The Arab Spring, chat forums, political leaders tweeting, online petitions, and protestors in the Occupy Movement - new media public spheres have without doubt radically altered social and political activism in society. But to what extent is this new activist public sphere stifled by the neoliberal economy and workfare state? Have we in fact become transformed into subjects of online consumption and orderly surveillance, rather than committed social and political campaigners? In this highly topical book, John Michael Roberts employs a political economy perspective to explore the relationship between financial neoliberal capitalism and digital publics. He assesses the extent to which they provide new forms of radical protest in civil society and offers an indispensable guide to understanding the relationship between the state, new media activism and neoliberal practices.
John Michael Roberts is Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Communications at Brunel University, London. He has researched and written on the topics of free speech and the public sphere, voluntary activity, philosophy of social science, global political economy and the information society, and management discourse in the workplace.
Introducing New Media and Public Activism;
Creative Digital Capitalism? Exploitation, Information and Finance;
Neoliberalism and New Public Management: The Rise of the Competent Public Sphere;
E-democracy and Public Deliberation in the Competent Public Sphere;
Social Media and the Neoliberal Subject;
Zoning Public Space 1: Hybrid Surveillance and State Power;
Zoning Public Space 2: Gentrification, Community Publics and CCTV;
Global Social Movements: Beyond the Competent Public Sphere?;
Conclusion: The Occupy Movement, Community Activism and ‘Incompetent’ Public Spheres.
“This is an extremely good book, which contains a range of fascinating arguments and ideas about new media public spheres”. Professor Jonathan Joseph, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield
“John Michael Roberts presents an innovative critical exploration of new media and its relationship to public activism. Drawing on a wealth of empirical case studies and everyday examples, he not only shows the continual relevance of critical theory for an investigation of digital democracy but with equal force demonstrates the importance of taking state power and neoliberalism seriously in any analysis of new media activism and dissent”. Dr Myria Georgiou, Media and Communications, London School of Economics
“John Michael Roberts is one of the first to offer a comprehensive and intelligent analysis of new media's implications for the public sector, from activism to organized labour. His book is a must read for anyone interested in the role of communication and media technologies in the blurring of boundaries between private, public and commercial." José van Dijck, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, and author of The Culture of Connectivity. A Critical History of Social Media
“A rich critique concerning the implications of digital media in contemporary thought, governance, and resistance. Roberts has produced a provocative and accessible book that reinvigorates debates concerning labour, the state, and contradiction in the context of neoliberal capitalism.” Dr. Edward A. Comor, Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, Canada