Nicholas A. John
The Age of Sharing
Polity Press 2016
New Books in Big IdeasNew Books in CommunicationsNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in Science, Technology, and SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books in TechnologyNew Books Network January 6, 2017 Tal Zalmanovich
In his new book The Age of Sharing (Polity Press, 2016), the sociologist and media scholar Nicholas A. John documents the history and current meanings of the word sharing, which he argues, is a central keyword of contemporary media discourse. John interrogates the rhetorical work that sharing does as a practice, a form of communication and a business model. He argues that in the last decade, sharing has come to dominate the way we think about our online activities, and indeed, the way we live. He demonstrates, how the therapeutic culture that defined the twentieth century, now shapes how we perceive and discuss our personal and economic interactions both online and offline. Moreover, it was the therapeutic discourse that informed and energized the shift from sharing as a distributive practice of material objects to the ethos of sharing as caring. John combines a close analysis of social media sites such as Facebook and businesses such Airbnb with a linguistic analysis of the genealogy of the concept of sharing, the unknown history of Alcoholics Anonymous, and the subculture of hackers to explain the ascent of sharing as a daily practice and coveted social currency. Nicholas A. John is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Journalism at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Tal Zalmanovich is a historian of modern Britain and media. She’s currently researching the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Britain, and the impact its activists had on domestic politics in Britain. Prior to being an academic, Tal was a journalist. Podcasting is the fruitful convergence of the two. You can contact Tal at [email protected].