Ulises Ali Mejias: Off the Network: Disrupting the Digital World (2013)

29 August 2013, dusan

The digital world profoundly shapes how we work and consume and also how we play, socialize, create identities, and engage in politics and civic life. Indeed, we are so enmeshed in digital networks—from social media to cell phones—that it is hard to conceive of them from the outside or to imagine an alternative, let alone defy their seemingly inescapable power and logic. Yes, it is (sort of) possible to quit Facebook. But is it possible to disconnect from the digital network—and why might we want to?

Off the Network is a fresh and authoritative examination of how the hidden logic of the Internet, social media, and the digital network is changing users’ understanding of the world—and why that should worry us. Ulises Ali Mejias also suggests how we might begin to rethink the logic of the network and question its ascendancy. Touted as consensual, inclusive, and pleasurable, the digital network is also, Mejias says, monopolizing and threatening in its capacity to determine, commodify, and commercialize so many aspects of our lives. He shows how the network broadens participation yet also exacerbates disparity—and how it excludes more of society than it includes.

Uniquely, Mejias makes the case that it is not only necessary to challenge the privatized and commercialized modes of social and civic life offered by corporate-controlled spaces such as Facebook and Twitter, but that such confrontations can be mounted from both within and outside the network. The result is an uncompromising, sophisticated, and accessible critique of the digital world that increasingly dominates our lives.

Publisher University of Minnesota Press, 2013
Electronic Mediations series, Volume 41
Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivs License
ISBN 0816679002, 9780816679003
193 pages

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Giovanni Ziccardi: Resistance, Liberation Technology and Human Rights in the Digital Age (2013)

2 April 2013, dusan

This book explains strategies, techniques, legal issues and the relationships between digital resistance activities, information warfare actions, liberation technology and human rights. It studies the concept of authority in the digital era and focuses in particular on the actions of so-called digital dissidents. Moving from the difference between hacking and computer crimes, the book explains concepts of hacktivism, the information war between states, a new form of politics (such as open data movements, radical transparency, crowd sourcing and “Twitter Revolutions”), and the hacking of political systems and of state technologies. The book focuses on the protection of human rights in countries with oppressive regimes.

– Deals with digital resistance activities all over the world
– First book to describe political and human rights issues in Egypt, Tunisia, Cuba and Yemen
– A critical analysis of the WikiLeaks case

Publisher Springer, 2013
Volume 7 van Law, Governance and Technology series
ISBN 9400752768, 9789400752764
328 pages
via Marcell Mars via Jaromil

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Fibreculture Journal 20: Networked Utopias and Speculative Futures (2012)

19 July 2012, dusan

“This issue of The Fibreculture Journal has brought together studies in networked communities with novel, historical and creative approaches to utopia in order to examine the productivity of future-thinking from our present location. Reading through the essays collected here it becomes clear that framing utopia in the future, endlessly deferring it until a ‘perfect’ world emerges, is a perfect way of never doing anything at all. More immediately, the events of the Arab Spring, the rebuilding of Christchurch, and other examples of activism and community work documented here reframe the future through the present, reminding us that the actions we take today open up new possible futures. Indeed this is the message of the ‘risk subject’ described by Levina, in which the future perfect self is created by the choices of the present. Many of the essays published in this issue interrogate the relationships between hopeful imagining and action. In looking for utopia they acknowledge the value of hope, but recognise that ‘networks’ need to be active sites of engagement, critique, and risk, not simply an abstract idea, or ideal. The network alone will not get us there. As a whole this issue exposes and critiques the casually utopian use of the network as a synonym for open, free, egalitarian and participatory. In retaining the paradox at the heart of the term “networked utopias” we have opened up a dynamic, messy, imperfect arena of hopeful action and collective speculation.” (from Editorial)

Articles on: The material substrate of networks; the Arab Spring; re-imagining mobile communications via encounters with a neolithic village; the ‘freedom of movement and freedom of knowledge’ events that have taken place between Spain and Morocco; utopias and political economies of networks, space and time; networks and health; networks and food; and Montréal residents’ appropriation of train tracks.

Issue Edited by Su Ballard, Zita Joyce and Lizzie Muller
Publisher: Fibreculture Publications/The Open Humanities Press, Sydney, Australia, July 2012
ISSN: 1449 – 1443