Hyperconnectivity and Its Discontents
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From the publisher
Digital hyperconnectivity is a defining fact of our time. The Silicon Valley dream of universal connection - in which everyone and everything is connected to everyone and everything else, everywhere and all the time - is rapidly becoming a reality. Hyperconnectivity has colonized the self, reorganizing our attention and reshaping our ways of thinking, seeing, and feeling. It has channeled social interaction into platform-friendly, surveillance-enhancing forms and formats. It has converted the whole of human culture into an unending stream of digital content, served to us by personalized algorithms. It has given birth to gigantic oligopolies with unprecedented power over our future. It has fragmented the public sphere, polarizing - and in some ways paralyzing - the citizenry, and strengthening populist challenges to mediating institutions. In this wide-ranging yet concise and sharply argued book, Rogers Brubaker develops an original interpretive account of these pervasive and unsettling changes. With characteristic lucidity, Brubaker traces transformations of the self, social relations, culture, economics, and politics, giving special attention to underexplored themes of abundance, miniaturization, convenience, quantification, and discipline. He shows how hyperconnectivity prepared us for the pandemic and how the pandemic, in turn, has prepared us for an even more fully digitally mediated future. Throughout, Brubaker underscores the ambivalence of digital hyperconnectivity, which opens up many new and exciting possibilities yet at the same time threatens human freedom and flourishing. Hyperconnectivity and Its Discontents will be essential reading for anyone interested in the constellation of socio-technical forces that are profoundly remaking our world.