The Digital Condition
The Digital Condition
Translated by Valentine Pakis

Our daily lives, our culture, and our politics are now shaped by the digital condition, in which greater numbers of people are engaged in negotiating meaning in ever more dimensions of life, from the trivial to the profound. They are making use of a complex communication infrastructure, currently dominated by social mass media such as Twitter and Facebook, on which they have come to depend.

Amidst a confusing plurality, Felix Stalder argues that there are three key constituents of this condition: the use of existing cultural materials for one’s own production, the way in which new meaning is established as a collective endeavor, and the underlying role of algorithms and automated decision-making processes that give shape to massive volumes of data. These three characteristics define what Stalder calls “the digital condition.” He also examines the profound political implications of this new culture. We stand at a crossroads between post-democracy and the commons, a concentration of power among the few or a genuine widening of participation, with the digital condition offering the potential for starkly different outcomes.

This ambitious and wide-ranging theory of our contemporary digital condition will be of great interest to students and scholars in media, communications, and cultural studies, and to a wider readership interested in the changing character of culture and politics today.

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  • December 2017 (pb)
    December 2017 (hb)
  • 224 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $64.95
  • 9781509519590
  • Paperback $22.95
  • 9781509519606
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  • 9781509519637
Table of Contents

Preface to the English Edition

Acknowledgments


Introduction: After the End of the Gutenberg Galaxy

I. Evolution

The Expansion of the Social Basis of Culture

The Culturalization of the World

The Technologization of Culture

From the Margins to the Center of Society

II. Forms

Referentiality

Communality

Algorithmicity

III. Politics

Post-Democracy

Commons

Against a Lack of Alternatives


Notes

About the Author
Felix Stalder is Professor of Digital Culture and Network Theory at the Zurich University of the Arts.
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Reviews

“A remarkable map of the social and cultural changes brought about by the shift to digital culture. Broad in scope and precise in detail, this is a book of plentiful insights and deft propositions.”
Matthew Fuller, Goldsmiths, University of London

“A fresh and intimate analysis that transcends labels and points to the tendency toward commons as proof for the existence of genuine, fundamental, and cutting-edge alternatives. Felix Stalder is whispering in the reader’s ear that, yes, despite everything, another world is possible. A must-read for anyone who cares about the future.”
Trebor Scholz, The New School, New York

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