[Air-L] Book Announcement: Social Engineering (MIT Press)

Robert W Gehl lists at robertwgehl.org
Fri Mar 11 07:53:53 PST 2022

On behalf of my co-author, Sean Lawson, I'm happy to announce that our 
book Social Engineering: *How Crowdmasters, Phreaks, Hackers, and Trolls 
Created a New Form of Manipulative Communication* is now available from 
MIT Press. It's available as a paperback as well as open access -- see 
https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/social-engineering for more details.

AOIR has influenced my career tremendously, and I think this book 
demonstrates how. The book starts with what we're all stressed about 
right now -- disinformation, misinformation, conspiracy theories, and 
manipulative communication in digital media. We then use critical 
genealogical methods to help pick apart manipulative communication. We 
turn to two moments in 20th century history -- early 20th century 
propaganda and public relations, and mid-20th century phone phreak and 
hacker con artistry -- to glean concepts. We ultimately argue that 
today's digital media disinformation is a mix of mass and interpersonal 
manipulation, what we call "masspersonal social engineering" (MPSE).

The book is, for better or worse, focused largely on American media and 
hacker history. It's the context the two of us know best. That said, 
we've observed elements of MPSE in the response to the pandemic, 
Canadian truck convoy protests, and the disinformation campaigns 
happening during the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, so I believe the 
book's concepts can travel to other contexts.


Robert W. Gehl (he/him/his)
F Jay Taylor Endowed Research Chair of Communication, Louisiana Tech
Fulbright Scholar
www.robertwgehl.org | @robertwgehl
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