Opting Out of Digital Media: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Opting Out of Digital Media

1st Edition

By Bonnie Brennen


133 pages

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Hardback: 9781138601734
pub: 2019-06-04
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pub: 2019-05-15
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Opting out of Digital Media showcases the role of human agency and cultural identity in the development and use of digital technologies. Based on academic research, news and trade reports, popular culture and 105 in-depth interviews, this book explores the contemporary "opting out" trend. It focuses directly on people’s intentions and the many reasons why they engage with or reject digital technologies. 

Author Bonnie Brennen illustrates the nuanced thinking and numerous reasons why people choose to use some new technologies and reject others. Some interviewees opt out of digital technologies because of their ethical, political, environmental, religious or cultural beliefs. Other people consider new media superficial diversions that do not meet their expectations, needs or interests while some citizens worry about issues of privacy and security and reject digital technologies because of their fears. Still other people construct their cultural identities through the choices they make about their use of new media. In many cases the use or nonuse of digital technologies offers specific representations of how people assert their independence, authority and agency over new media, while in some cases the choices that people make about new technologies also illustrate their class position or socioeconomic status.

Opting Out of Digital Media responds to the growing opting out trend, addressing the developments in the unplugging phenomenon. It serves as the ideal text for any reader interested in the role of digital technologies in our lives and how it has become a part of a mainstream movement.


Bonnie Brennen has written a crucially important book for the Disruptions series edited by Bob Franklin. Titled Opting Out of Digital Media, the book arrives at the perfect time. As concerns about issues such as online privacy and the rise of A.I. increasingly dominate the public and scholarly discourse, Brennan’s book offers thoughtful analysis and insight. Employing Raymond Williams’ conceptual framework of cultural materialism and drawing upon extensive and detailed interviews, the book will quickly become an essential hard-copy addition to the literature.

John V. Pavlik is Professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, USA.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: Getting Started

Chapter 2: Digital Temperance Movement

Chapter 3: The Case of Artificial Intelligence

Chapter 4: Coexisting Technologies

Chapter 5: The Culture of Opting Out

Chapter 6: Online Privacy Concerns

Chapter 7: The Case of Social Media

Chapter 8: The Status of Opting Out

About the Author

Bonnie Brennen is Professor Emerita at Marquette University and editor-in-chief of Journalism Practice. Her research addresses relationships between media, culture, technology and society. She is the author/editor of seven books and one novel and her research has been published in edited books and academic journals.

About the Series


Studies in Digital Journalism

The Disruptions: Studies in Digital Journalism series features ground breaking short form publications which engage with cutting edge technological and critical developments and debates in contemporary digital journalism theory and practice. Titles in the series explore emerging hot topics, present detailed case studies and offer new assessments of theoretical and conceptual innovations in relation to subjects including digital journalism ethics, robot news, data journalism, web metrics and online surveillance. Titles respond quickly to the latest developments in the field and showcase the work of best new and established critical thinkers in this vibrant and emerging area.


For more information on submitting a proposal for the series, please contact Bob Franklin at bob@franklin.uk.com

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies