Why People Censor, from the Inquisition to the Internet


ACLS Fellowship Program




The digital revolution is triggering a wave of new information control efforts, from copyright battles to the Great Firewall of China. Many people think of censorship as carried out by a centralized Orwellian institution, a looming, distant them. “Why People Censor” challenges this idea by examining the real human beings who have been censors over five centuries. Using historical cases of what actual censors have attempted and why, this book dispels the myth that censorship is primarily conducted by malevolent, top-down, centralized organizations, and introduces the more common forms of local, ad hoc, commerce-driven, and bottom-up censorship, which easily persist even in societies that officially condemn censorship.