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
Fashion is among the biggest polluters, yet the media still promote throwaway fast fashion. Based on analysis of 1000+ media artefacts, this policy brief identifies patterns in the way journalists and influencers cover fashion which contribute to unsustainable buying behaviours. Researcher Anastasia Denisova proposes new regulatory measures and a more responsible approach from magazines and other media promoting more sustainable coverage of fashion topics.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
Grant Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit): ‘This book should be mandatory reading for every label, booking agent, manager and tour manager in the business of music and touring so we can all better understand what’s really involved in living the life of a professional musician and the role we all have in making that life as liveable as possible’
Tim Shiel (Double J/Triple J Radio, Australia): ‘The most important book I’ve ever read about music’
Songlines magazine: ‘An eye-opening must read’ ****
Shaun Ryder (Happy Mondays): ‘Holding on to your mental health in this pressured environment is so important and at times so very difficult, I know that all too well. This book lays bare what it is like to live for your music and how it can feel to be a musician today’
The Wire magazine: ‘Poses uncomfortable questions…[and] sheds light on complex issues with compelling thoroughness’
Emma Warren (Music journalist and author): ‘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’
Crispin Hunt (Multi-Platinum Songwriter/Record Producer & Chair of the Ivor’s Academy): ‘In this important book, Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave investigate the relationship between the well-being music brings to society and the well-being of those who create. It's a much needed reality-check, deglamorising the romantic image of the tortured artist’
Adam Ficek (Psychotherapist [Music and Mind]/BabyShambles): ‘A critical and timely book’
Joe Muggs (DJ, Promoter, Journalist [Guardian, Telegraph, FACT, Mixmag, The Wire]): ‘The best guide to what being a musician, and what "the music industry" actually are that I can remember reading’
Andreea Magdalina (Founder of shesaid.so): ‘This book is extremely important....The pandemic is forcing our industry to reinvent itself, once again, and this book is a call to ensure these new systems are fairer for everyone and that they foster a healthier lifestyle’
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