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
“Musicians often pay a high price for sharing their art with us. Underneath the glow of success can often lie loneliness and exhaustion, not to mention the basic struggles of paying the rent or buying food. Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave raise important questions – and we need to listen to what the musicians have to tell us about their working conditions and their mental health.” Emma Warren (Music Journalist and Author).
“Singing is crying for grown-ups. To create great songs or play them with meaning music's creators reach far into emotion and fragility seeking the communion we demand of it. However, music’s toll on musicians can leave deep scars. In this important book, Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave investigate the relationship between the wellbeing music brings to society and the wellbeing of those who create. It’s a much needed reality check, deglamorising the romantic image of the tortured artist.” Crispin Hunt (Multi-Platinum Songwriter/Record Producer, Chair of the Ivors Academy).
It is often assumed that creative people are prone to psychological instability, and that this explains apparent associations between cultural production and mental health problems. In their detailed study of recording and performing artists in the British music industry, Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave turn this view on its head.
By listening to how musicians understand and experience their working lives, this book proposes that whilst making music is therapeutic, making a career from music can be traumatic. The authors show how careers based on an all-consuming passion have become more insecure and devalued. Artistic merit and intimate, often painful, self-disclosures are the subject of unremitting scrutiny and data metrics. Personal relationships and social support networks are increasingly bound up with calculative transactions.
Drawing on original empirical research and a wide-ranging survey of scholarship from across the social sciences, their findings will be provocative for future research on mental health, wellbeing and working conditions in the music industries and across the creative economy. Going beyond self-help strategies, they challenge the industry to make transformative structural change. Until then, the book provides an invaluable guide for anyone currently making their career in music, as well as those tasked with training and educating the next generation.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
In the face of challenges posed by a shifting digital media landscape, an array of international bodies continue to endorse public service media (PSM) as an essential component of democratisation. Yet how can PSM achieve viability in settings where models of media independence and credibility are unfamiliar or rejected by political leaders?
The answer lies in a holistic approach that is neither media-centric nor defeatist about PSM’s place in a landscape marked by younger generations’ widespread preference for social media platforms. There are more ways of working towards PSM than are often recognized. Wide-ranging research from media NGOs and academics demonstrates the potential of diverse, incremental approaches to embedding the values and mechanisms of PSM. These are as likely to involve regulatory and licensing institutions, unions of media practitioners, audiences, advocacy groups or social media platforms as content producers themselves.
This Policy Brief considers the issues, research and policy options around achieving viability for PSM. It concludes with six recommendations that are relevant to policymakers, practitioners and media studies specialists.Book Details
The concept of ‘the commons’ has been used as a framework to understand resources shared by a community rather than a private entity, and it has also inspired social movements working against the enclosure of public goods and resources. One such resource is free (libre) and open source software (FLOSS). FLOSS emerged as an alternative to proprietary software in the 1980s. However, both the products and production processes of FLOSS have become incorporated into capitalist production. For example, Red Hat, Inc. is a large publicly traded company whose business model relies entirely on free software, and IBM, Intel, Cisco, Samsung, Google are some of the largest contributors to Linux, the open-source operating system. This book explores the ways in which FLOSS has been incorporated into digital capitalism. Just as the commons have been used as a motivational frame for radical social movements, it has also served the interests of free-marketeers, corporate libertarians, and states to expand their reach by dragging the shared resources of social life onto digital platforms so they can be integrated into the global capitalist system.
The book concludes by asserting the need for a critical political economic understanding of the commons that foregrounds (digital) labour, class struggle, and uneven power distribution within the digital commons as well as between FLOSS communities and their corporate sponsors.Book Details
Described by Aristotle as the most vital of senses, touch contains both the physical and the metaphysical in its ability to express the determination of being. To manifest itself, touch makes a movement outwards, beyond the body, and relies on a specific physical involvement other senses do not require: to touch is already to be active and to activate. This fundamental ontology makes touch the most essential of all senses.
This volume of ‘Law and the Senses’ attempts to illuminate and reconsider the complex and interflowing relations and contradictions between the tactful intrusion of the law and the untactful movement of touch. Compelling contributors from arts, literature and social science disciplines alongside artist presentations explore touch’s boundaries and formal and informal ‘laws’ of the senses. Each contribution unveils a multi-faceted new dimension to the force of touch, its ability to form, deform and reform what it touches. In unique ways, each of the several contributions to this volume recognises the trans-corporeality of touch to traverse the boundaries on the body and entangle other bodies and spaces, thus challenging the very notion of corporeal integrity and human being.Book Details
David Harvey’s The Condition of Postmodernity rationalised capitalism’s transformation during an extraordinary year: 1989. It gave theoretical expression to a material and cultural reality that was just then getting properly started – globalisation and postmodernity – whilst highlighting the geo-spatial limits to accumulation imposed by our planet.
However this landmark publication, author Robert Hassan argues, did not address the arrival of digital technology, the quantum leap represented by the move from an analogue world to a digital economy and the rapid creation of a global networked society. Considering first the contexts of 1989 and Harvey’s work, then the idea of humans as analogue beings he argues this arising new human condition of digitality leads to alienation not only from technology but also the environment. This condition he suggests, is not an ideology of time and space but a reality stressing that Harvey’s time-space compression takes on new features including those of ‘outward’ and ‘inward’ globalisation and the commodification of all spheres of existence.
Lastly the author considers culture’s role drawing on Rahel Jaeggi’s theories to make the case for a post-modern Marxism attuned to the most significant issue of our age. Stimulating and theoretically wide-ranging The Condition of Digitality recognises post-modernity’s radical new form as a reality and the urgent need to assert more democratic control over digitality.Book Details
This new book analyses the strategies, usages and wider implications of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding platforms in the culture and communication industries that are reshaping economic, organizational and social logics. Platforms are the object of considerable hype with a growing global presence. Relying on individual contributions coordinated by social media to finance cultural production (and carry out promotional tasks) is a significant shift, especially when supported by morphing public policies, supposedly enhancing cultural diversity and accessibility.
The aim of this book is to propose a critical analysis of these phenomena by questioning what follows from decisions to outsource modes of creation and funding to consumers. Drawing on research carried out within the ‘Collab’ programme backed by the French National Research Agency, the book considers how platforms are used to organize cultural labour and/or to control usages, following a logic of suggestion rather than overt injunction. Four key areas are considered: the history of crowdfunding as a system; whose interests crowdfunding may serve; the implications for digital labour and lastly crowdfunding’s interface with globalization and contemporary capitalism. The book concludes with an assessment of claims that crowdfunding can democratize culture.Book Details