Author: Publishing Manager

New theory of Communciation and Capitalism from Christian Fuchs

New theory of Communciation and Capitalism from Christian Fuchs

UWP‘s latest open access book title in the CDSMS series, Communication and Capitalism: A Critical Theory by Christian Fuchs has just been released. Below a short extract from the introduction where the author explains’s his approach in the book.

I have become convinced that an update of Marx’s theory and Hegelian philosophy in the 21st century is a viable approach for critical theory and that this approach does not need to borrow from complexity theory in order to be consistent and offer convincing explanations. Hegelian Marxism has a rich and diverse tradition and history that is today often forgotten, but possesses an immense intellectual and political wealth that 21st century critical theory can build on. There is a rich tradition of Marxist theory that can inform the critical study of society, communication, and culture. Because of the neoliberal turn and the postmodern turn, many Marxist approaches to the study of society, communication, and culture have been forgotten. I build on Marx and theories inspired by Marx in order to ground a Marxist theory of communication. […]

By working through a multitude of analyses of concrete societal and communication phenomena I have over the years developed a range of theoretical insights. These insights, concepts, and analyses have never been static, but have developed. Critical theory is itself dialectical. By working through various critical and bourgeois theories and working out analyses of a range of social phenomena (including privacy, surveillance, digital labour, social media, the Internet, authoritarianism, nationalism, protest, advertising, globalisation, imperialism, nature, sustainability, participation, democracy, the public sphere, culture, communities, etc.), I have established in different places and my mind some elements of a critical, dialectical theory of capitalism and communication.’ 

Network ideologies and the myth of the Internet

Network ideologies and the myth of the Internet

UWP‘s latest title The Internet Myth by Paolo Bory has just been released, available in print and open access. Below we have extracted the concluding paragraph from an enlightening Preface by Gabriele Balbi explaining why research like Bory’s is so important in a contemporary setting in understanding digital culture and what the internet has come to mean. And how.

Internet imaginaries, ideologies, narratives, and myths (all terms used and explained by Paolo in his book) take time to be built, spread, accepted, and maybe then killed by society. They all have effects in the long term, they need long periods to be metabolized, and their effects are persistent even if often unnoticed. This book uses history, one of the few disciplines able to grasp long-term changes and continuities, in order to understand crucial issues in the relationships between contemporary societies and the Internet. It is an attempt to retrace how the digital culture today is based on forgotten ideas, to revitalize the powerful and persistent narratives behind failed projects, and to understand how the Internet was built with a mix of mythologies, human needs and limits. Every technology of communication is a byproduct of the society that created it. And in every society, imaginaries, ideologies, narratives, and myths play a crucial role in establishing a taken-for-granted and yet powerful system of looking at the world. This book ultimately aims to study the habitus where the Internet was created and, in the end, to better understand the ways in which contemporary societies decide to imagine, show, and limit themselves

The Internet Myth is the second of our Critical and Digital Social Media Studies series titles looking at digital and internet history in 2020, the other Incorporating the Digital Commons by Benjamine Birkinbine. Robert Hassan explored the conceptual shift to the digital too since 1989, in The Condition of Digitality (also 2020).

PUBLISHING, CULTURAL STUDIES AND THE EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER

PUBLISHING, CULTURAL STUDIES AND THE EARLY CAREER RESEARCHER

Inspired by panel discussions at the Cultural Studies Association of 2019 in New Orleans regarding publishing experiences of early career researchers, Andrew Lockett, Press Manager of the University of Westminster Press asked CSA President Toby Miller for his thoughts on the topic.

Toby Miller is Stuart Hall Professor of Cultural Studies, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana—Cuajimalpa and Research Professor of the Graduate Division, University of California, Riverside. Prior to Riverside, he was a Professor at New York University for eleven years. The author and editor of over forty books, his work has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, Turkish, German, Italian, Farsi, French, Urdu, and Swedish. His most recent volumes are How Green is Your Smartphone? (co-authored, 2020), El Trabajo Cultural (2018), Greenwashing Culture (2018), Greenwashing Sport (2018), The Routledge Companion to Global Cultural Policy (co-edited, 2018), Global Media Studies (co-authored, 2015), The Routledge Companion to Global Popular Culture (edited, 2015), Greening the Media (co-authored, 2012) and Blow Up the Humanities (2012). The Persistence of Violence: Colombian Popular Culture (2020) is in press. He is President of the Cultural Studies Association (US). Toby can be contacted at tobym69@icloud.com and his adventures scrutinized at www.tobymiller.org. Andrew Lockett prior to working at University of Westminster Press, has worked at BFI Publishing, Oxford University Press and Routledge and in trade publishing in a variety of editorial and management roles. 

AL: A great pleasure to talk in New Orleans and now digitally. Can I ask whether you think (and lets predate this to before COVID-19 to simplify) whether you feel the current publishing environment is uniquely difficult for early career researchers in Cultural Studies. Why might that be so?

TM: I think it is complicated because of several factors. First, in the English language Cultural Studies never succeeded—rarely tried to succeed—as an undergraduate major, the critical pathway to parthenogenesis and recognition. Its publishing salad days derived from its uptake by US literary studies and British media studies, both of which had solid undergraduate channels—at one time! So the exciting early days of self-publishing, followed by an uptake by for-profit houses and university presses, and so on did not lead to a welter of impact beyond grad school. Second, in other major sites, where Cultural Studies existed before it did in that Anglo world, such as Latin America, people did not publish in English and were rarely translated. Nowadays, everyone there is under pressure to publish in English, which is weakening the field and sliding the outcome into the world of mindless grant-getting and evaluation that scars UK higher education, for example. So if you’re a really radical Cultural Studies person, publishing in or beyond English, the prospects are not as they once were.

AL: One senior scholar made the argument that Cultural Studies has always felt embattled and that it was tough back in the day to find secure employment and will continue to be so within a university system that has yet to really institutionalise Cultural Studies in its structures: in many disciplines its presence is felt but with no power base as such in many universities. But it feels the casualisation of academic labour is of a different order taking us beyond that. Publishing in this context can feel like an additional chore on top of everything else, notably teaching. What encouragement do you find to counter these gloomy views?

TM: People who elude the granting world of obeisance to state and capital still do great work; Cultural Studies continues to appeal to those traditionally excluded from academic circles and who wish to become subjects as well as objects of knowledge; there are still interesting pockets in the Anglo countries, though diminishingly so; and loads of interesting material emanates from Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Singapore, and Colombia. The tired struggle between political economy, ethnography, and textual analysis has largely been resolved—do all three or you’re not doing interesting things; but few actually manage that.

AL: Hierarchies and league tables are everywhere in Higher Education and journals are ‘ranked’ often by systems and managers who are not familiar with every discipline. Many journals pride themselves on rejection rates, yet the economics of publishing favour journals who publish a lot. These are some issues I see but what advice would you offer ECRs in considering which journals to publish in? And if the top journals seem out of reach for whatever reason, how important is to publish per se, and how important to hold back and not rush ahead for the speediest solution?

TM: I think it is ill-advised to follow the logics of states, which dominate these things, because they are creatures of fashion and illogic. The best guide is this: (1) do at least the minimum to satisfy your immediate bosses (2) do at least the minimum to satisfy the state (3) understanding that what both those hegemons announce as essential may be irrelevant in their or their successors’ eyes two minutes or years later (4) do what the discipline where you are likely to find or continue employment and your favourite writers do; and (5) never allow any of the first two points in particular to overdetermine things, most importantly, your passion and what made you become an academic in the first place.

AL: Cultural Studies generally prides itself on inclusiveness, diversity and anti-elitism, yet many ECR’s feel they have not choice for career reasons to play the prestige game when it comes to publishing. Would you advise looking at working with major university presses and nimbler commercial outfits to spread the risk and reach different audiences? Or is it best to go for the bigger fish and (in some cases) their greater capacity to reach readers and impress on CVs?  What about textbooks, that seem not to get in the UK system any official recognition via funding or normal promotional criteria; should an ECR without a permanent post allow any time for writing a teaching text (short or long) with time at such a premium? 

TM: See my answer above, really. Challenge the idea that textbooks and research monographs are entirely separate (think of and cite the old ‘Critical Accents’ series from Methuen) but if forced to write things with essay questions etc included, don’t bother to include original research. Regarding journals, get your senior faculty to challenge lists and rankings, form solidarity groupings across your country against that, and cite instances where such rankings nonsense has flopped and been dropped (such as Cultural Studies in the Research Excellence Framework of the UK and Australia’s Research Council).

AL: A thesis remains a prime manifestation of intellectual labour for any young scholar but the steps to publishing a book based on one can seem for some as tortuous as the thesis completion itself. Is it sometimes best to move on would you say?

TM: This depends a lot on two factors—the first is tenure, and in the US humanities, a Research One school generally still requires the publication of a monograph; the second is the market. Too many books on too many trivial topics are produced, for which publishers have my sympathy. That will end.

AL: I was struck in New Orleans by the power some in the discussions felt was wielded by publishers with little alternative to waiting very long intervals for decisions sometimes rather arbitrary seeming. Do you think multiple submission of a book title is a reasonable thing for an ECR to do? And to chase editors if delays seem too long even though the fear is that this will rile or discourage editors from accepting a title when so many other submissions are under consideration?

TM: Yes, I do. Multiple submission of mss was once essentially banned, but now that only really applies with journal articles.

AL: In certain contexts I have argued for the inevitability of some self publishing options being needed in the humanities (Lockett 2018 ‘Monographs on the Move’) in part to come to terms with a perceived declining library market and in part to open out the work of Cultural studies to wider audiences from other disciplines and the wider public. Do you have any hopes for DIY initiatives, self-publishing or wider structures that could support a public commons for publishing in the progressive humanities?

TM: Yes, and people need start-up packages from schools to assist with that, from printing enough copies for your loved ones and tenure committees to providing proper editing and distribution on line on a not-for-profit basis.

AL: Is the CSA able to look at initiatives of its own in advising ECR’s on publishing or offering support for other key elements in early career stages beyond that excellent panel in New Orleans 2019?

TM: We are a relatively small, artisanal body. We often have workshops for job seekers at our conferences and also have ongoing working groups covering particular fields of endeavor plus lots of people ask for and give advice, but this is not done at the level of larger entities.

AL: What does interdisciplinarity mean in 2020? And in publishing specifically?

TM: It means doing more than drawing on other humanities people to make your point—it means welding science, the social sciences, and the humanities together, through auto-didacticism and collaboration. It means looking to publish in three venues: one’s disciplinary housing; social-movement spheres; and the bourgeois media.

AL: One last question. Over the time we’ve known each other you have added Spanish to your intellectual armoury. This I imagine has been the work of many years: would you outline some of the benefits for you as a scholar in terms of collaboration and enlarging your understanding of key research fields such as television studies or the media and the environment? 

TM: I went to language school for a week many years ago and had the benefit of many hours of people patiently speaking to me while I floundered, but most of my learning was done in the street or by the hearth rather than in the classroom or language laboratory. I have been fortunate to meet numerous open-hearted and brilliant researchers across the Americas whose example has taken me beyond many assumptions that come from my time in the Anglo world. Because it’s hard to survive on a salary here, people often hold multiple jobs, run not-for-profits, write for money, and so on; they blend things in forms that traditional norms eschew; and they keep mixing the social sciences and humanities in ways that the Global North claims to do, but fails to do very fully.

AL: Speaking of Latin America I can’t forgo mentioning that many of us in the Global North only recently became fully aware that the continent has led the way in Open Access for many years with open, simple but effective public infrastructures such as SciELO, CLASCO, Redalyc and AmeliCA(1) . And that I’ve seen some signs in our longstanding media journal Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture from contributors in the region citing interesting theory that should probably be better known in the North. It might be nice for you to sign off by suggesting a few writers or publications from Latin America you think today’s ECR’s and older scholars in Cultural Studies should be paying attention to but maybe aren’t yet. What or who do you recommend first? 

TM: Akuavi Adonon, Enrique Uribe Jongbloed, Jorge Saavedra Utman, Rosalía Winocur, Daniel Mato, Nancy Regina Gomez Arrieta, Bianca Freire-Medeiros …

AL: Thank you Toby.

  1. See Sam Moore’s and Janneke Adema’s recent discussion of open access governance infrastructures.
CDSMS series board expands

CDSMS series board expands

University of Westminster Press flagship series Critical Digital and Social Media Studies today announces new editorial board members Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Arwid Lund, Safiya Noble , Sarah Roberts, Bingqing Xia and Mariano Zukerfeld joining the established board as the series grows with its fourteenth title The Internet Myth: From the Internet Imaginary to Network Ideologies  by Paolo Bory published on 29 April 2020 and the fifteenth title Communication and Capitalism; A Critical Theory by series editor Christian Fuchs published on 20 May 2020.

The CDSMS series board now comprises: Thomas Allmer, Mark Andrejevic, Miriyam Aouragh, Charles Brown, Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Eran Fisher, Peter Goodwin, Jonathan Hardy, Kylie Jarrett, Anastasia Kavada, Arwid Lund, Maria Michalis, Stefania Milan, Vincent Mosco, Safiya Noble, Jernej Amon Prodnik, Jack Qiu, Sarah Roberts, Marisol Sandoval, Sebastian Sevignani, Pieter Verdegem, Bingqing Xia, Mariano Zukerfeld. Series Editor: Christian Fuchs. Titles (all published open access) already available in order of publication in the CDSMS series are:

Critical Theory of Communication: New Readings of Lukács, Adorno, Marcuse, Honneth and Habermas in the Age of the Internet
Christian Fuchs 
https://doi.org/10.16997/book1

Knowledge in the Age of Digital Capitalism: An Introduction to Cognitive Materialism
Mariano Zukerfeld
https://doi.org/10.16997/book3

Politicizing Digital Space: Theory, the Internet, and Renewing Democracy
Trevor Garrison Smith
https://doi.org/10.16997/book5

Capital, State, Empire: The New American Way of Digital Warfare
Scott Timcke
https://doi.org/10.16997/book6

The Spectacle 2.0: Reading Debord in the Context of Digital Capitalism
Edited by Marco Briziarelli and Emiliana Armano
https://doi.org/10.16997/book11

The Big Data Agenda: Data Ethics and Critical Data Studies
Annika Richterich
https://doi.org/10.16997/book14

Social Capital Online: Alienation and Accumulation
Kane X. Faucher
https://doi.org/10.16997/book16

The Propaganda Model Today: Filtering Perception and Awareness
Edited by Joan Pedro-Carañana, Daniel Broudy and Jeffery Klaehn
https://doi.org/10.16997/book27

Critical Theory and Authoritarian Populism
Edited by Jeremiah Morelock
https://doi.org/10.16997/book30

Peer to Peer: The Commons Manifesto
Michel Bauwens, Vasilis Kostakis, and Alex Pazaitis
https://doi.org/10.16997/book33

Bubbles and Machines: Gender, Information and Financial Crises
Micky Lee 
https://doi.org/10.16997/book34

Cultural Crowdfunding: Platform Capitalism, Labour, and Globalization 
Edited by Vincent Rouzé 
https://doi.org/10.16997/book38

The Condition of Digitality: A Post-Modern Marxism for the Practice of Digital Life
Robert Hassan
https://doi.org/10.16997/book44

Incorporating the Digital Commons: Corporate Involvement in Free and Open Source Software
Benjamin J. Birkinbine
https://doi.org/10.16997/book39

 

Journal of Deliberative Democracy relaunched

Journal of Deliberative Democracy relaunched

UWP is delighted to announce a new open access journal within its roster, the Journal of Deliberative Democracy. In the journal’s own words:

‘This journal was previously published as the International Journal for Public Participation (2007-2010) and, in November 2010, merged with the Journal for Public Deliberation as a joint venture between the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and IAP2. This initiative aimed to extend the discourse in the field benefiting from firsthand experience of public participation practitioners. In 2020, the journal was relaunched as the Journal of Deliberative Democracy. Funding for the migration of back content was provided by Åbo Akademi and Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance.

The journal has a truly global team of editorials and editorial board including scholars from Brazil, Japan, Lebanon, Ghana as well as leading universities in Europe, USA, New Zealand and other countries. The lead editors are Nicole Curato, University of Canberra, Kim Strandberg, Åbo Akademi University, Finland, Graham Smith of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster and André Bächtiger of the University of Stuttgart.

WPCC new issue on Viral Media released

WPCC new issue on Viral Media released

WPCC’s latest issue edited by Ansastasia Denisova is all about messages, audiences and wildfire social media.

Reflections on:

toxic platforms and black cyberfeminism
nostalgia and radio
journalistic autonomy in the digital native press
virulent anti-communism
play, outrage and cricket
making memes
the viral media metaphor

Open access as always. Editorial concludes that it may be ‘reasonable to limit the expanse of the viral flows and to question the algorithmic patterns of digital platforms’. As in the media, so in society – one could say.