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[liberationtech] New Book: Critical Theory and the Digital

Andrés Leopoldo Pacheco Sanfuentes alps6085 at
Tue Feb 25 13:24:38 PST 2014


It is just so ironic that your book on what I gather is a perspective
inspired on the Frankfurt School's Critical Theory to the modern
digital world is published primarily by print media, and at a cost
that makes it prohibitive to the very people that can benefit "through
its discussion of how the digital can be transformed by political
action and the organisation of digital resistance." -  Christian De
Cock, University of Essex, UK

Best Regards | Cordiales Saludos | Grato,

Andrés L. Pacheco Sanfuentes
<alps at>
+1 (817) 271-9619

On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 10:37 AM, David Berry <dmberry at> wrote:
> I apologise in advance for my use of words. The publishers are very tiresome
> in requiring not only words, but also sentences, paragraphs and so forth.
> There is also an argument in the book. Made up of words. That are actually
> connected together. At least I hope so. One never knows after having been
> though the copyediting/proofing process.
> For those who prefer books in hexadecimal, I plan a forthcoming version,
> Critical Theory and the Hexadecimal, which will be encrypted using the NSA
> backdoored random number generator (Dual_EC_DRBG), weak public key
> cryptography (896bit RSA, no padding, no signatures, no authenticity), the
> worst cryptographic hash function possible as a KDF (MD2), and XOR as a
> cipher.* This will be an ironic gesture.
> :-)
> * Thanks to Moxie Marlinspike for the text inspiration.
> On Tue Feb 25 07:25:53 PST 2014, Reed Black reed at wrote:
> word salad and the digital
> On Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 4:05 AM, David Berry <dmberry at> wrote:
>> Hi
>> I hope you don't mind my announcing my new book *Critical Theory and the
>> Digital* which explores the contemporary landscape related to
>> computational technology and argues for an approach that revitalises
>> critical theory in light of current questions over cryptography, critical
>> technical practice and related notions of critical digital humanities and
>> code work. I think that some of the subscribers to this list might find
>> the
>> arguments articulated in the book of some interest.
>> This Critical Theory and Contemporary Society volume offers an original
>> analysis of the role of the digital in today's society. It rearticulates
>> critical theory by engaging it with the challenges of the digital
>> revolution to show how the digital is changing the ways in which we lead
>> our politics, societies, economies, media, and even private lives. In
>> particular, the work examines how the enlightenment values embedded within
>> the culture and materiality of digital technology can be used to explain
>> the changes that are occurring across society.
>> Critical Theory and the Digital draws from the critical concepts developed
>> by critical theorists to demonstrate how the digital needs to be
>> understood
>> within a dialectic of potentially democratizing and totalizing technical
>> power. By relating critical theory to aspects of a code-based digital
>> world
>> and the political economy that it leads to, the book introduces the
>> importance of the digital code in the contemporary world to researchers in
>> the field of politics, sociology, globalization and media studies.
>> Some blurb:
>> "'Adorno will not be your Facebook friend.' Instead of lamenting the
>> cultural elitism of the Frankfurt School, David Berry reopens critical
>> theory's conceptual toolbox with a renewed curiosity. These days the
>> theorist is no longer a prophet who ponders the world divorced from the
>> materiality of communication. It is not enough to merely explore the
>> technosphere, there is an urgency to radically question digital
>> technologies. In this age of conflict, the neoliberal consensus culture is
>> taken to task by critical theory David-Berry-style. In line with the
>> info-activism of Wikileaks and Snowden, Berry instructs us how to read the
>> black box that dominates our everyday lives and helps us to develop a new
>> vocabulary amidst all the crazes, from speculative realism to digital
>> humanities." -  Geert Lovink, Media Theorist, Amsterdam
>> "Berry's timely book engages with a broad range of topics that define our
>> digital culture. It guides us to the political materiality of software
>> culture with excellent insights. Importantly, this book updates critical
>> theory for the digital age." -  Dr Jussi Parikka, Winchester School of
>> Art,
>> author of What is Media Archaeology? (2012)
>> "In this lucid, learned and highly original book Berry confronts the
>> nature of digital knowledge in society through the re-invigorated lens of
>> Critical Theory asking how we can regain control of the knowledge
>> structures embedded in the digital technologies that we increasingly rely
>> upon in daily life." -  Michael Bull, author of Sound Moves: iPod Culture
>> and Urban Experience
>> "Critical Theory and the Digital offers an important new addition to
>> critical theory that explores questions raised by the digital in light of
>> the work of the Frankfurt school. Providing an accessible and critical
>> appraisal of the digital world we live in today, the book argues that
>> critical praxis must today be rethought in light of digital technologies
>> and the affordances that are made available to state, corporate and civil
>> society actors. The book offers both a theoretical and a political
>> contribution: the former through its exploration of how the digital can be
>> read, written, and hacked critically; the latter through its discussion of
>> how the digital can be transformed by political action and the
>> organisation
>> of digital resistance." -  Christian De Cock, University of Essex, UK
>> "Unlike many media studies scholars who refer to the Frankfurt School's
>> critique of the cultural industries only to show its inapplicability to
>> the
>> open source world of the digital age, David Berry accomplishes the
>> remarkable feat of re-instating that critique for the new brave world that
>> is afforded by digital technology. Easily moving between Heidegger, Adorno
>> and Stiegler, Berry mobilizes a formidable array of theoretical resources
>> in aid of what he calls 'iteracy', an emerging competence in tracking the
>> contexts in which 'being digital' is continually formed and re-formed. The
>> result is a milestone in both critical theory and the digital humanities."
>> -  Steve Fuller, Auguste Comte Chair in Social Epistemology, Department of
>> Sociology, University of Warwick, UK
>> "Bringing dialectical critique to digital culture, David Berry replenishes
>> the legacy of the Frankfurt School in order to devise strategies to live
>> within and against the real-time streams of computational capitalism.
>> Fusing critical theory with the political economy of social media (think
>> Facebook and Twitter), the surveillance paranoia of NSA, the wild party of
>> Hacklabs, the secret autonomy of cryptography, and the accelerated economy
>> of algorithmic trading, Berry registers the contours of the black box that
>> defines digital labour and life." -  Ned Rossiter, Institute for Culture
>> and Society, University of Western Sydney, Australia
>> Best
>> David
>> ---
>> Dr. David M. Berry
>> Reader
>> Silverstone 316
>> School of Media, Film and Music
>> University of Sussex,
>> Falmer,
>> East Sussex. BN1 8PP
> ---
> Dr. David M. Berry
> Reader
> Silverstone 316
> School of Media, Film and Music
> University of Sussex,
> Falmer,
> East Sussex. BN1 8PP
> --
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