Book Review #1

I will be reviewing, Rewire by Ethan Zuckerman. The book is made up of eight chapters so, I will be separating the work into four, two-chapter sections to review.

            Zuckerman starts his novel by showing how the internet played a part in the over throwing of the overthrow of the Shah in Iran, just as more technology started to become more present. Cassette tapes being passed between friends caused enough people to band together to significantly change the government of Iran. This example of how quickly technology and the internet has allowed us to communicate and share information. Zuckerman also talks about this idea of the easy of sharing tapes by using a different example on his TED talk in which he says, ” So as long as activist is that simple, its pretty easy to get away with.”

            The point of Zuckerman sharing these examples of how the internet has affected not only political and social change but also the healthcare system is to show how effective the internet can be when used in activist work to insight change. 

            Chapter one, Connection, Infection, Inspiration, discusses how the internet aided in the containment of SARS, a deadly disease. Zuckerman says, “ One big part of the answer is the internet. Global cooperation and communication stopped SARS, and the ability of doctors around the world to connect and collaborate online made the Internet the frontline for stopping the disease.” The same concepts applied on the internet that Zuckerman mentions that helped to save the lives of the many people effected by SARS can also be used to help the reach and productivity of activist movements. Global cooperation and communication help any movement collect members and support from around the globe. 

            Chapter two, Imaginary Cosmopolitanism, dives into how bits of information are passed from place to place and from person to person to create the world wide “web” that we get today on the Internet. He compares this transfer of information to how Avian water is bottled, packaged, and shipped from place to place around the globe. He then compares the prices and how hard it is to move each section of the water selling process to the difficulty of moving information via the internet. Zuckerman gives the reader this information to then show the importance and weight of a “view.” When given this information, I deduct that activist mainly using the internet should focus on getting views on their content, and to then have that content shared to other people which is seemly a greater task than just the little button push we think it is. Zuckerman spoke at the 2014 Zócalo Book Prize banquet after winning it for, Rewire, he began to talk about how views are hard to get because of the search application. He says, “Search puts the paradigm on us. When we do a Google search, the algorithm is trying to give us exactly what we want to find—and that’s not very good for us. “We’re not good at making choices as civic actors.”

Zuckerman shows in these first two chapters how useful and challenging it is to be an activist on the internet.

Book Review Intro

I am choosing to review Awkward Politics: Technologies of Pop Feminist Activism by Carrie Smith-Prei and Maria Stehle.  Reading some reviews and the description on the book lead me to determine that the book is going to be about how the addition of technology has helped or not helped activist causes that relate to past and present day feminist movements.

This picture was taken from an article on Vox about current feminist movements.

They put a lot of attention on how awkwardness effects current feminist activism and they dive into different forms of media and art that explore pop feminism to change how we digest activist work. After reading a review on the book by, Sofia Ropek Hewson, published by The London School of Economics and Political, I chose this book because it seemed so interesting to me that the authors choose to exsintuate awkwardness and explore how even the uncomfortable topics are important to discuss. In this review, Hewson states that the authors use, “awkwardness as a prism through which to think about 21st-Century feminist movements.” I was drawn to this statement especially because of how clearly it shows the authors intent on viewing recent feminist political movements. Whenever a political movement begins it Is always during a time in which change is needed but not yet universally excepted. During the first women’s rights movements it was very awkward or uncomfortable for men to begin to view women as equals but there was a need to push through that awkwardness and let the rights of women prevail. The authors capitalize on awkwardness and use it as a tool to show people their own uncomfort in political movements and I find this to be a really interesting take on observing activism.

I look forward to reading more and learning which methods of activism helped to push the feminist movement forward the best.