Theory, Reality, and Possibilities for a Digital/Communicative Socialist Society

  • Dimitris Boucas University of Westminster
Keywords: digital socialism, digital capitalism, Internet, digital labour, platforms, monopolies, surveillance, social production, user practice, Radovan Richta, André Gorz


Digital capitalism is guided by the organising principles of digital automation, information processing, and communication. It rests on the consolidation of relations of exploitation of digital labour based on flexibility and generating precarity. It makes profit from user data under conditions of surveillance. What would an alternative paradigm look like? This paper aims to sketch a possible socialist society resting on digital technology but organised on a different logic, namely that of autonomous production, leisure, and social engagement. It draws on relevant theories of the Left, evaluates them against the reality of digital capitalism, and suggests structural and user practice alternatives that can pave the way towards a digital/communicative socialism. This paper engages with the works of Czech philosopher Radovan Richta (1924-1983) and Austrian-French philosopher André Gorz (1923-2007). It shows that their ideas on the scientific and technological revolution and post-industrial socialism are highly relevant for the analysis and discussion of digital/communicative socialism.

Author Biography

Dimitris Boucas, University of Westminster

Dr Dimitris Boucas is Visiting Researcher at the University of Westminster’s Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI) and Research Fellow at the London School of Economics in the UK. His research interests include digital technology policy, media policy, alternative journalism and social innovation. He has recently completed working on the EU-funded project netCommons, which examines community networks as complementary or alternative to the standard Internet. Dimitris has a degree in sociology from the Open University, UK, a MSc in science and technology policy from the University of Sussex, and a PhD in information society and the role of the state (with Greek information technology policy as case study) from the LSE. He has published on information society theory and policy and media policy and has extensive teaching experience in information society, media and communication theory and policy, social media innovation management and qualitative research methods. He has taught at various Universities, including the LSE, the University of Westminster, City University of London, the University of Paris (Dauphine), and the University of Piraeus.

Special Issue: Communicative Socialism/Digital Socialism