Digital Socialism Beyond the Digital Social: Confronting Communicative Capitalism with Ethics of Care

  • Donatella Della Ratta John Cabot University
Keywords: digital socialism, communicative capitalism, social media, care economy, feminist theory, ethics of care


This paper analyses the role of the “social” in communicative capitalism. It shows how the digital social is situated in the context of ideology, exploitation, and alienation. Based on the ethics of care, the essay outlines foundations of an alternative concept and reality of the social in digital socialism. It borrows the key concept of “care” from feminist theory and ethics and uses it to explore alternative paths to rethink “digital socialism” in the age of social media ubiquity and the pervasiveness of communicative capitalism. We need imaginative efforts to think beyond “capitalist realism” as a “pervasive atmosphere” (Fisher 2009, 16) that impacts not just the economy and cultural production, but also the domain of the ideas to the extent that it seems “impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it” (Fisher 2009, 2).

Author Biography

Donatella Della Ratta, John Cabot University

Donatella Della Ratta is a scholar, writer, performer, and curator specializing in digital media and networked technologies, with a focus on the Arab world. She holds a PhD from the University of Copenhagen and a postdoc from The Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. She has managed the Arabic speaking community for the international organization Creative Commons from 2007 until 2013, and is a former Affiliate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She is co-founder and board member of, recipient of the Digital Communities award at Ars Electronica 2014. Shooting a Revolution: Visual Media and Warfare in Syria (Pluto Press, 2018) is her latest essay.

Special Issue: Communicative Socialism/Digital Socialism