Felix Stalder: The Digital Condition (2016–)

25 March 2018, dusan

“Our daily lives, our culture and our politics are now shaped by the digital condition as large numbers of people involve themselves in contentious negotiations of meaning in ever more dimensions of life, from the trivial to the profound. They are making use of the capacities of complex communication infrastructures, currently dominated by social mass media such as Twitter and Facebook, on which they have come to depend.

Amidst a confusing plurality, Felix Stalder argues that are three key constituents of this condition: the use of existing cultural materials for one’s own production, the way in which new meaning is established as a collective endeavour, and the underlying role of algorithms and automated decision-making processes that reduce and give shape to massive volumes of data. These three characteristics define what Stalder calls ‘the digital condition’. Stalder also examines the profound political implications of this new culture. We stand at a crossroads between post-democracy and the commons, a concentration of power among the few or a genuine widening of participation, with the digital condition offering the potential for starkly different outcomes.

This ambitious and wide-ranging theory of our contemporary digital condition will be of great interest to students and scholars in media and communications, cultural studies, and social, political and cultural theory, as well as to a wider readership interested in the ways in which culture and politics are changing today.”

First published in German as Kultur der Digitalität, Suhrkamp Verlag, Berlin, 2016.

Translated by Valentine Pakis
Publisher Polity Press, Cambridge, UK, 2018
ISBN 9781509519590, 1509519599
xi+204 pages

Reviews (in German)

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A Field Guide to “Fake News” and Other Information Disorders (2018)

8 January 2018, dusan

“This guide explores the use of digital methods to study false viral news, political memes, trolling practices and their social life online.

It responds to an increasing demand for understanding the interplay between digital platforms, misleading information, propaganda and viral content practices, and their influence on politics and public life in democratic societies.”

Compiled by Liliana Bounegru, Jonathan Gray, Tommaso Venturini, and Michele Mauri
Publisher Public Data Lab, January 2018
Creative Commons BY 4.0 License
211 pages

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Angela Nagle: Kill All Normies: Online Culture Wars from 4chan and Tumblr to Trump and the Alt-right (2017)

1 August 2017, dusan

“Recent years have seen a revival of the heated culture wars of the 1990s, but this time its battle ground is the internet. On one side the “alt right” ranges from the once obscure neo-reactionary and white separatist movements, to geeky subcultures like 4chan, to more mainstream manifestations such as the Trump-supporting gay libertarian Milo Yiannopolous. On the other side, a culture of struggle sessions and virtue signalling lurks behind a therapeutic language of trigger warnings and safe spaces. The feminist side of the online culture wars has its equally geeky subcultures right through to its mainstream expression. Kill All Normies explores some of the cultural genealogies and past parallels of these styles and subcultures, drawing from transgressive styles of 60s libertinism and conservative movements, to make the case for a rejection of the perpetual cultural turn.”

Publisher Zero Books, Winchester, UK, 2017
ISBN 9781785355431, 1785355430
120 pages

Reviews: Leif Weatherby (Jacobin, 2017), Olivier Jutel (Overland, 2017), Cameron L Fantastic (2017), Gareth Watkins (Queens Mobs, 2017), Catherine Liu (LA Rev of Books, 2017).

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