DI Reads

10 Reads for Your 2021 List

Need a reset? Check out these notable books (and a few articles) from 2020 that will inform, inspire, and empower you in the year.

01 Digital Technology and Democratic Theory, edited by Lucy Bernholz, Hélène Landemore, and Rob Reich

Digital Technology and Democratic Theory looks closely at one significant facet of our rapidly evolving digital lives: how technology is radically changing our lives as citizens and participants in democratic governments.

02 Metrics at Work: Journalism and the Contested Meaning of Algorithms, by Angèle Christin

Contrary to the belief that analytics and algorithms are globally homogenizing forces, Metrics at Work shows that computational technologies can have surprisingly divergent ramifications for work and organizations worldwide.

03 This is Not Propaganda: Adventures in the War Against Reality, by Peter Pomerantsev

Blending reportage, family history, and intellectual adventure, This is Not Propaganda explores how we can reimagine our politics and ourselves when reality seems to be coming apart.

04 Data Feminism, by Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein

Data Feminism offers strategies for data scientists seeking to learn how feminism can help them work toward justice, and for feminists who want to focus their efforts on the growing field of data science.

05 Hope for Democracy: How Citizens Can Bring Reason Back Into Politics, by John Gastil and Katherine R. Knobloch

Civic reformers are crafting new tools that bring back into politics the wider public and its capacity for reason. Hope for Democracy weaves one such innovation—the Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR)—into ancient and modern history, contemporary social scientific research, and the personal narratives of those affected by it.

06 Black Software: The Internet & Racial Justice, From the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter, by Charlton McIlwain

Black Software reveals the previously untold collaboration between the US government, the computing industry, and elite science and engineering education institutions to use new computer technology for the purpose of containing, profiling, and detaining Black Americans, beginning in the early 1960s.

07 Digital Witness: Using Open Source Information for Human Rights Investigation, Documentation, and Accountability, edited by Sam Dubberley, Alexa Koenig, and Daragh Murray

Digital Witness offers a comprehensive range of topics, including the discovery and preservation of data, and ethical considerations, to provide readers with the cutting-edge skills needed to work in an increasingly digitized and information-saturated environment.

08 The Internet in Everything: Freedom and Security in a World with No Off Switch, by Laura DeNardis

The Internet in Everything reveals the sinews of power already embedded in our technology and explores how hidden technical governance arrangements will become the constitution of our future.

09 “Digital Democracy: Episode IV—A New Hope*: How a Corporation for Public Software Could Transform Digital Engagement for Government and Civil Society,” by John Gastil and Todd Davies

Digital democracy has yet to realize its potential for deliberative transformation. There have been many creative conceptions of civic tech, but implementation has lagged behind innovation. “Digital Democracy” argues for implementing one such vision through the establishment of a public corporation.

10 “The Case for Digital Public Infrastructure,” by Ethan Zuckerman

According to the author of “The Case for Digital Public Infrastructure,” the goal is “neither to eliminate the powerful internet platforms nor to cede the future to them [but] imagine possible futures where surveillant advertising delivered by monopoly providers isn’t the only available option to build a thriving future of democratic communications.”

Looking for more? See this list of publications from Digital Civil Society Lab.