Hackerspaces: Making The Maker Movement by Sarah R. Davies

The Blurb On The Back:

A new industrial revolution.  The age of making.  From bits to atoms.  Many people are excited by the possibilities offered by new fabrication technologies like 3D printers, and the ways in which they are being used in hacker and makerspaces.  But why is the power of hacking and making an idea whose time has come?

Hackerspaces: Making The Maker Movement takes the rise of the maker movement as its starting point.  Hacker and makerspaces, Fab Labs, and DIY bio spaces are emerging all over the world.  Based on a study of hacker and makerspaces across the US, this book explores cultures of hacking and making in the context of wider social changes, arguing that excitement about the maker movement is not just about the availability of new technologies, but the kind of citizens we are expected to be. 

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Platform Capitalism by Nick Srnicek

The Blurb On The Back:

What unites Google and Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft, Siemens and GE, Uber and Airbnb?  Across a wide range of sectors, these firms are turning into platforms: businesses that provide the hardware and software foundation for others to operate on.  This transformation signals a major shift in how capitalist firms operate and how they interact with the rest of the economy: the emergence of ‘platform capitalism’.

Platform Capitalism critically examines these new business forms, tracing their genesis from the long downturn of the 1970s to the boom and bust of the 1990s and the aftershocks of the 2008 crisis.  It shows how the foundations of the economy are rapidly being carved up among a small number of monopolistic platforms and how the platform introduces new tendencies within capitalism that pose significant challenges to any vision of a post-capitalist future.  This book will be essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how the most powerful tech companies of our time are transforming the global economy. 

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »

Can The Internet Strengthen Democracy? by Stephen Coleman

The Blurb On The Back:

From its inception as a public communication network, the Internet was regarded by many people as a potential means of escaping from the stranglehold of top-down, stage-managed politics.  If hundreds of millions of people could be the producers as well as the receivers of political messages, could that invigorate democracy?  If political elites fail to respond to such energy, where will it leave them?

In this book, renowned scholar of political communication Stephen Coleman argues that the best way to strengthen democracy is to reinvent it for the twenty-first century.  Governments and global institutions have failed to seize the opportunity to democratize their ways of operating, but online citizens are ahead of them, developing practices that could revolutionize the exercise of political power. 

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Read More »