In times of global capitalist crisis we are witnessing a return of critique in the form of a surging interest in critical theories (such as the critical political economy of Karl Marx) and social rebellions as a reaction to the commodification and instrumentalization of everything. On one hand, there are overdrawn claims that social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc) have caused uproars in countries like Tunisia and Egypt. On the other hand, the question arises as to what actual role social media play in contemporary capitalism, crisis, rebellions, the strengthening of the commons, and the potential creation of participatory democracy. The commodification of everything has resulted also in a commodification of the communication commons, including Internet communication that is today largely commercial in character.
This book deals with the questions of what kind of society and what kind of Internet are desirable, how capitalism, power structures and social media are connected, how political struggles are connected to social media, what current developments of the Internet and society tell us about potential futures, how an alternative Internet can look like, and how a participatory, commons-based Internet and a co-operative, participatory, sustainable information society can be achieved.
1. Introduction: Critique, Social Media and the Information Society in the Age of Capitalist Crisis Christian Fuchs and Marisol Sandoval Part I: Critical Studies of the Information Society 2. Critique of the Political Economy of Informational Capitalism and Social Media Christian Fuchs 3. Potentials and Risks for Creating a Global Sustainable Information Society Wolfgang Hofkirchner 4. Critical Studies of Contemporary Informational Capitalism: The Perspective of Emerging Scholars Sebastian Sevignani, Robert Prey, Marisol Sandoval, Thomas Allmer, Jernej Amon Prodnik and Verena Kreilinger 5. Social Informatics and Ethics: Towards the Good Information and Communication Society Gunilla Bradley Part II: Critical Internet- and Social Media-Studies 6. Great Refusal or Long March: How to Think About the Internet Andrew Feenberg 7. Producing Consumerism: Commodities, Ideologies, Practices Graham Murdock 8. Social Media?: The Unsocial Character of Capitalist Media Marisol Sandoval 9. The Global Worker and the Digital Front Nick Dyer-Witheford 10. Alienation’s Returns Mark Andrejevic 11. Social Media and Political Participation: Discourse and Deflection Peter Dahlgren 12. "The Architecture of Participation": For Citizens or Consumers? Tobias Olsson Part III: Critical Studies of Communication Labour 13. Precarious Times, Precarious Work: A Feminist Political Economy of Freelance Journalists in Canada and the United States Catherine McKercher 14. Flight as Fight: Re-Negotiating the Work of Journalism Margareta Melin 15. Marx is Back, But Will Knowledge Workers of the World Unite?: On the Critical Study of Labour, Media and Communication Today Vincent Mosco