibility, at least, of face-to-face meetings among citizens. The Internet, then, raises provocative questions about democratic participation: Must the public sphere exist as a physical space? Does citizenship require a bodily presence?
In Cybering Democracy, Diana Saco boldly reconceptualizes the relationship between democratic participation and spatial realities both actual and virtual. She argues that cyberspace must be viewed as a produced social space, one that fruitfully confounds the ordering conventions of our physical spaces. Within this innovative framework, Saco investigates recent and ongoing debates over cryptography, hacking, privacy, national security, information control, and Internet culture, focusing on how different online practices have shaped this particular social space. In the process, she highlights fundamental issues about the significance of corporeality in the development of civic-mindedness, the exercise of citizenship, and the politics of collective action.
Diana Saco is an independent scholar based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
W. Russell Neuman examines how the transition from the industrial-era media of one-way publishing and broadcasting to the two-way digital era of online search and social media has affected the dynamics of public life. The issues range from propaganda studies and Big Brother to information overload and Internet network neutrality.
In the nineties, neoliberalism simultaneously provided the context for the Internet’s rapid uptake in the United States and discouraged public conversations about racial politics. At the same time many scholars lauded the widespread use of text-driven interfaces as a solution to the problem of racial intolerance. Today’s online world is witnessing text-driven interfaces such as e-mail and instant messaging giving way to far more visually intensive and commercially driven media forms that not only reveal but showcase people’s racial, ethnic, and gender identity.
Lisa Nakamura, a leading scholar in the examination of race in digital media, uses case studies of popular yet rarely examined uses of the Internet such as pregnancy Web sites, instant messaging, and online petitions and quizzes to look at the emergence of race-, ethnic-, and gender-identified visual cultures.
While popular media such as Hollywood cinema continue to depict nonwhite nonmales as passive audiences or consumers of digital media rather than as producers, Nakamura argues the contrary—with examples ranging from Jennifer Lopez music videos; films including the Matrix trilogy, Gattaca, and Minority Report; and online joke sites—that users of color and women use the Internet to vigorously articulate their own types of virtual community, avatar bodies, and racial politics.
Lisa Nakamura is associate professor of speech communication and Asian American studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Cybertypes: Race, Ethnicity, and Identity on the Internet and coeditor, with Beth Kolko and Gilbert Rodman, of Race in Cyberspace.
In the Information Age, information is power. Who produces all that information, how does it move around, who uses it, to what ends, and under what constraints? Who gets that power? And what happens to the people who have no access to it?
Disconnected begins with a striking vignette of two men: One is the thriving manager of a company selling personal computers and computer services. The other is just one among thousands of starving laborers. He has no way to find the information that might help him find a job, he cannot afford newspapers, rarely sees television, cannot understand the dialect of local radio broadcasts, will probably never touch a computer. These two men happen to live in Windhoek, Namibia, but this is not a story about Africa––it is a story that could be repeated almost anywhere in the world, even next door.
With vivid anecdotes and data, William Wresch contrasts the opportunities of the information-rich with the limited prospects of the information-poor. Surveying the range of information––personal, public, organizational, commercial––that has become the currency of exchange in today’s world, he shows how each represents a form of power. He analyzes the barriers that keep people information-poor: geography, tyranny, illiteracy, psychological blinders, “noise,” crime. Technology alone, he demonstrates, is not the answer. Even the technology-rich do not always get access to important information––or recognize its value.
Wresch spells out the grim consequences of information inequity for individuals and society. Yet he ends with reasons for optimism and stories of people who are working to pull down the impediments to the flow of information.
In looking at the remarkable proliferation of democracies since 1974, this volume offers important insight into the challenges and opportunities that democracy faces in the twenty-first century. Distinguished contributors detail difficulties that democracies face from within and how they deal with them. Among the contemporary threats to democracy emanating from internal sources are tensions arising over technology and its uses; ethnic, religious, and racial distinctions; and disparate access to resources, education, and employment. A democratically elected government can behave more or less democratically, even when controlling access to information, using legal authority to aid or intimidate, and applying resources to shape the conditions for the next election. With elections recently disputed in the United States, Mexico, Lebanon, and the Ukraine, debates about the future of democracy are inescapably debates about what kind of democracy is desired.
Contributors are W. Lance Bennett, Bruce Bimber, Jon Fraenkel, Brian J. Gaines, Bernard Grofman, Wayne V. McIntosh, Peter F. Nardulli, Mark Q. Sawyer, Stephen Simon, Paul M. Sniderman, and Jack Snyder.
If economics is about the allocation of resources, then what is the most precious resource in our new information economy? Certainly not information, for we are drowning in it. No, what we are short of is the attention to make sense of that information.
With all the verve and erudition that have established his earlier books as classics, Richard A. Lanham here traces our epochal move from an economy of things and objects to an economy of attention. According to Lanham, the central commodity in our new age of information is not stuff but style, for style is what competes for our attention amidst the din and deluge of new media. In such a world, intellectual property will become more central to the economy than real property, while the arts and letters will grow to be more crucial than engineering, the physical sciences, and indeed economics as conventionally practiced. For Lanham, the arts and letters are the disciplines that study how human attention is allocated and how cultural capital is created and traded. In an economy of attention, style and substance change places. The new attention economy, therefore, will anoint a new set of moguls in the business world—not the CEOs or fund managers of yesteryear, but new masters of attention with a grounding in the humanities and liberal arts.
Lanham’s The Electronic Word was one of the earliest and most influential books on new electronic culture. The Economics of Attention builds on the best insights of that seminal book to map the new frontier that information technologies have created.
With the NASDAQ having lost 70 percent of its value, the giddy, optimistic belief in perpetual growth that accompanied the economic boom of the 1990s had fizzled by 2002. Yet the advances in information and communication technology, management and production techniques, and global integration that spurred the “New Economy” of the 1990s had triggered profound and lasting changes. Frontiers of Capital brings together ethnographies exploring how cultural practices and social relations have been altered by the radical economic and technological innovations of the New Economy. The contributors, most of whom are anthropologists, investigate changes in the practices and interactions of futures traders, Chinese entrepreneurs, residents of French housing projects, women working on Wall Street, cable television programmers, and others.
Some contributors highlight how expedited flows of information allow business professionals to develop new knowledge practices. They analyze dynamics ranging from the decision-making processes of the Federal Reserve Board to the legal maneuvering necessary to buttress a nascent Japanese market in over-the-counter derivatives. Others focus on the social consequences of globalization and new modes of communication, evaluating the introduction of new information technologies into African communities and the collaborative practices of open-source computer programmers. Together the essays suggest that social relations, rather than becoming less relevant in the high-tech age, have become more important than ever. This finding dovetails with the thinking of many corporations, which increasingly employ anthropologists to study and explain the “local” cultural practices of their own workers and consumers. Frontiers of Capital signals the wide-ranging role of anthropology in explaining the social and cultural contours of the New Economy.
Contributors. Jean Comaroff, John L. Comaroff, Greg Downey, Melissa S. Fisher, Douglas R. Holmes, George E. Marcus, Siobhán O’Mahony, Aihwa Ong, Annelise Riles, Saskia Sassen, Paul A. Silverstein, AbdouMaliq Simone, Neil Smith, Caitlin Zaloom
We are now acutely aware, as if all of the sudden, that data matters enormously to how we live. How did information come to be so integral to what we can do? How did we become people who effortlessly present our lives in social media profiles and who are meticulously recorded in state surveillance dossiers and online marketing databases? What is the story behind data coming to matter so much to who we are?
In How We Became Our Data, Colin Koopman excavates early moments of our rapidly accelerating data-tracking technologies and their consequences for how we think of and express our selfhood today. Koopman explores the emergence of mass-scale record keeping systems like birth certificates and social security numbers, as well as new data techniques for categorizing personality traits, measuring intelligence, and even racializing subjects. This all culminates in what Koopman calls the “informational person” and the “informational power” we are now subject to. The recent explosion of digital technologies that are turning us into a series of algorithmic data points is shown to have a deeper and more turbulent past than we commonly think. Blending philosophy, history, political theory, and media theory in conversation with thinkers like Michel Foucault, Jürgen Habermas, and Friedrich Kittler, Koopman presents an illuminating perspective on how we have come to think of our personhood—and how we can resist its erosion.
This book is a history of the future. It shows how our contemporary understanding of the Net is shaped by visions of the future that were put together in the 1950s and 1960s.
Richard Barbrook argues that at the height of the Cold War the Americans invented the only working model of communism in human history, the Internet. Yet, for all of its libertarian potential, the goal of this high-tech project was geopolitical dominance. The ownership of time was control over the destiny of humanity. The potentially subversive theory of cybernetics was transformed into the military-friendly project of "artificial intelligence." Capitalist growth became the fastest route to the "information society." The rest of the world was expected to follow America's path into the networked future.
Today, we're still being told that the Net is creating the information society---and that America today is everywhere else tomorrow. Barbrook shows how this idea serves a specific geopolitical purpose. Thankfully, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the DIY ethic of the Net shows that people can resist these authoritarian prophecies by shaping information technologies in their own interest. Ultimately, if we don't want the future to be what it used to be, we must invent our own improved and truly revolutionary future.
Winner of the Science Fiction Research Association Book Award
A groundbreaking, alternate history of information technology and information discourses
Although the scale of the information economy and the impact of digital media on social life in China today could pale that of any other country, the story of their emergence in the post-Mao sociopolitical environment remains untold. Information Fantasies offers a revisionist account of the emergence of the “information society,” arguing that it was not determined by the technology of digitization alone but developed out of a set of techno-cultural imaginations and practices that arrived alongside postsocialism.
Anticipating discussions on information surveillance, data collection, and precarious labor conditions today, Xiao Liu goes far beyond the current scholarship on internet and digital culture in China, questioning the limits of current new-media theory and history, while also salvaging postsocialism from the persistent Cold War structure of knowledge production.
Ranging over forgotten science fiction, unjustly neglected films, corporeal practices such as qigong, scientific journals, advertising, and cybernetic theories, Information Fantasies constructs an alternate genealogy of digital and information imaginaries—one that will change how we look at the development of the postsocialist world and the emergence of digital technologies.
Information Please advances the ongoing critical project of the media scholar Mark Poster: theorizing the social and cultural effects of electronically mediated information. In this book Poster conceptualizes a new relation of humans to information machines, a relation that avoids privileging either the human or the machine but instead focuses on the structures of their interactions. Synthesizing a broad range of critical theory, he explores how texts, images, and sounds are made different when they are mediated by information machines, how this difference affects individuals as well as social and political formations, and how it creates opportunities for progressive change.
Poster’s critique develops through a series of lively studies. Analyzing the appearance of Sesame Street’s Bert next to Osama Bin Laden in a New York Times news photo, he examines the political repercussions of this Internet “hoax” as well as the unlimited opportunities that Internet technology presents for the appropriation and alteration of information. He considers the implications of open-source licensing agreements, online personas, the sudden rise of and interest in identity theft, peer-to-peer file sharing, and more. Focusing explicitly on theory, he reflects on the limitations of critical concepts developed before the emergence of new media, particularly globally networked digital communications, and he argues that, contrary to the assertions of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, new media do not necessarily reproduce neoimperialisms. Urging a rethinking of assumptions ingrained during the dominance of broadcast media, Poster charts new directions for work on politics and digital culture.
Conflict over information has become a central part of twenty-first century politics and culture. Currents of liberation and exploitation course through the debates about Edward Snowden and surveillance, Anonymous, the Arab Spring, search engines, and social media. In Information Politics, Tim Jordan confronts contemporary panic about whether we are being controlled by digital systems, such as social networks, iPhones, and Google. He approaches these issues in relation to the information politics that have emerged with the rise of mass digital cultures and the internet. Within our modern world, he argues for possibilities of rebellion and liberation interwoven among social and political conflicts including gender, class, and ecology.
The first of Pluto Press’s new Digital Barricades series, focusing on ground-breaking critical explorations of resistance within the digital world, Information Politics explores the exploitations both facilitated by, and contested through, increases in information flows; the embedding of information technologies in daily life; and the intersection of network and control protocols. Anyone hoping to get to grips with the rapidly changing terrain of digital culture and conflict should start here.
A Washington Post Book of the Year
Winner of the Merle Curti Award
Winner of the Jacques Barzun Prize
Winner of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award
“A masterful study of privacy.”
—Sue Halpern, New York Review of Books
“Masterful (and timely)…[A] marathon trek from Victorian propriety to social media exhibitionism…Utterly original.”
Every day, we make decisions about what to share and when, how much to expose and to whom. Securing the boundary between one’s private affairs and public identity has become an urgent task of modern life. How did privacy come to loom so large in public consciousness? Sarah Igo tracks the quest for privacy from the invention of the telegraph onward, revealing enduring debates over how Americans would—and should—be known. The Known Citizen is a penetrating historical investigation with powerful lessons for our own times, when corporations, government agencies, and data miners are tracking our every move.
“A mighty effort to tell the story of modern America as a story of anxieties about privacy…Shows us that although we may feel that the threat to privacy today is unprecedented, every generation has felt that way since the introduction of the postcard.”
—Louis Menand, New Yorker
“Engaging and wide-ranging…Igo’s analysis of state surveillance from the New Deal through Watergate is remarkably thorough and insightful.”
Knowledge work is now the reigning business paradigm and affects even the world of higher education. But what perspective can the knowledge of the humanities and arts contribute to a world of knowledge work whose primary mission is business? And what is the role of information technology as both the servant of the knowledge economy and the medium of a new technological cool? In The Laws of Cool, Alan Liu reflects on these questions as he considers the emergence of new information technologies and their profound influence on the forms and practices of knowledge.
Our interactions with screens have changed profoundly over the past several decades— from the development of mobile devices to the continued importance of digital technology, the intersection of mobility and visuality is a fascinating and timely subject for study. Looking at the cultural practices that ground our relationship with screens, Nanna Verhoeff offers a historical and comparative approach to screen-based media and digital culture. This smart, sharp addition to the field of media studies focuses on the innovation and transformation of mobile, urban, and location-based screens.
An important work for scholars who study technology, geography, and art, Mobile Screens offers a powerful look at the emergent visual culture of navigation and the way in which we engage with screens as part of our spatial, temporal, and tangible experiences of the world.
In The Modern Invention of Information: Discourse, History, and Power, Ronald E. Day provides a historically informed critical analysis of the concept and politics of information. Analyzing texts in Europe and the United States, his critical reading method goes beyond traditional historiographical readings of communication and information by engaging specific historical texts in terms of their attempts to construct and reshape history.
After laying the groundwork and justifying his method of close reading for this study, Day examines the texts of two pre–World War II documentalists, Paul Otlet and Suzanne Briet. Through the work of Otlet and Briet, Day shows how documentation and information were associated with concepts of cultural progress. Day also discusses the social expansion of the conduit metaphor in the works of Warren Weaver and Norbert Wiener. He then shows how the work of contemporary French multimedia theorist Pierre Lévy refracts the earlier philosophical writings of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari through the prism of the capitalist understanding of the “virtual society.”
Turning back to the pre–World War II period, Day examines two critics of the information society: Martin Heidegger and Walter Benjamin. He explains Heidegger’s philosophical critique of the information culture’s model of language and truth as well as Benjamin’s aesthetic and historical critique of mass information and communication. Day concludes by contemplating the relation of critical theory and information, particularly in regard to the information culture’s transformation of history, historiography, and historicity into positive categories of assumed and represented knowledge.
We live in the age of Big Data, awash in a sea of ever-expanding information—a constant deluge of facts, statistics, models, and projections. The human mind is quickly desensitized by information presented in the form of numbers, and yet many important social and environmental phenomena, ranging from genocide to global climate change, require quantitative description.
The essays and interviews in Numbers and Nerves explore the quandary of our cognitive responses to quantitative information, while also offering compelling strategies for overcoming insensitivity to the meaning of such information. With contributions by journalists, literary critics, psychologists, naturalists, activists, and others, this book represents a unique convergence of psychological research, discourse analysis, and visual and narrative communication.
At a time of unprecedented access to information, our society is frequently stymied in its efforts to react to the world’s massive problems. Many of these problems are systemic, deeply rooted in seemingly intransigent cultural patterns and lifestyles. In order to sense the significance of these issues and begin to confront them, we must first understand the psychological tendencies that enable and restrict our processing of numerical information.
Numbers and Nerves explores a wide range of psychological phenomena and communication strategies—fast and slow thinking, psychic numbing, pseudoinefficacy, the prominence effect, the asymmetry of trust, contextualized anecdotes, multifaceted mosaics of prose, and experimental digital compositions, among others—and places these in real-world contexts. In the past two decades, cognitive science has increasingly come to understand that we, as a species, think best when we allow numbers and nerves, abstract information and experiential discourse, to work together. This book provides a roadmap to guide that collaboration. It will be invaluable to scholars, educators, professional communicators, and anyone who struggles to grasp the meaning behind the numbers.
On the End of Privacy explores how literacy is transformed by online technology that lets us instantly publish anything that we can see or hear. Miller examines the 2010 suicide of Tyler Clementi, a young college student who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after he discovered that his roommate spied on him via webcam. With access to the text messages, tweets, and chatroom posts of those directly involved in this tragedy, Miller asks: why did no one intervene to stop the spying? Searching for an answer to that question leads Miller to online porn sites, the invention of Facebook, the court-martial of Chelsea Manning, the contents of Hillary Clinton’s email server, Anthony Weiner’s sexted images, Chatroulette, and more as he maps out the changing norms governing privacy in the digital age.
Open Data and the Knowledge Society
Bridgette Wessels, Rachel Finn, Thordis Sveinsdottir, and Kush Wadhwa Amsterdam University Press, 2017 Library of Congress HM851.W4299 2017
While there is a lot of talk about how we now live in a knowledge society, the reality has been less impressive: We have yet to truly transition to a knowledge society-in part, this book argues, because discussion mostly focuses on a knowledge economy and information society rather than on ways to mobilise to create an actual knowledge society. That all may change, however, with the rise of open data and big data. This book considers the role of the open data movement in fostering transformation, showing that at the heart of any successful mobilisation will be an emerging open data ecosystem and new ways for societal actors to effectively produce and use data.
A necessary, rich new examination of how the wired world affects our humanity
Our tech-fueled economy is often touted as a boon for the development of our fullest human potential. But as our interactions are increasingly turned into mountains of data sifted by algorithms, what impact does this infinite accumulation and circulation of information really have on us? What are the hidden mechanisms that drive our continuous engagement with the digital?
In The Other Side of the Digital, Andrea Righi argues that the Other of the digital acts as a new secular God, exerting its power through endless accountability that forces us to sacrifice ourselves for the digital. Righi deconstructs the contradictions inherent in our digital world, examining how ideas of knowledge, desire, writing, temporality, and the woman are being reconfigured by our sacrificial economy. His analyses include how both our self-image and our perception of reality are skewed by technologies like fitness bands, matchmaking apps, and search engines, among others.
The Other Side of the Digital provides a necessary, in-depth cultural analysis of how the political theology of the new media functions under neoliberalism. Drawing on the work of well-known thinkers like Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, as well as Carla Lonzi, Luisa Muraro, and Luciano Parinetto, Righi creates novel appraisals of popular digital tools that we now use routinely to process life experiences. Asking why we must sign up for this sort of regime, The Other Side of the Digital is an important wake-up call to a world deeply entangled with the digital.
As inherently spatial beings, our sense of space in cyberspace challenges all that is familiar in terms of our ability to define, organize, govern, and map social places. In The Political Mapping of Cyberspace, Jeremy Crampton shows that cyberspace is not the virtual reality we think it to be, but instead a rich geography of political practices and power relations.
Using concepts and methods derived from the work of Michel Foucault, Crampton outlines a new mapping of cyberspace to help define the role of space in virtual worlds and to provide constructive ways in which humans can exist in another spatial dimension. He delineates the critical role maps play in constructing the medium as an object of knowledge and demonstrates that by processes of mapping we come to understand cyberspace. Maps, he argues, shape political thinking about cyberspace, and he deploys in-depth case studies of crime mapping, security maintenance, and geo-surveillance to show how we map ourselves onto cyberspace, inexorably, and indelibly.
Offering a powerful reinterpretation of technology and contemporary life, this innovative book will be an essential touchstone for the study of cartography and cyberspace in the twenty-first century.
Who owns your genetic information? Might it be the doctors who, in the course of removing your spleen, decode a few cells and turn them into a patented product? In 1990 the Supreme Court of California said yes, marking another milestone on the information superhighway. This extraordinary case is one of the many that James Boyle takes up in Shamans, Software, and Spleens, a timely look at the infinitely tricky problems posed by the information society. Discussing topics ranging from blackmail and insider trading to artificial intelligence (with good-humored stops in microeconomics, intellectual property, and cultural studies along the way), Boyle has produced a work that can fairly be called the first social theory of the information age.
Now more than ever, information is power, and questions about who owns it, who controls it, and who gets to use it carry powerful implications. These are the questions Boyle explores in matters as diverse as autodialers and direct advertising, electronic bulletin boards and consumer databases, ethno-botany and indigenous pharmaceuticals, the right of publicity (why Johnny Carson owns the phrase "Here's Johnny!"), and the right to privacy (does J. D. Salinger "own" the letters he's sent?). Boyle finds that our ideas about intellectual property rights rest on the notion of the Romantic author--a notion that Boyle maintains is not only outmoded but actually counterproductive, restricting debate, slowing innovation, and widening the gap between rich and poor nations. What emerges from this lively discussion is a compelling argument for relaxing the initial protection of authors' works and expanding the concept of the fair use of information. For those with an interest in the legal, ethical, and economic ramifications of the dissemination of information--in short, for every member of the information society, willing or unwilling--this book makes a case that cannot be ignored.
An in-depth exploration of digital culture and its dissemination, Sharing offers a counterpoint to the dominant view that file sharing is piracy. Instead, Philippe Aigrain looks at the benefits of file sharing, which allows unknown writers and artists to be appreciated more easily. Concentrating not only on the cultural enrichment caused by widely shared digital media, Sharing also discusses new financing models that would allow works to be shared freely by individuals without aim at profit. Aigrain carefully balances the needs to support and reward creative activity with a suitable respect for the cultural common good and proposes a new interpretation of the digital landscape.
Governments make too little use of the skills and experience of citizens. New tools—what Beth Simone Noveck calls technologies of expertise—are making it possible to match citizen expertise to the demand for it in government. She offers a vision of participatory democracy rooted not in voting or crowdsourcing but in people’s knowledge and know-how.
Television as Digital Media
James Bennett and Niki Strange, eds. Duke University Press, 2011 Library of Congress HM851.T465 2011 | Dewey Decimal 302.2345
In Television as Digital Media, scholars from Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States combine television studies with new media studies to analyze digital TV as part of digital culture. Taking into account technologies, industries, economies, aesthetics, and various production, user, and audience practices, the contributors develop a new critical paradigm for thinking about television, and the future of television studies, in the digital era. The collection brings together established and emerging scholars, producing an intergenerational dialogue that will be useful for anyone seeking to understand the relationship between television and digital media.
Introducing the collection, James Bennett explains how television as digital media is a non-site-specific, hybrid cultural and technological form that spreads across platforms such as mobile phones, games consoles, iPods, and online video services, including YouTube, Hulu and the BBC’s iPlayer. Television as digital media threatens to upset assumptions about television as a mass medium that has helped define the social collective experience, the organization of everyday life, and forms of sociality. As often as we are promised the convenience of the television experience “anytime, anywhere,” we are invited to participate in communities, share television moments, and watch events live. The essays in this collection demonstrate the historical, production, aesthetic, and audience changes and continuities that underpin the emerging meaning of television as digital media.
Contributors. James Bennett, William Boddy, Jean Burgess, John Caldwell, Daniel Chamberlain, Max Dawson, Jason Jacobs, Karen Lury, Roberta Pearson, Jeanette Steemers, Niki Strange, Julian Thomas, Graeme Turner
The Information Society is one of the recurrent imaginaries to describe present-day structures, discourses and practices. Within its meaning is enshrined the promise of a better world, sometimes naively assuming a technological deus ex machina, in other cases hoping for the creation of policy tools that will overcome a diversity of societal divides.
With the two-phased World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the United Nations attempted to stimulate the development of such tools.
Simultaneously, the WSIS is a large-scale experiment in multistakeholderism. The objective was to create a more balanced decision-making process that would allow the voices of civil society and business actors to be heard in international politics.
This book aims to evaluate the potentialities of both the Information Society, and the WSIS in supporting and constructing more democratic, just and developed societies. It is the second book arising from the intellectual work of European Consortium for Communications Research members.
In Two Bits, Christopher M. Kelty investigates the history and cultural significance of Free Software, revealing the people and practices that have transformed not only software but also music, film, science, and education. Free Software is a set of practices devoted to the collaborative creation of software source code that is made openly and freely available through an unconventional use of copyright law. Kelty explains how these specific practices have reoriented the relations of power around the creation, dissemination, and authorization of all kinds of knowledge. He also makes an important contribution to discussions of public spheres and social imaginaries by demonstrating how Free Software is a “recursive public”—a public organized around the ability to build, modify, and maintain the very infrastructure that gives it life in the first place.
Drawing on ethnographic research that took him from an Internet healthcare start-up company in Boston to media labs in Berlin to young entrepreneurs in Bangalore, Kelty describes the technologies and the moral vision that bind together hackers, geeks, lawyers, and other Free Software advocates. In each case, he shows how their practices and way of life include not only the sharing of software source code but also ways of conceptualizing openness, writing copyright licenses, coordinating collaboration, and proselytizing. By exploring in detail how these practices came together as the Free Software movement from the 1970s to the 1990s, Kelty also considers how it is possible to understand the new movements emerging from Free Software: projects such as Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that creates copyright licenses, and Connexions, a project to create an online scholarly textbook commons.
Across America, newspapers that have defined their cities for over a century are rapidly failing, their circulations plummeting even as opinion-soaked web outlets like the Huffington Post thrive. Meanwhile, nightly news programs shock viewers with stories of horrific crime and celebrity scandal, while the smug sarcasm and shouting of pundits like Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann dominate cable television. Is it any wonder that young people are turning away from the news entirely, trusting comedians like Jon Stewart as their primary source of information on current events?
In the face of all the problems plaguing serious news, What Is Happening to News explores the crucial question of how journalism lost its way—and who is responsible for the ragged retreat from its great traditions. Veteran editor and newspaperman Jack Fuller locates the surprising sources of change where no one has thought to look before: in the collision between a revolutionary new information age and a human brain that is still wired for the threats faced by our prehistoric ancestors. Drawing on the dramatic recent discoveries of neuroscience, Fuller explains why the information overload of contemporary life makes us dramatically more receptive to sensational news, while rendering the staid, objective voice of standard journalism ineffective. Throw in a growing distrust of experts and authority, ably capitalized on by blogs and other interactive media, and the result is a toxic mix that threatens to prove fatal to journalism as we know it.
For every reader troubled by what has become of news—and worried about what the future may hold—What Is Happening to News not only offers unprecedented insight into the causes of change but also clear guidance, strongly rooted in the precepts of ethical journalism, on how journalists can adapt to this new environment while still providing the information necessary to a functioning democracy.