Sociological Theory for Digital SocietyThe Codes that Bind Us Together
Sociological Theory for Digital Society
The Codes that Bind Us Together

The digital revolution has not only transformed multiple aspects of social life – it also shakes sociological theory, transforming the most basic assumptions that have underlain it. In this timely book, Ori Schwarz explores the main challenges digitalization poses to different strands of sociological theory and offers paths to adapt them to new social realities.

What would symbolic interactionism look like in a world where interaction no longer takes place within bounded situations and is constantly documented as durable digital objects? How should we understand new digitally mediated forms of human association that bind our actions and lives together but have little in common with old-time 'collectives'; and why are they not simply ‘social networks’? How does social capital transform when it is materialized in a digital form, and how does it remould power structures? What happens to our conceptualization of power when faced with the emergence of new forms of algorithmic power? And what happens when labour departs from work? By posing and answering such fascinating questions, and offering critical tools for both students and scholars of social theory and digital society to engage with them, this thought-provoking book draws the outline of future sociological theory for our digital society.

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  • November 2021
  • 218 pages
  • 152 x 229 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509542963
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509542970
  • Open eBook $56.00
  • 9781509542987
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: Old disciplines, new times, revised theories

2. When Interactions Become Objects: Rethinking symbolic interactionism in the post-situational order

3. When Networks Materialize: Rethinking social ontology beyond the individual and the collective

4. When Social Capital can be Invested: Rethinking social capital

5. When Power is Exercised through Algorithms: Rethinking power under generative rulers

6. When Labour is Everywhere: Rethinking work in the era of workless labour

7. Conclusion: Sociological theory for the future



About the Author
Ori Schwarz is Associate Professor of Sociology at Bar-Ilan University.
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‘This insightful, sophisticated and original work develops a compelling reformulation of several key currents of sociological theory – addressing interaction, networks, social capital, power and work/labour – in light of the increasingly pervasive digital mediation of every aspect of social life.’
Rogers Brubaker, University of California, Los Angeles

‘In this striking new book Ori Schwarz argues that sociological theory is a creature of its time. And so the changes in the digital social landscape call for a revitalized theory that is able to cope with the emerging shifts and sharp turns. Keeping a watchful eye on the past and the present, this pathbreaking book seeks to rejuvenate sociological theory for these switched-on, hyper-networked and seemingly accelerating times.’
David Beer, University of York

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