Gadget Consciousness: Collective Thought, Will and Action in the Age of Social Media

On my list…
Published today – a new book in the Pluto Press Digital Barricades series – Gadget Consciousness: Collective Thought, Will and Action in the Age of Social Media by Joss Hands
What impact does our relentless fixation on gadgets have on the struggle for new kinds of solidarity, political articulation and intelligence? In this groundbreaking study, Joss Hands explores the new political and social forces that are emerging in the age of social media.
Gadget Consciousness examines the transformation of our consciousness as a historical political force in two senses: as individual consciousness – in terms of sentience and will – and also as class consciousness. Exploring a range of manifestations in the digital commons, he investigates what forms digital solidarity can take, and asks whether we can learn from the communisms of the past and how might solidarity be manifested in the future?
Today, the ubiquity of networked gadgets offers exciting new opportunities for social and political change, but also significant dangers of alienation and stupefaction.
Our obsession with gadgets is a key token of how deeply computer-based connection is now embedded in everyday life and consciousness. Joss Hands offers a highly thoughtful and theoretically astute reading of the possibilities for human reflexivity and agency that still remain’ –  Nick Couldry, London School of Economics and Political Science
‘A Swiss army knife of a book, unfolding tools to convert digital devices from exploitation and isolation to meaning and connection. Joss Hands gives us a handheld manifesto for gadget communism’ – Sean Cubitt, Goldsmiths University of London
‘Takes the seemingly apolitical and trivial concept of ‘the gadget’ and transforms it into a fascinating path to explore not only the most recent phase of capitalist techno-fetishism, but also, with exemplary radical experimentalism, the blasphemous idea of ‘gadget communism” – Nick Dyer-Witheford, University of Western Ontario

About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. He has a PhD in social-cultural-digital contagion theory from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. He is a former art student who re-entered higher education in the UK as a mature student in the mid-1990s after a long stint as a gigging musician. His career in education has moved through various disciplines and departments, including a maths and computing faculty, sociology department and school of digital media and design His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016), Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018) and The Sleepwalker's Guide to Social Media (due 2020 with Polity Press). Tony is the organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK (see archive on this blog). As a co-founder and co-director of the public engagement initiatives, Club Critical Theory (CCT) and the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG), Tony has been project lead on a number of funded projects that bring impactful critical theories into the community and local political sphere to approach. These activities have included large conferences, symposia and informal lectures/workshops in pubs and community centres, co-organized with community groups and local authorities. Tony occasionally blogs at: Full academic profile:
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