The Burden of Choice examines how recommendations for products, media, news, romantic partners, and even cosmetic surgery operations are produced and experienced online. Fundamentally concerned with how the recommendation has come to serve as a form of control that frames a contemporary American as heteronormative, white, and well off, this book asserts that the industries that use these automated recommendations tend to ignore and obscure all other identities in the service of making the type of affluence they are selling appear commonplace. Focusing on the period from the mid-1990s to approximately 2010 (while this technology was still novel), Jonathan Cohn argues that automated recommendations and algorithms are far from natural, neutral, or benevolent. Instead, they shape and are shaped by changing conceptions of gender, sexuality, race, and class. With its cultural studies and humanities-driven methodologies focused on close readings, historical research, and qualitative analysis, The Burden of Choice models a promising avenue for the study of algorithms and culture.
Denied access to traditional advertising platforms by lack of resources, craft breweries have proliferated despite these challenges by embracing social media platforms, and by creating an obsessed culture of fans. In Craft Obsession, Jeff Rice uses craft beer as a case study to demonstrate how social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter function to shape stories about craft.
Rice weaves together theories of writing, narrative, new media, and rhetoric with a personal story of his passion for craft beer. He identifies six key elements of social media rhetoric—anecdotes, repetition, aggregation, delivery, sharing, and imagery—and examines how each helps to transform small, personal experiences with craft into a more widespread movement. When shared via social media, craft anecdotes—such as the first time one had a beer—interrupt and repeat one another, building a sense of familiarity and identity among otherwise unconnected people. Aggregation, the practice of joining unlike items into one space, builds on this network identity, establishing a connection to particular brands or locations, both real and virtual. The public releases of craft beers are used to explore the concept of craft delivery, which involves multiple actors across multiple spaces and results in multiple meanings. Finally, Rice highlights how personal sharing operates within the community of craft beer enthusiasts, who share online images of acquiring, trading for, and consuming a wide variety of beers. These shared stories and images, while personal for each individual, reflect the dependence of craft on systems of involvement. Throughout, Rice relates and reflects on his own experience as a craft beer enthusiast and his participation via social media in these systems.
Both an objective scholarly study and an engaging personal narrative about craft beer, Craft Obsession provides valuable insights into digital writing, storytelling, and social media.
An urgent examination of the threat posed to social media by user disconnection, and the measures websites will take to prevent it
No matter how pervasive and powerful social media websites become, users always have the option of disconnecting—right? Not exactly, as Tero Karppi reveals in this disquieting book. Pointing out that platforms like Facebook see disconnection as an existential threat—and have undertaken wide-ranging efforts to eliminate it—Karppi argues that users’ ability to control their digital lives is gradually dissipating.
Taking a nonhumancentric approach, Karppi explores how modern social media platforms produce and position users within a system of coded relations and mechanisms of power. For Facebook, disconnection is an intense affective force. It is a problem of how to keep users engaged with the platform, but also one of keeping value, attention, and desires within the system. Karppi uses Facebook’s financial documents as a map to navigate how the platform sees its users. Facebook’s plans to connect the entire globe through satellites and drones illustrates the material webs woven to keep us connected. Karppi analyzes how Facebook’s interface limits the opportunity to opt-out—even continuing to engage users after their physical death. Showing how users have fought to take back their digital lives, Karppi chronicles responses like Web2.0 Suicide Machine, an art project dedicated to committing digital suicide.
For Karppi, understanding social media connectivity comes from unbinding the bonds that stop people from leaving these platforms. Disconnection brings us to the limit of user policies, algorithmic control, and platform politics. Ultimately, Karppi’s focus on the difficulty of disconnection, rather than the ease of connection, reveals how social media has come to dominate human relations.
This report examines the technical challenges associated with incorporating bulk, automated analysis of social media information into procedures for vetting people seeking entry into the United States. The authors identify functional requirements and a framework for operational metrics for the proposed social media screening capabilities and provide recommendations on how to implement those capabilities.
In 1994, a devout Catholic woman from Vermont began having religious visions and hearing the voice of the Virgin Mary. To spread word about her mystical experiences, she turned to the Internet. As Paolo Apolito records here, she is only one of many people who use the Web as a tool of religious devotion. Every day, thousands of Catholics—from Italy and Latin America to the United States and Bosnia—use the Internet to describe and celebrate apparitions of Mary, to exchange relics and advice in chat rooms, to make pilgrimages to religious Web sites, and to practice the rites of their faith online.
But how has this potent new mix of technology and religiosity changed the way Catholics view their faith? And what challenges do the autonomous qualities of the Internet pose to the broader authority of Catholicism? Does the democratic nature of access to digital technologies constitute a return to a more archaic and mystical form of Catholicism that predates the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council?
In working through these questions, Apolito considers visions of Mary on the Web over the past two decades, revealing a great deal about religion as it is now experienced through new information technologies. The Internet, he explains, has made possible a decentralized community of the devoted, even as it has absorbed God into the shifts and complexities of electronic circuitry. And this profound development in religious life will only accelerate as use of the Internet spreads around the world.
An indispensable guide to the future of Catholicism, The Internet and the Madonna offers a compelling glimpse into the spiritual life of the connected soul.
Through the lens of culture, The Internet of Elsewhere looks at the role of the Internet as a catalyst in transforming communications, politics, and economics. Cyrus Farivar explores the Internet's history and effects in four distinct and, to some, surprising societies—Iran, Estonia, South Korea, and Senegal. He profiles Web pioneers in these countries and, at the same time, surveys the environments in which they each work. After all, contends Farivar, despite California's great success in creating the Internet and spawning companies like Apple and Google, in some areas the United States is still years behind other nations.
Surprised? You won't be for long as Farivar proves there are reasons that:
Skype was invented in Estonia—the same country that developed a digital ID system and e-voting;
Iran was the first country in the world to arrest a blogger, in 2003;
South Korea is the most wired country on the planet, with faster and less expensive broadband than anywhere in the United States;
Senegal may be one of sub-Saharan Africa's best chances for greater Internet access.
The Internet of Elsewhere brings forth a new complex and modern understanding of how the Internet spreads globally, with both good and bad effects.
Copublished with the Utah State Historical Society. Affiliated with the Utah Division of State History, Utah Department of Heritage & Arts.
Throughout prehistory and history, junipers have influenced ecosystems, cultures, mythologies, economics, politics, and environmental controversies. In terms of their effects on human lives the juniper may be the most significant tree in the interior West. Interwoven explores these interconnecting aspects of junipers. Ghost beads, biotic communities, gin, tree masticators, Puebloan diapers, charcoal, folklore, historic explorers, spiral grain, tree life cycles, spirituality, packrat middens, climate changes, wildfire, ranching, wilderness, and land management policies are among the many different threads the book follows. These and other topics shed light on a fascinating organism, but the book is more than a compilation of facts. At once a scientific, experiential, historical, and metaphorical walk among junipers and their interrelationships, Interwoven may change readers’ experiences with these trees and the natural world.
Finalist for the Utah State Historical Society Best Book Award.
Law and the Web of Society
Cynthia L. Cates Georgetown University Press, 2001 Library of Congress KF379.C38 2001 | Dewey Decimal 340.115
From birth certificates and marriage licenses to food safety regulations and speed limits, law shapes nearly every moment of our lives. Ubiquitous and ambivalent, the law is charged with both maintaining social order and protecting individual freedom. In this book, Cynthia L. Cates and Wayne V. McIntosh explore this ambivalence and document the complex relationship between the web of law and everyday life.
They consider the forms and functions of the law, charting the American legal structure and judicial process, and explaining key legal roles. They then detail how it influences the development of individual identity and human relationships at every stage of our life cycle, from conception to the grave. The authors also use the word "web" in its technological sense, providing a section at the end of each chapter that directs students to relevant and useful Internet sites.
Written for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in law and society courses, Law and the Web of Society contains original research that also makes it useful to scholars. In daring to ask difficult questions such as "When does life begin?" and "Where does law begin?" this book will stimulate thought and debate even as it presents practical answers.
This collection presents papers in memory of Steven G. Lapointe, a distinguished professor of linguistics at the University of California, Davis, at the time of his death in 1999. Lapointe's work on morphology and its connection to other linguistic subfields was the basis of a workshop held at UC Davis in 2000. This selection of papers from that workshop discusses the relationship of morphology to phonology, syntax, and semantics, as well as the details of modern morphological theory—forming a natural continuation of the intellectual developments in Lapointe et al.'s Morphology and Its Relation to Phonology and Syntax.
In this counterintuitive study of digital democracy, Jen Schradie shows how the web has become another weapon in the arsenal of the powerful, and a potent weapon for conservative activists. Rather than leveling the playing field, the internet has tilted it in favor of the Right, where only the most sophisticated and well-funded players can compete.
Russia employs a sophisticated social media campaign against former Soviet states that includes news tweets, nonattributed comments on web pages, troll and bot social media accounts, and fake hashtag and Twitter campaigns. Nowhere is this threat more tangible than in Ukraine. Researchers analyzed social media data and conducted interviews with regional and security experts to understand the critical ingredients to countering this campaign.
Uncloistered by the web, science is finding its way into previously unimagined audiences. Whether collecting data in one’s backyard to help wildlife experts manage wolf populations or even funding research out of one’s own pocket, nonexperts can engage science at an unprecedented scale. As science communication has moved online, a range of important new genres have emerged that put professionals and the public into conversation with each other. In Science Communication Online: Engaging Experts and Publics on the Internet, Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher takes up these “trans-scientific” genres to explore how scientists are adapting their communications, how publics are increasingly involved in science, and how boundaries between experts and nonexperts continue to shift.
Bringing together genre studies and the rhetoric of science, Mehlenbacher examines a range of new forms of science communication that challenge traditional presumptions about experts and nonexperts—including Twitter and Reddit AMAs, crowdfunding proposals such as Kickstarter and Experiment.com, civic-minded databases such as Safecast, and the PLOS blogging network. Science Communication Online illustrates the unique features of these genres and connects them to their rhetorical functions and the larger context leading to their emergence and evolution—from the democratization of science, challenges to expertise and expert status, and new political economies. Science Communication Online captures the important moment we find ourselves in now—one not defined by science and society but science in society.
Cracking open the politics of transparency and secrecy
In an era of open data and ubiquitous dataveillance, what does it mean to “share”? This book argues that we are all “shareveillant” subjects, called upon to be transparent and render data open at the same time as the security state invests in practices to keep data closed. Drawing on Jacques Rancière’s “distribution of the sensible,” Clare Birchall reimagines sharing in terms of a collective political relationality beyond the veillant expectations of the state.
The Web of Iniquity is a study of detective fiction written by American women between the Civil War and World War II. Refuting the idea that no American detective fiction of substance was produced between the times of Edgar Allan Poe and Dashiell Hammett, Catherine Ross Nickerson shows how these women writers blended Gothic elements into domestic fiction to create a unique and all-but-ignored subgenre that she labels “domestic detective fiction.” This subgenre allowed women writers to participate in postbellum culture and to critique other aspects of a rapidly changing society. Domestic detective fiction combined elements of sensationalist papers, popular nonfiction crime stories, and the domestic novel. Nickerson shows how it also incorporated the gothic tropes found in the work of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Louisa May Alcott, and Charlotte Brontë and influenced the work of Pauline Hopkins. Mid-nineteenth-century writer Metta Fuller Victor, who represented such important areas of cultural conflict as the role of professions in the formation of class identity and the possibility of women's independence and self-determination, paved the way for the appearance of women detectives in the late-nineteenth-century fiction of Anna Katharine Green. Nickerson credits Mary Roberts Rinehart, in particular, for bringing sophistication to the subgenre by amplifying the humorous, terrifying, and feminist elements inherent in earlier detective novels by women. Throughout the volume, Nickerson focuses on the narrative qualities of the domestic novel tradition and the ways in which it reflected ideologies of domesticity and gender. Also included are a discussion of various rewritings of the Lizzie Borden scandal in this tradition and an afterword on the relation of domestic detective fiction to the hard-boiled style. The Web of Iniquity places the detective fiction written by women between 1850 and 1940 into ongoing discussions regarding women, culture, and literature and will appeal to scholars and students of women's studies, American studies, and literary history.
"An excellent representation
of the interdisciplinary thrust of peace studies." -- Paul Joseph,
Violence is a topic of concern
everywhere--in the media, in churches, in the halls of governments. In
every land and in every culture violence is considered by most to be taboo,
a last resort. Yet under certain conditions, from the level of the family
to the level of nations, violence is used as a mechanism of social control.
Various rationalizations thus emerge to distinguish between legitimate
and illegitimate violence. The Web of Violence
explores the interrelationship among personal, collective, national, and
global levels of violence. This unique collection brings together a number
of internationally known contributors to address the genesis and manifestations
of violence in the search for a remedy for this confounding social problem.
As the global community becomes
more intimate, we must better understand the nature of violence. The Web of Violence supports this aim by examining the dangerous human
phenomenon from many perspectives, at different levels, and using multiple
CONTRIBUTORS: Robert Jay Lifton,
Christopher G. Ellison, John P. Bartkowski, Yuan-Horng Chu, Philip Smith,
Robert Elias, Birgit Brock-Utne, Riane Eisler, Johan Galtung
Few virtues are as celebrated in contemporary culture as openness. Rooted in software culture and carrying more than a whiff of Silicon Valley technical utopianism, openness—of decision-making, data, and organizational structure—is seen as the cure for many problems in politics and business.
But what does openness mean, and what would a political theory of openness look like? With Wikipedia and the Politics of Openness, Nathaniel Tkacz uses Wikipedia, the most prominent product of open organization, to analyze the theory and politics of openness in practice—and to break its spell. Through discussions of edit wars, article deletion policies, user access levels, and more, Tkacz enables us to see how the key concepts of openness—including collaboration, ad-hocracy, and the splitting of contested projects through “forking”—play out in reality.
The resulting book is the richest critical analysis of openness to date, one that roots media theory in messy reality and thereby helps us move beyond the vaporware promises of digital utopians and take the first steps toward truly understanding what openness does, and does not, have to offer.