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Understanding Digital Culture

Understanding Digital Culture

August 2012 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
This is more than just another book on Internet studies. Tracing the pervasive influence of 'digital culture' throughout contemporary life, this text integrates socio-economic understandings of the 'information society' with the cultural studies approach to production, use, and consumption of digital media and multimedia.

Refreshingly readable and packed with examples from profiling databases and

mashups to cybersex and the truth about social networking, Understanding Digital Culture:

• crosses disciplines to give a balanced account of the social, economic and cultural dimensions of the information society

• illuminates the increasing importance of mobile, wireless and converged media technologies in everyday life

• unpacks how the information society is transforming and challenging traditional notions of crime, resistance, war and protest, community, intimacy and belonging

• charts the changing cultural forms associated with new media and its consumption, including music, gaming, microblogging and online identity

• illustrates the above through a series of contemporary, in-depth case studies of digital culture.

This is the perfect text for students looking for a full account of the information society, virtual cultures, sociology of the Internet and new media.

Revolutionary Technologies?
The Social Determinism of Technology  
Technological Enablement  
Base, Superstructure, Infrastructure  
The Structure of the Book
Chapter 1: Key Elements of Digital Media
Technical Processes
Cultural Forms
Context (or Lack of It)  
Immersive Experiences
Case Study: What Are Video Games? A Conundrum of Digital Culture
Are Video Games 'Narratives'?  
Are Video Games 'Games'?  
Are Video Games 'Simulations'?  
Chapter 2: The Economic Foundations of the Information Age
Problems with the Post-Industrial Thesis  
The Information Society
Post-Fordism and Globalization
Informationalism and the Network Society
The Structure of Networks  
The Space Flows and Timeless Time  
Network Economy and network Enterprise  
Weightless Economies, Intellectual Property and the Commodification of Knowledge
Weightless Money  
Weightless Services  
Weightless Products  
The Advantages of a Weightless Economy  
(Intellectual) Property in a Weightless Economy  
Information Feudalism  
Chapter 3: Convergence and the Contemporary Media Experience
Technological Convergence
Regulatory Convergence
Media Industry Convergence
Concerns about Media Convergence  
Convergence Culture and the New Media Experience
The Creation of Cross-Media Experiences  
Participatory Media Culture  
Collective Intelligence  
Producers, Consumers and 'Produsage'
Case Study: The Changing Culture Industry of Digital Music
The Digitalization of Music and Its Discontents  
'Mash-Ups' and the Crisis of Authorship in Digital Culture  
Digital Music Cultures and Music Consumption  
Chapter 4: Digital Inequality: Social, Political and Infrastructural Contexts
'Digital Divides' and 'Access'
Domestic Digital Divides  
Global Digital Divides
Mobile Phones, Access and the Developing World
Economic Reasons  
Social Reasons  
Legislative Reasons  
The Benefits of Mobile Telephony for the Developing World
Chapter 5: 'Everyone Is Watching': Privacy and Surveillance in Digital Life
The Changing Cultural Contexts of Privacy
Privacy as a Legal Construction: A Contradiction  
Digital Surveillance: Spaces, Traces and Tools
Key Tools of Digital Surveillance  
The Rise of Surveillance: Causes and Processes
Security Imperatives: Surveillance and the Nation State  
Surveillance, Control Imperatives and Bureaucratic Structures  
Commercial Imperatives and the Political Economy of Surveillance
Marketing and Personal Data Collection  
Databases, Data-Mining, and Discourses  
The Power of Profiling  
Databases and Profiling: Pro's and Con's  
Why Care about Surveillance Society?
Chapter 6: Information Politics, Subversion and Warfare
The Political Context of Information Politics
ICT-Enabled Politics
Internal Organisation and Mobilisation  
External Collaboration and Coordination  
Flexible Organisation and 'Smartmobs'  
Permanent Political Campaigns: Linear Collaboration  
An Internet Public Sphere?  
Digital Disobedience: ICT-Based Activism
ICTs and Mainstream Politics
Cyber Politics by Another Means: Cyber Warfare
Cyber Warfare as Network-Centric Warfare  
Cyber Warfare as Information Warfare  
Cyber Warfare as Espionage  
Cyber Warfare as Economic Sabotage  
Cyber Warfare as Critical Infrastructure Attack  
Adjunct Attacks  
Chapter 7: Digital Identity
'Objects to Think With': Early Internet Studies and Post-Structuralism
Personal Home Pages and the 'Re-Centring' of the Individual
Personal Blogging, Individualisation and the Reflexive Project of the Self
Social Networks, Profiles and Networked Identity
Avatar and Identity
Case Study: Cybersex, Online Intimacy and the Self
The Late-Modern Context of Love and Intimacy  
Cybersex: A Novel Form of Intimacy  
Chapter 8: Social Media and the Problem of Community: Space, Relationships, Networks
Searching for Lost Community: Urbanisation, Space and Scales of Experience
Community, Globalisation, Technology and Individualism
'Virtual' Communities: The Next Step?
The Virtues of Virtual Communities  
The Vices of Virtual Community  
The Reality of the Situation  
Network Societies, Network Socialities and Networked Individualism
The Network Society Revisited  
Networked Individualism  
The Truth about the Networks  
Case Study: Social Networking, Microblogging, Language and Phatic Culture
Technology, Presence and the Post-Social  
Language, Technology and Phatic Communication  
Chapter 9: The Body and Information Technology
The Body, Technology and Society
The Posthuman
Material as Information 1: Extropianism and disembodiment, or 'Flesh Made Data'  
Material as Information 2: Technological Embodiment or 'Data Made Flesh'  
Technology, Embodiment Relations and the 'Homo Faber'
Embodiment Relation and Mobile Technologies  
Conclusion: Base, Superstructure and Infrastructure (Revisited)

Great overview text - lots of examples. Used this in a 3rd year course as my main text - went over very well.

Professor Lauren Cruikshank
Culture and Language Studies, Univ of New Brunswick - Fredericton
September 6, 2013

This book offer a multi-disciplinary view of the digital landscape and contextualises the different ways that digital innovation effects our day-to-day lives. The emphasis is sociological impact but the text will be useful in showing journalism students the wider implications of digital change and will be a welcome addition to the reading list associated with the Digital Platforms year 3 module and will also be helpful to dissertation students tackling the subject area.

Allan Boughey
School of Creative Industries, Edinburgh Napier University
May 15, 2013

Very good up to date overview.

Mr David Pope
Centre for Cultural Policy and Management, City University
May 2, 2013

Miller's "Understanding Digital Culture" delivers a highly elaborated introduction into the effects of digitalization of cultural systems. Although the application of this book has been risky for a lecture on "Organizational Marketing", it finally become a success.
Beside introduction chapters, students could focus on selected chapters for a better understanding of their general research questions. Especially the very well selected case studies, embedded into their chapters, have been a great source for further reflections.

Mr Wolfgang Kotowski
Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University
November 26, 2012

Excellent resource for student studying digital media, it is not completely choked with theory but has about the right amount. In particular this book his chock full of references to sources that students can use for their essays. It is well organised and accessible and created with a modern HE course in mind.

Mr John Murphy
School of Humanities, Hertfordshire University
November 7, 2012

This text is too focused on scholarship without sufficient emphasis on media content. it is great for me, just not for my undergraduate students.

Professor Deborah Alden
Communication and Creative Media, Champlain College
October 29, 2012

Well structured and insightful textbook. I would have liked to see a little bit more about cinema, but overall this book is very well suited for my course. The 'Further Reading' and 'Notes' section at the end are very helpful, too.

Dr Sylvie Magerstadt
School of Humanities, Hertfordshire University
October 9, 2012

A wonderful book which provides a wide range of topics related with modern digital culture and online life in a coherent and structured manner.

Mr Ilkin Mehrabov
Dept of Media & Communication Studies, Karlstad University
October 3, 2012

Wide-ranging overview of key concepts and issues in the cultural studies of digital media - very good background and supplementary reading to accompany journal articles at postgraduate level.

Dr Gauti Sigthorsson
Communication and Creative Arts, Greenwich University
August 3, 2012

really helpful to analyse and unerstand new media and popular culture

Professor Dr. Christoph Jacke
Popular Music and Media, University of Paderborn
July 9, 2012

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Understanding Digital Culture: Privacy and Surveillance in Digital Life

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