Book of the Day: Sociofobia

Book: Sociofobia, El cambio político. César Rendueles

Link: Sociofobia



Geert Lovink:

“At a conference in Barcelona in June 2014 I ran into Madrid-based critic César Rendueles who told me about the success of his book Sociofobia, El cambio político en la era de la utopia digital in the Spanish speaking world, published late 2013. On the cover it reads: “the ideology of the network has generated a diminished social reality.” Rendueles (b. 1975) used to work for the cultural organization Círculo de Bellas Artes and now teaches at Complutense University, Madrid. I would characterize Rendueles’ approach as that of a straight forward academic, without the customary doubt, double meanings and postmodern cynicism, amplified by a clear populist-left set of demands (inspired by Latin-America) to re-nationalize public infrastructure, in this case the mix of telecom, knowledge production, education and media. This southern European variety of “cybersocialism” stands in contrast to the Blairist “third way” that originated in northwestern Europe and accepted limited state intervention in economic ownership. It is also distinct from a “commons” approach, where the commons are governed by an undefined coalition of “stakeholders” in which the real power of both monopoly corporate players and the state is obscured. Instead, Rendueles focuses on a more traditional analysis of economic and political institutions, one that may pave the way for political transformation in the technological field.

Why hasn’t Sociofobia been translated yet? Of course one can blame the slow politics of the publishing world with their outdated copyright system that hampers free cultural exchange within Europe and the absence of a subsidy system for translations of crucial cultural texts within the EU realm. How can Italian readers find out about the lively “post-Snowden” debates in Berlin? Should I perform the usual public self-criticism, admitting that I once preferred the sensual Italian over the harsh Spanish language – and now bear the consequences? Having said which, the book will come out in German (Suhrkamp) and in the United States – two years late.” (

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