Internet and Society. Social Theory in the Information Age


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ISBN: 978-0-203-93777-8

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Type of work: Book


Information Society


The Internet has changed the everyday life of many of us. How has this system transformed our lives and our society? What are the positive effects? What the negative ones? Which opportunities and risks for the development of society and social systems do we find in global informational capitalism/the “Internet society”? This book helps people to find answers to such questions. Its main goal is to work out a theoretical understanding of the relationship of Internet and society. It is an introduction to the social theory of the Internet that addresses how internet and society are related, i.e. how the internet transforms society and social systems and is shaped by social processes. The book is an update of critical social theory to the current societal situation, a neo-Marxist theory of new media that is grounded in a general critical theory of society and capitalism. The main intellectual influences for this book are dialectical thinking (Hegel, Marx, Marcuse) and self-organization theory.

The author discusses the potentials of the Internet for advancing new forms of co-operation and competition in the various subsystems of society such as the ecological, the economic, the political, and the cultural system. The problem that the book addresses is the question how society and Internet need to be shaped by humans in order to avoid risks and maximize human happiness. The book discusses how internet and society can be shaped in ways that advance co-operation, participation, and inclusion and avoid competition, domination, and exclusion. The notion of transnational informational capitalism is introduced and elaborated throughout the book. Topics addressed in the book include: self-organization in nature, self-organization in society, foundations of social theory, theory of capitalism, transnational informational capitalism, Web 2.0, social software, ecological sustainability and ICTs, informational monopolies, strategies of accumulation related to the Internet, MySpace, YouTube, Wikipedia, Google, Open Source, Free Software, filesharing, knowledge labor, class theory, multitude and Empire (Hardt and Negri), class theory in informational capitalism, gift internet economy, commodity internet economy, gift commodity internet economy, digital divide, eParticipation, digital democracy, democratic theory, information warfare, electronic surveillance, cyberprotest, the movement for democratic globalization (“anti-globalization”), virtual communities, social networking platforms, cyberstalking, social relations online, individualization and isolation online, Internet addiction, cyberculture, cyberethics, etc.