What We Are Reading Today: The Internet Trap by Matthew Hindman

Updated 08 September 2018
0

What We Are Reading Today: The Internet Trap by Matthew Hindman

  • The internet has not reduced the cost of reaching audiences — it has merely shifted who pays and how

The internet was supposed to fragment audiences and make media monopolies impossible. Instead, behemoths like Google and Facebook now dominate the time we spend online — and grab all the profits from the attention economy.
The Internet Trap explains how this happened, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. This provocative and timely book sheds light on the stunning rise of the digital giants and the online struggles of nearly everyone else — and reveals what small players can do to survive in a game that is rigged against them.
The internet has not reduced the cost of reaching audiences — it has merely shifted who pays and how. Challenging some of the most enduring myths of digital life, Hindman explains why the internet is not the postindustrial technology that has been sold to the public, how it has become mathematically impossible for grad students in a garage to beat Google, and why net neutrality alone is no guarantee of an open internet.

 


What We Are Reading Today: A People’s Constitution

Updated 15 November 2018
0

What We Are Reading Today: A People’s Constitution

Author: Rohit De

It has long been contended that the Indian Constitution of 1950, a document in English created by elite consensus, has had little influence on India’s greater population. Drawing upon the previously unexplored records of the Supreme Court of India, A People’s Constitution upends this narrative and shows how the Constitution actually transformed the daily lives of citizens in profound and lasting ways. This remarkable legal process was led by individuals on the margins of society, and Rohit De looks at how drinkers, smugglers, petty vendors, butchers and prostitutes — all despised minorities — shaped the constitutional culture.
The Constitution came alive in the popular imagination so much that ordinary people attributed meaning to its existence, took recourse to it, and argued with it. Focusing on the use of constitutional remedies by citizens against new state regulations seeking to reshape the society and economy, De illustrates how laws and policies were frequently undone or renegotiated from below using the state’s own procedures.
De examines four important cases that set legal precedents: a Parsi journalist’s contestation of new alcohol prohibition laws, Marwari petty traders’ challenge to the system of commodity control, Muslim butchers’ petition against cow protection laws, and sex workers’ battle to protect their right to practice prostitution.
Exploring how the Indian Constitution of 1950 enfranchised the largest population in the world, A People’s Constitution considers the ways that ordinary citizens produced, through litigation, alternative ethical models of citizenship.