review

Against transparency: Surveillant assemblages, partition and the limits of digital democracy

In this short book, just 64 pages, Clare Birchall addresses the shifting relationships between data and citizens to unpack what big data, transparency and openness, mean for democracy and the government of subjects. It stands as an interesting read alongside Zuboff’s (2019) voluminous The age of surveillance capitalism, not only for the contrast in page count, but also for the distinct theoretical take and the greater focus on the role of the State.

A critical theory of hope

Latin American cosmologies of autonomy

Videogames as a sphere of resistance and play

Jamie Woodcock, well known for his influential ethnography Working the phones: control and resistance in call centers (2017), is a sociologist who focuses on work and writes mostly about digital labour and the gig economy. His latest book, Marx at the arcade: consoles, controllers, and class struggle is an extended version of a previous article (Woodcock, 2016).

Cruel fairy tales

Introduction

Doing qualitative research in times of alternative facts

For a researcher, methodology is always a concern, but in times of alternative facts, post-truth and increased polarization, questions about how knowledge is produced has come to the forefront of my daily practice as researcher and teacher. Discussing methodology with students, in particular interpretations and truth, has in my experience changed character in the light of alternative facts and science being dismissed as a political commentary.

Seduction by contract

In this accessible and well-structured book Bar-Gill takes a close look at the credit card, mortgage, and cell-phone markets. He shows why contracts in these markets look the way they do, what is wrong with them, and what the law can do to help. Providing a dearth of examples Bar-Gill shows in a detailed analysis how in these three markets externalities, asymmetric information, and misperception lead to biased estimates on the part of customers.

Capitalism unwrapped

In a compelling paper that appeared in 2007, Slavoj Zizek recounted the following anecdote, funny and disconcerting at the same time: Italian leftist journalist Marco Cicala had confessed him that after having submitted an article featuring the word ‘capitalism’, the editor had asked him whether using that term was actually his only choice: in case it wasn’t, why not replacing it with a synonymous, like ‘economy’?

Pages

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