[Air-L] New Book Announcement

Payal Arora payal_arora04 at yahoo.com
Fri May 23 10:44:01 PDT 2014

*Apologies for cross-posting*

New Book Announcement: 

Arora, Payal. (2014). The Leisure Commons: A spatial History of Web 2.0.
Routledge Studies in Science, Technology & Society Series


Note: if interested in reviewing this book, you can request a free copy from

Website for further details: www.payalarora.com 

About the book: There is much excitement about Web 2.0 as an unprecedented,
novel, community-building space for experiencing, producing, and consuming
leisure, particularly through social network sites. What is needed is a
perspective that is invested in neither a utopian or dystopian posture but
sees historical continuity to this cyberleisure geography. This book
investigates the digital public sphere by drawing parallels to another
leisure space that shares its rhetoric of being open, democratic, and free
for all: the urban park. It makes the case that the history and politics of
public parks as an urban commons provides fresh insight into contemporary
debates on corporatization, democratization and privatization of the digital
commons. This book takes the reader on a metaphorical journey through
multiple forms of public parks such as Protest Parks, Walled Gardens,
Corporate Parks, Fantasy Parks, and Global Parks, addressing issues such as
virtual activism, online privacy/surveillance, digital labor, branding, and
globalization of digital networks. Ranging from the 19th century British
factory garden to Tokyo Disneyland, this book offers numerous spatial
metaphors to bring to life aspects of new media spaces. Readers looking for
an interdisciplinary, historical and spatial approach to staid Web 2.0
discourses will undoubtedly benefit from this text.


"Arora offers us another invitation, which is a refreshing departure from
the breathlessness of many studies of the new technologies, and that is the
chance to slow down, to pause, to contemplate our surroundings, to smell a
possibly political rose. That she finds this potential in the very heart of
digitality is one of the many surprises of this thoughtful and wide-ranging
book." - From the Foreword by Arjun Appadurai, Paulette Goddard Professor of
Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University

"This is a brilliant navigation of worlds that are not usually brought in
conversation: digital space and thick situated struggles engaged in
claim-making in the urban sphere. Payal Arora has deep knowledge and
experience of both these worlds. Out of this encounter comes a concept the
author deploys in diverse ways to mark digital space: the leisure commons."
- Saskia Sassen, Columbia University and author of Expulsions: Brutality and
Complexity in the Global Economy

"In this engaging volume, Arora applies the rich metaphor of the public park
to explicate the many ways in which net-based technologies facilitate, but
also converge activities of a social, political, cultural and economic
nature. Technology as architecture invites, amplifies, but also conceals or
discourages. It disrupts and it sustains our daily endeavors into sociality,
work, play and fantasy. Arora uses the metaphor of public parks to tell the
story of how digital media support us through our daily lives. Through
lively writing and layers of intriguing analogies, she compels the reader to
think with her, as she explores what technology does to space. Arora lays
out an intriguing vision of online environments as technology supported
meta-parks that facilitate not just limitless connection, but, better
living." - Zizi Papacharissi, Professor and Head of Communications,
University of Illinois at Chicago

"Payal Arora offers the insight that social media are the latest chapter in
a long history of spaces including city parks, walled gardens, office parks,
fantasy theme parks and other semi-public, leisure-oriented environments. By
framing new technological trends in terms of a 'leisure commons,' her work
fills a gap that remained between the spatial metaphors that have proven
helpful to make sense of new technologies, and a nuanced realization of how
thoroughly leisure practices have permeated daily life." - Paul C. Adams,
Associate Professor of Geography and Director of Urban Studies, University
of Texas at Austin



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