Sean Cubitt: Finite Media: Environmental Implications of Digital Technologies (2016)

27 January 2017, dusan

“While digital media give us the ability to communicate with and know the world, their use comes at the expense of an immense ecological footprint and environmental degradation. In Finite Media Sean Cubitt offers a large-scale rethinking of theories of mediation by examining the environmental and human toll exacted by mining and the manufacture, use, and disposal of millions of phones, computers, and other devices. The way out is through an eco-political media aesthetics, in which people use media to shift their relationship to the environment and where public goods and spaces are available to all. Cubitt demonstrates this through case studies ranging from the 1906 film The Story of the Kelly Gang to an image of Saturn taken during NASA’s Cassini-Huygens mission, suggesting that affective responses to images may generate a populist environmental politics that demands better ways of living and being. Only by reorienting our use of media, Cubitt contends, can we overcome the failures of political elites and the ravages of capital.”

Publisher Duke University Press, 2016
Cultural Politics Books series
ISBN 9780822362920. 0822362929
256 pages
via wX

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Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (2014)

16 September 2014, dusan

In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.

Klein argues that the changes to our relationship with nature and one another that are required to respond to the climate crisis humanely should not be viewed as grim penance, but rather as a kind of gift—a catalyst to transform broken economic and cultural priorities and to heal long-festering historical wounds. And she documents the inspiring movements that have already begun this process: communities that are not just refusing to be sites of further fossil fuel extraction but are building the next, regeneration-based economies right now.

Publisher Simon & Schuster, 2014
ISBN 1451697384, 9781451697384
576 pages

Review (David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times)
Review (Sandra Steingraber, EcoWatch)

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James R. Beniger: The Control Revolution: Technological and Economic Origins of the Information Society (1986)

26 April 2014, dusan

“James Beniger traces the origin of the Information Society to major economic and business crises of the past century. In the United States, applications of steam power in the early 1800s brought a dramatic rise in the speed, volume, and complexity of industrial processes, making them difficult to control. Scores of problems arose: fatal train wrecks, misplacement of freight cars for months at a time, loss of shipments, inability to maintain high rates of inventory turnover. Inevitably the Industrial Revolution, with its ballooning use of energy to drive material processes, required a corresponding growth in the exploitation of information: the Control Revolution.

Between the 1840s and the 1920s came most of the important information-processing and communication technologies still in use today: telegraphy, modern bureaucracy, rotary power printing, the postage stamp, paper money, typewriter, telephone, punch-card processing, motion pictures, radio, and television. Beniger shows that more recent developments in microprocessors, computers, and telecommunications are only a smooth continuation of this Control Revolution. Along the way he touches on many fascinating topics: why breakfast was invented, how trademarks came to be worth more than the companies that own them, why some employees wear uniforms, and whether time zones will always be necessary.”

Publisher Harvard University Press, 1986
ISBN 0674020766, 9780674020764
493 pages
via babyalanturing

Review (JoAnne Yates, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 1988)
Review (Krishan Kumar, Journal of American Studies, 1988)
Review (Kirkus Reviews)

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