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Everything in this book is accelerating. Digitization is increasing globalization tenfold; social networks have gone mobile: telephone, television and towns themselves have gone ‘smart’. How did China manage to create clones of Google, Facebook and YouTube, and build its own censored version of the internet? How do Arab countries use social networks for their revolutions, and how has Israel become a ‘start-up nation’ thanks to the web? Is there a real danger that English will become the world’s ‘default’ language on the internet? Why is there no Secretary for Communications in the United States, and why does no one regulate the internet there?
From Silicon Valley to Tokyo, from Brazil to Washington, from South Africa to southern India, and all the way to Cuba and Gaza, this unprecedented study in the field covers the whole battle for the internet and its future.
In Mainstream, Frédéric Martel described the global war between culture and the media; with Smart, he continues the investigation in all the digital capitals. Drawing on hundreds of interviews in about fifty countries, he analyses the interplay of key figures on the web and the logic of American internet giants, and he examines the different ‘internets’ on five continents.
In so doing he reveals that we are moving into a connected, globalized world, but also a territorialized one. The Americans may currently be worried about the ‘Balkanization’ of the internet, but this book shows that the internet has never been truly global, and that it will become increasingly local.
About the Author
Frederic Martel is a French researcher and a journalist specializing in the United States and Europe. He has a PhD in social science and is the anchor for ‘Soft Power’, the most famous radio programme on media and entertainment on French National Public Radio. He is the author of nine books, including On Culture in America (2006) and the international bestseller Mainstream: The Global War on Culture and Media (2010). Smart has been translated into nine languages.
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