Reading list

Should We All Log Off? Verso Student Reading on the Politics of Digital Culture

How should we understand the digital economy?

Verso Books22 August 2023

Should We All Log Off? Verso Student Reading on the Politics of Digital Culture

We all live online now. What does that mean for our understanding of politics?

These books all approach the question of the politics of mass culture within capitalism, from Adorno’s critique of the culture industry to Debord’s society of the spectacle to Baudrillard’s theory of a world where the distinction between the real and the image has been totally blurred. What can we learn from these past critiques to make sense of the rise and political function of digital culture today?

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See all our recommended Student Reading here.

The Internet Con
When the tech platforms promised a future of "connection," they were lying. They said their "walled gardens" would keep us safe, but those were prison walls.The platforms locked us into their syste...
Glitch Feminism
The divide between the digital and the real world no longer exists: we are connected all the time. How do we find out who we are within this digital era? Where do we create the space to explore our...
Scorched Earth
Selected as one of LitHub's 38 Favorite Books of 2022Finalist for the 2022 Big Other Book Award for NonfictionIn this uncompromising essay, Jonathan Crary presents the obvious but unsayable reality...
Aesthetics and Politics
No other country and no other period has produced a tradition of major aesthetic debate to compare with that which unfolded in German culture from the 1930s to the 1950s. In Aesthetics and Politics...
Uncomputable
Narrating some lesser known episodes from the deep history of digital machines, Alexander R. Galloway explains the technology that drives the world today, and the fascinating people who brought the...
Humankind
What is it that makes humans human? As science and technology challenge the boundaries between life and non-life, between organic and inorganic, this ancient question is more timely than ever. Accl...
For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign
What if the problems of modern society don't come from production, but rather consumption and the system of cultural signs? In this classic work from the defining intellectual of the postmodern, Je...
New Dark Age
From the highly acclaimed author of WAYS OF BEING. We live in times of increasing inscrutability. Our news feeds are filled with unverified, unverifiable speculation, much of it automatically gener...
Breaking Things at Work
In the Nineteenth-century, English textile workers responded to the introduction of new technologies on the factory floor by smashing them to bits. For years the Luddites roamed the English country...
Revolutionary Mathematics
Our finances, politics, media, opportunities, information, shopping and knowledge production are mediated through algorithms and their statistical approaches to knowledge; increasingly, these metho...
Psychopolitics

Psychopolitics

Byung-Chul Han, a star of German philosophy, continues his passionate critique of neoliberalism, trenchantly describing a regime of technological domination that, in contrast to Foucault’s biopower...
Capital Is Dead
In this radical and visionary new book, McKenzie Wark argues that the all-pervasive presence of data in our networked society has given rise to a new mode of production, one not ruled over by capit...
Future Histories
The key to understanding technology lies not in the future--but in the past. That's the contention of Lizzie O'Shea's Future Histories, a grand tour through past and present to explore the practica...
Silicon Values
The Internet once promised to be a place of extraordinary freedom beyond the control of money or politics, but today corporations and platforms exercise more control over our ability to access info...
Radical Technologies
Everywhere we turn, a startling new device promises to transfigure our lives. But at what cost? In this urgent and revelatory excavation of our Information Age, leading technology thinker Adam Gree...
Fully Automated Luxury Communism
Fully Automated Luxury Communism promises a radically new left future for everyone. New technologies will liberate us from work, providing the opportunity to build a society beyond both capitalism ...
Road to Nowhere
Silicon Valley wants us to believe that technology will revolutionize our cities and the ways we move around. Autonomous vehicles will make us safer, greener, and more efficient. On-demand servi...
The Knowledge Economy
Adam Smith and Karl Marx recognized that the best way to understand the economy is to study the most advanced practice of production. Today that practice is no longer conventional manufacturing: it...
Internet for the People
In Internet for the People, leading tech writer Ben Tarnoff offers an answer. The internet is broken, he argues, because it is owned by private firms and run for profit. Google annihilates your pri...
The Emancipated Spectator
The theorists of art and film commonly depict the modern audience as aesthetically and politically passive. In response, both artists and thinkers have sought to transform the spectator into an act...
The Future of the Image
In The Future of the Image, Jacques Rancière develops a fascinating new concept of the image in contemporary art, showing how art and politics have always been intrinsically intertwined. He argues ...
Investigative Aesthetics
Today, artists are engaged in investigation. They probe corruption, state violence, environmental destruction and repressive technologies. At the same time, fields not usually associated with aesth...
The Future of the Image
In The Future of the Image, Jacques Rancière develops a fascinating new concept of the image in contemporary art, showing how art and politics have always been intrinsically intertwined. He argues ...
Investigative Aesthetics
Today, artists are engaged in investigation. They probe corruption, state violence, environmental destruction and repressive technologies. At the same time, fields not usually associated with aesth...
24/7
24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep explores some of the ruinous consequences of the expanding non-stop processes of twenty-first-century capitalism. The marketplace now operates through ev...
Paperback
Uncomputable
Narrating some lesser known episodes from the deep history of digital machines, Alexander R. Galloway explains the technology that drives the world today, and the fascinating people who brought the...
Psychopolitics

Psychopolitics

Byung-Chul Han, a star of German philosophy, continues his passionate critique of neoliberalism, trenchantly describing a regime of technological domination that, in contrast to Foucault’s biopower...
Capital Is Dead
In this radical and visionary new book, McKenzie Wark argues that the all-pervasive presence of data in our networked society has given rise to a new mode of production, one not ruled over by capit...
The Social Photo
With the rise of the smart phone and social media, cameras have become ubiquitous, infiltrating nearly every aspect of social life. The glowing camera screen is the lens by which many of us apprehe...

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