1st Edition

The New Patriarchs of Digital Capitalism
Celebrity Tech Founders and Networks of Power

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after June 24, 2021
ISBN 9780367260156
June 24, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
270 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

USD $44.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

This book offers an original critique of the billionaire founders of US West Coast tech companies, addressing their celebrity, influence and ideology, their group dynamics and the role they play in the wider sociocultural and political formations of digital capitalism.

Interrogating not only the founders’ political and economic ambitions, but also how their corporations are omnipresent in our everyday lives, the authors provide robust evidence that a specific kind of patriarchal power has emerged as digital capitalism’s mode of command. The ‘New Patriarchs’ examined over the course of the book include: Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, Elon Musk of Tesla, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, serial investor Peter Thiel as well as Sheryl Sandberg. The book analyses how these people legitimate their rapidly acquired power, tying a novel kind of socially awkward but ‘visionary’ masculinity to near complete dominance of their companies. Drawing on a ten million word digital concordance, the authors intervene in feminist debates on patriarchy, masculinity and postfeminism, locating the authority of these founders as emanating from a specifically racialised structure of power tied to imaginaries of the American Frontier, the patriarchal household and settler-colonialism.

This is an important interdisciplinary contribution suitable for researchers and students across Digital Media, Media and Communication, Gender and Cultural Studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The New Patriarchs

Chapter 1: Theorising the Patriarchal Network

Chapter 2: Elon Musk: Geek masculinity and marketing the celebrity founder

Chapter 3: Jeff Bezos: Beyond the American frontier

Chapter 4: Mark Zuckerberg’s Corporate Household

Chapter 5: Peter Thiel’s Technological Frontiers

Chapter 6: Endorsed by Sheryl Sandberg: Resilience Not Resistance

Chapter 7: The Limits of Liberalism: Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin


Appendix: A concordance of popular books on digital capitalism

View More



Ben Little is a lecturer in Media and Cultural Politics and Associate Dean of Engagement and Innovation in the faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of East Anglia. He works on celebrity, activism, generation and digital culture. His last book (with Jane Arthurs) was Russell Brand: Comedy, Celebrity, Politics (2016). He is part of the editorial collective of Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture, series editor of generational politics series Radical Future and a director of Lawrence and Wishart.

In the late 1990s, Ben set up a computer company and worked for a dotcom start-up, but he dropped out of the tech industry to focus on his studies. If this book makes millions, he will set up a fund to help down-at-heel tech entrepreneurs finish their degrees.

Alison Winch is a lecturer in media studies at the University of East Anglia. Her books include Girlfriends and Postfeminist Sisterhood (Palgrave 2013) and the poetry collection Darling, It’s Me (Penned in the Margins 2019). She is part of the editorial collective for Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture. 


"For some time now, media scholars, political scientists and public commentators have been working to make sense of the manifold implications of data capitalism, surveillance culture and Big Tech ownership on democracy, the state and the future of society more generally. This book

- Dr. Debbie Ging, Associate Professor of Media Studies, Dublin City University