Category: Social studies of science and technology

IT professionals – a pervasive lack of control?

IT professionals – a pervasive lack of control?

In an extract from a new book that looks at Marx’s theory of alienation and Information and Communication Technologies, author Mike Healy outlines an agenda for future research on the key occupation of IT professionals and why it would need to consider workers’ alienation, not narrow job satisfaction. Marx and the Digital Machines: Alienation, Technology, Capitalism was published on 16th October, available open access.

Issues such as the application of project methodologies, the control the professional (and indeed the profession as a whole) has over the industry, the rapid commodification of skills such as programming, software maintenance and testing, and business processes, could all benefit from using Marx’s theory of alienation. Research that takes as its focus the role of the ICT professional in promoting the ethical use of ICT could benefit from a shift of perspective that sees the professional as one in command to a view of the professional as someone who is powerless and who cannot determine what they make, nor for whom or how it gets made. Research could also investigate what coping and resistance strategies they employ to deal with their alienated condition. Further research using theories of alienation and PAR [Participatory Action Research] would provide deeper insights into the problems ICT professionals face such as, for example, the contradiction discussed … between what they feel about their occupations and what they would do if given the opportunity to quit their jobs. Research on ICT professionals vigorously embracing Marx’s theory of alienation would enable it to move beyond the straitjacket of, and the inadequate categories associated with, job satisfaction thereby offering a greater explanation for, rather than a description of, the conditions in which ICT professionals work.
(From Chapter 8: Critique and Conclusion p. 126)

Is the Price of Musical Ambition Too High?

Is the Price of Musical Ambition Too High?

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. Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave in their book CAN MUSIC MAKE YOU SICK? turn this view on its head. By listening to how musicians understand and experience their working lives, they show that whilst making music is therapeutic, making a career from music can be traumatic.

Listen to Sally Anne Gross discuss the authors’ findings on Robert Elms BBC Radio London, 11.00 Saturday 26th. Jason Solomons stands in.

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.’ 

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

 

THE DIGITAL COMMONS MEETS BIG TECH

THE DIGITAL COMMONS MEETS BIG TECH

Just out from UWP is Benjamin Birkinbine’s compelling book account (Incorporating the Digital Commons) of how corporate actors first tried to close down then started to work with the community of open source software producers. As interest and debate in the knowledge commons grows the book is a timely reminder of the history of the internet and tech sector and the need for a political economy analysis of such developments.

The fourteenth title in our CDSMS series book is now out open access in three digital formats and in paperback.

Critical Digital and Social Media Studies: New Call for Book Submissions

Critical Digital and Social Media Studies: New Call for Book Submissions

Critical Digital and Social Media Studies is an established book series edited by Professor Christian Fuchs on behalf of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies and published by the University of Westminster Press (UWP). We invite submissions of book proposals that fall within the scope of the series.

CALL DETAILS After the publication of twelve titles in the series (and several others commissioned for 2020) we invite submission of book proposals (adhering to the guidelines set out below) as one document with one full chapter for book titles in the range of 35,000-80,000 words. The books in the series are published online in an open access format available online without payment using a Creative Commons licence (CC-BY-NC-ND) and simultaneously as affordable paperbacks. We are able to publish a number of books in the call without any book processing charges for authors. Potential authors are welcome to contact the series editor outside of the initial time frame of this call for book proposals but should note that priority for funding support for suitable projects will be given to those proposals meeting the deadline. There is a preference for the submission of proposals for books whose writing can be finished and that can be submitted to UWP within the next 6-15 months. In the event of a surplus of strong proposals preference will be given to single-authored book proposals over edited volumes.

Outside these time frames authors are welcome to submit to the publisher a.lockett[at]westminster.ac.uk but will be notified if funding has already been allocated and the prospective date for the next call for publication. Authors who have access to open access fee-funding (e.g. covered by research project funding, universities or other institutions) that can cover the fees for layout and production are welcome to contact the publisher outside of the submission dates, but should note selection is based only on grounds of quality and suitability for the series notwithstanding that the series wishes to welcome as many suitable titles as possible. We welcome submissions to our submissions system with one (exactly one) uploaded sample chapter. We can only accept suggestions for books written in English. For further details see the Proposal Guidance below or if you have questions about the publishing process email a.lockett[at]westminster.ac.uk.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE Monday 20 January 2020 23:59 BST. Submissions should be made via UWP’s book proposal submission system at https://uwp.rua.re

Any prior queries may be sent by e-mail to Andrew Lockett (University of Westminster Press Manager), A.Lockett[at]westminster.ac.uk. Submissions will no longer be accepted by email. Regardless of other contact, all proposals for consideration have to be presented via https://uwp.rua.re.

CRITICAL DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA STUDIES: AIMS AND SCOPE
The book series “Critical Digital and Social Media Studies” publishes books that critically study the role of the Internet, digital and social media in society and make critical interventions. Its publications analyse how power structures, digital capitalism, ideology, domination, social struggles shape and are shaped by digital and social media. They use and develop critical theories, are profoundly theoretical, and discuss the political relevance and implications of the studied topics. The book series understands itself as a critical theory forum for Internet and social media research that makes critical interventions into contemporary political topics in the context of digital and social media. It is also interested in publishing works that based on critical theory foundations develop and apply critical social media research methods that challenge digital positivism. It furthermore is interested in digital media ethics that are grounded in critical social theories and critical philosophy. The book series’ understanding of critical theory and critique is grounded in approaches such as critical political economy and Frankfurt School critical theory.

TOPICS
Example topics that the book series is interested in include: the political economy of digital and social media; digital and informational capitalism; digital labour; ideology critique in the age of social media; new developments of critical theory in the age of digital and social media; critical studies of advertising and consumer culture online; critical social media research methods; critical digital and social media ethics; working class struggles in the age of social media; the relationship of class, gender and race in the context of digital and social media; the critical analysis of the implications of big data, cloud computing, digital positivism, the Internet of things, predictive online analytics, the sharing economy, location- based data and mobile media, etc.; the role of classical critical theories for studying digital and social media; alternative social media and Internet platforms; the public sphere in the age of digital media; the critical study of the Internet economy; critical perspectives on digital democracy; critical case studies of online prosumption; public service digital and social media; commons-based digital and social media; subjectivity, consciousness, affects, worldviews and moral values in the age of digital and social media; digital art and culture in the context of critical theory; environmental and ecological aspects of digital capitalism and digital consumer culture. Of particular interest is new work in the area of critical media/communication studies in the context of digital media and authoritarianism/populism, feminist political economy, critical perspectives on digital industries and digital labour, Marxism and AI, digital commons/digital public services/public service Internet.

PROPOSAL GUIDANCE
If you would like to know if UWP is interested in a proposal you will receive the swiftest answer if you submit via the RUA system (https://uwp.rua.re). Authors/editors need to register and complete a questionnaire. Authors submitting to this call for the CDSMS series must upload one sample chapter to their submission. The following indicates in general terms what will be requested:

UWP proposals are to be presented in response to a questionnaire

Preview of UWP Book Proposal Questionnaire

Book Title     

Subtitle          

Submitting Author/Editor              

Title and subtitle of book   

Contact email          

Email of submitting author or editor only         

Institution/affiliation of submitting author or editor only

Full author and editor details and short biography (120 words maximum) 

Anticipated Completion Date       

Total wordlength    

Sample chapter        

Sample material is always useful to receive. Please attach to/upload with contents and chapter plan

Case for the book
Relation to wider academic fields and disciplines; this may also include author/editor’s detailing relevant previous publications and history of research underlying the book.

Longer summary
Overview of the book’s aims, maximum 500 words.

Contents and chapter plan
For each chapter please include the title, and a paragraph of description (at least half of the full the length of a journal abstract) about its content and coverage. If an edited volume please provide contributor affiliations and up to three sentences biography including their most significant and relevant publications. The chapter plan should include a proposed length for each chapter as well as total length inclusive of notes and apparatus and details of any appendices.

Readership and how to reach it
Please detail core readership and subject areas the book would appeal to and cover, and details of any tertiary audiences either in terms of general interest or other academic fields. Please indicate how readers in your field are best reached. What factors do you think are most relevant in terms of ensuring the book makes an impact? Where in particular in terms might specialist reviews or coverage be sought? Lastly identify any other important aspects relating to marketing coverage including conferences, proposed events that might be organised or email or social media channels that could be utilised.

Competing and related books
Offer an account of competing titles and books closest resembling that in your proposal. Where competition is not relevant indicate any books serving as role models (or anti role models) or what in the absence of a competing title is available to read in the field.

Additional requirements
If relevant please indicate any presentation preferences for typesetting or any production requirements for the book including use of illustration, data, specialist typography or colour printing. Any thoughts on presentation/book format that are important and specific to the project including use of copyright material of any kind including imagery or supplementary files.

Series proposals are peer-reviewed in accordance with standard university press practice via the series editor, editorial board members and additional external referees where appropriate.

PUBLISHED and FORTHCOMING IN THE SERIES (to early 2020)
Critical Theory of Communication: New Readings of Lukács, Adorno, Marcuse, Honneth and Habermas in the Age of the Internet Christian Fuchs

Knowledge in the Age of Digital Capitalism: An Introduction to Cognitive ­Materialism Mariano Zukerfeld

Politicizing Digital Space: Theory, the Internet, and Renewing Democracy Trevor Garrison Smith

Capital, State, Empire: The New American Way of Digital Warfare Scott Timcke

The Spectacle 2.0: Reading Debord in the Context of Digital Capitalism Edited by Marco Briziarelli and Emiliana Armano

The Big Data Agenda: Data Ethics and Critical Data Studies Annika Richterich

Social Capital Online: Alienation and Accumulation Kane X. Faucher

The Propaganda Model Today: Filtering Perception and Awareness Edited by Joan Pedro-Carañana, Daniel Broudy and Jeffery Klaehn

Critical Theory and Authoritarian Populism Edited by Jeremiah Morelock

Peer to Peer: The Commons Manifesto Michel Bauwens, Vasilis Kostakis, and Alex Pazaitis

Bubbles and Machines: Gender, Information and Financial Crises Micky Lee

Cultural Crowdfunding: Platform Capitalism, Labour and Globalization Edited by Vincent Rouzé

Forthcoming

The Condition of Digitality: A Post-Modern ­Marxism for the Practice of Digital Life ( Robert Hassan

Incorporating the Digital Commons: Corporate Involvement in Free and Open Source Software Benjamin J. Birkinbine

Communication and Capitalism: A Critical Theory Christian Fuchs

EDITORIAL BOARD:
Dr Thomas Allmer, University of Innsbruck, Austria.
Prof Mark Andrejevic, Pomona College, USA
Dr Miriyam Aouragh, University of Westminster, UK
Charles Brown, University of Westminster, UK
Dr Eran Fisher, Open University of Israel
Dr Peter Goodwin, University of Westminster, UK
Prof Jonathan Hardy, University of East London, UK
Dr Kylie Jarrett, Maynooth University, Ireland
Dr Anastasia Kavada, University of Westminster, UK
Dr Maria Michalis, University of Westminster, UK
Dr Stefania Milan, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Dr Vincent Mosco, Queens University, Canada
Prof Jack L Qiu, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Dr Jernej Amon Prodnik, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dr Marisol Sandoval, City University London, UK
Dr Sebastian Sevignani, Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Germany
Dr Pieter Verdegem, University of Westminster

Critical Digital and Social Media Studies
www.uwestminsterpress.co.uk