Thursday, 1 May 2014

Living in the Information Age: A video about Christian Fuchs’ book “Internet and Society: Social Theory in the Information Age

By Jinshuang Zhao, student in the MA in Social Media at the University of Westminster



Could you image your life without the Internet in contemporary society? What difficulties can you overcome with the help of Internet? How do information and communication technology influence society? If you are interested to learn more about these issues, please watch my video that presents interviews with Christian Fuchs and Eran Fisher. Watch the video of the interview here! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0Gt_8SQiSc

Christian Fuchs is professor of social media at the University of Westminster and is conducting research about the relationship between information and communication technology (ICT) and society. He is a neo-Marxist and utilises Marxist theory for theorizing the connections between ICT and society. Eran Fisher is an assistant professor at the Open University of Israel, He is the author of “Media and New Capitalism in the Digital Age”. His research fields are media and communication, information science and sociology. I invited Christian Fuchs and Eran Fisher to discuss some issues related to Christian’s book Internet and Society: Social Theory in the Information Age.

In the interview, Chrsitian Fuchs reflects back on when he was a student of informatics. He discusses how he became interested in ICT and society research and why he wrote this book.

It is well-known that information and communication technology plays an important role in changing society and the world. Christian Fuchs’ book Internet and Society: Social Theory in the Information Age describes mutual relationships between Internet and society by using philosophy and social theory. He uses the theory of complex, dynamic self-organizing systems, which is a core concept of the book that he applies to various dimensions of society and it subsystems, including cultural, ecological, economic and political systems. He also uses Marxist theory and Hegel’s dialectical philosophy for analysing dynamics and power structures of self-organising systems. Eran Fisher argues that the book combines Marxist theory and the theory of self-organising systems.

Both interviewees argue that this approach can explain how ICTs are embedded economic, political, cultural and ecological structures that are shaped by an antagonism between competition and cooperation. This book takes social media platforms as examples to show how the Internet interacts with society. It also engages with issues of electronic participation, online politics and how grassroots movements voice their critical opinions via online forums and social-networking sites. In terms of the economy, Christian Fuchs and Eran Fisher argue that the economy in the information age is facing a contradiction between the gift and the commodity logic and that there is a dominant class that aims to gain more and more financial profits with the help of the Internet.


If you are interested in how to make a difference to our lives in the information age, then I invite you to watch my video and to read Christian Fuchs’ book Internet and Society: Social Theory in the Information Age.

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