Some scholars churn out paper after paper with small arguments and thinly sliced contributions, and may compile them into books that connect the dots and offer broader perspectives. Others leave fewer, but much bigger footprints. Shoshana Zuboff, professor emerita at Harvard Business School, certainly falls in the second category. Her first book, In the age of the smart machine: The future of work and power (Zuboff, 1985), remains a pillar in fields of research focusing on digital technologies, information systems, organization and management, and knowledge production.
Maurizio Atzeni is Lecturer in Labour and Industrial Relations at Loughborough University School of Business and Economics, United Kingdom, and a Research Fellow at Centro de Estudios e Investigaciones Laborales (CEIL/CONICET), Buenos Aires. Born in Italy, the author completed part of his education in Europe before moving to Argentina, where he currently lives and works. Thenceforth, his work has been deeply influenced by European Marxist tradition, especially by Richard Hyman’s developments and criticisms of labour process theory (Hyman, 2006).
The title of Cox’s new book may call the attention of both new readers and those long acquainted to one of the most relevant references in contemporary social movement theory (SMT). In an unpretentious way, he presents social movements (SMs) as the materialized agency that transforms the social order. Along the text, he employs many anecdotes about how some people get involved, even if incidentally, with a social movement and how this experience changes one’s life and her or his more immediate surroundings.
In Waves of knowing: A seascape epistemology, Karin Ingersoll (2016) deploys a historical and ethnographic account of surfing as a practice both emerging along and against colonialism in Hawaii. Surfing, here, is not only a topic, it is a method and a analytic trope to apprehend colonialism from the perspective of the sea. By so doing, Ingersoll develops an ‘oceanic’ onto/epistemology that challenges land-centric concept of space and colonial perspectives on island life. Surfing and life by the sea are in fact apprehended by the author as aquatic modes of existence.
In this short book, just 64 pages, Clare Birchall addresses the shifting relationships between data and citizens to unpack what big data, transparency and openness, mean for democracy and the government of subjects. It stands as an interesting read alongside Zuboff’s (2019) voluminous The age of surveillance capitalism, not only for the contrast in page count, but also for the distinct theoretical take and the greater focus on the role of the State.
Jamie Woodcock, well known for his influential ethnography Working the phones: control and resistance in call centers (2017), is a sociologist who focuses on work and writes mostly about digital labour and the gig economy. His latest book, Marx at the arcade: consoles, controllers, and class struggle is an extended version of a previous article (Woodcock, 2016).