The Zócalo Book Prize is now in its fourth year. The $5,000 award this time goes to Ethan Zuckerman for "Rewire: Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection." "In the view of our distinguished panel of judges, Zuckerman wrote 2013’s most illuminating and compelling nonfiction book about community and human connectedness," says Zócalo. He will give the book prize lecture at MOCA on May 9, asking "Can the Internet Be Rewired to Build a Smaller, More Cooperative World?"
The Zócalo Book Prize comes from an integral part of our mission: to talk and think about how diverse societies cohere. In the past 11 years, we haven’t come up with all the answers—but we’ve done what we can to encourage scholars, writers, and thinkers to keep considering the question.
In Rewire, Ethan Zuckerman challenges our assumption that the Internet will inevitably create a more connected world. Since the Victorian era, utopians have believed that technology has the power to erase prejudice, enhance cooperation, and create a new global social order. Despite the ubiquity and power of the Internet, none of this has come to pass. Zuckerman shows how the Internet reinforces the human tendency to interact with those with whom we have the most in common. At the same time, he offers optimism about the many ways in which technology can do a better job of bringing people of diverse backgrounds and interests together.
He knows this subject firsthand. Zuckerman is the director of the MIT Center for Civic Media and co-founder of Global Voices, an international community of bloggers working to make online political dialogues more globally inclusive.