The Future of Change: How Technology Shapes Social Revolutions

For more than a generation, we have heard that “information technology is causing deep changes in how we communicate.” There has been a steady stream of literature supporting the claim, along with others who reject the claim.

In the 2020 book, The Future of Change: How Technology Shapes Social Revolutions, Ray Brescia make the claim that it is communication technology–whatever that is at the time–that does indeed contribute to social change. Using examples from the 18th century through events fewer than three years ago, Brescia describes how mail, phones, email, and social media have been used to accomplish meaningful social change.

Technology alone is not sufficient for social change according to Brescia. It is a part of the social change matrix that more completely explains successful social revolutions. When technology is used to promote positive messages that bring connections between translocal networks, Brescia argues, social revolution can happen.

Brescia tells the stories of how the social change matrix has been used accomplish social change. The examples are well-selected as they demonstrates how the matrix has been used to accomplish change that was thought to be unimaginable until it happened.