A New Industrial Future? 3D Printing and the Reconfiguring of Production, Distribution and Consumption

By Thomas Birtchnell and John Urry (2016) London: Routledge.

A New Industrial Future? examines whether a further industrial revolution is taking place around the world. In this compelling book Birtchnell and Urry examine such a new possible future involving the mass adoption of 3D printing. The locating of 3D printers in homes, offices, stores and workshops would disrupt existing systems and pose novel challenges for incumbents. The book drawing upon expert interviews, scenario workshops and various case studies assesses the potential future of global manufacturing, freight transport, world trade and land use. It offers the first book-length social scientific analysis of the character and impacts of a new system of manufacturing that is in formation. The book will be of interest to urban planners, policy makers, social scientists, futurologists, economists, as well as general readers by offering inquiry on this future upheaval in the means of production.

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By Anthony Elliott (2016) London: Routledge.

Identity Troubles documents various contemporary mutations of identity – from robotics to biomedicine, from cosmetic surgery to digital lives – and considers their broader social, cultural and political consequences.

Elliott offers a synthesis of the key conceptual innovations in identity studies in the context of recent social theory. He critically examines accounts of "individualization", "reflexivity", "liquidization" and "new maladies of the soul" – situating these in wider social and historical contexts, and drawing out critical themes. He follows with a series of chapters looking at how what is truly new in contemporary life is having profound consequences for identities, both private and public. This book will be essential reading for undergraduate students in sociology, cultural studies, political science, and human geography. It offers the first comprehensive overview of identity studies in the interdisciplinary field of social theory.

"A compelling and original analysis of the impact of the digital revolution upon everyday life, the self and the body."

Anthony Giddens, House of Lords and the London School of Economics, UK

"A really exciting and comprehensive dissection of many different identity troubles in an accelerating, trans-human world on the move - a world of invention, celebrity and makeover."

– Professor John Urry, Distinguished Prof of Sociology and Co-Director Institute for Social Futures, Lancaster University, UK

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Journal Articles

Birtchnell, T., Böhme, T., & Gorkin, R. 2016, '3D printing and the third mission: The university in the materialization of intellectual capital', Technological Forecasting and Social Change, DOI:

Bissell, D., & Del Casino Jr, V. 2017, ‘Whither Labor Geography and the Rise of the Robots?’, Social and Cultural Geography, forthcoming, DOI:

Boyd, R., & Holton, R. 2017, 'Technology, innovation, employment and power: Does robotics and artificial intelligence really mean social transformation?', Journal of Sociology, DOI:

Richardson, L., & Bissell, D. ‘Geographies of digital skills’, Geoforum, under review.

Rylands, B., Böhme, T., Gorkin III, Robert, FJ., & B, Thomas. 2016 'The Adoption Process and Impact of Additive Manufacturing on Manufacturing Systems', Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, DOI:


Birtchnell, T 2016, 'A licence to print: how real is the risk posed by 3D printed guns?', The Conversation,

Bissell, D., Burgess, J., Roberts, J. Stephens, E. 2016, ‘Automating the everyday’, Public Panel Debate, State Library of Queensland, Broadcast on ABC RN, Radio Australia, RTE Radio 1 Extra (Ireland), CBC (Canada).


Bissell, D. 2016, ‘Robotics, AI and employment futures in the Asia-Pacific’, Invited presentation at National Technology University of Singapore-ANU Research Symposium, Canberra, September 2016.

Elliott, A. 2016, 'Artificial Intelligence and the Self', Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin, December 6th, 2016.

Elliott, A. 2016, 'Digital Life: Global Transformations After Robotics, Artificial Intelligence And Digital Technologies', Institute for Social Futures, Lancaster University, December 5th, 2016.

Elliott, A. 2016, 'Digital Life: Global Transformations After Robotics, Artificial Intelligence And Digital Technologies', Munich Center for Technology in Society, November 28, 2016.

Elliott, A. 2016, 'Digital Life: The Sociology of Robotics', Finding Futures in Uncertainties, 6th International Postgraduate Conference, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 22-24 September 2016.

Elliott, A. 2016, 'Digital Life: The Sociology of Digital Technologies, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence', Keio University, Key-note, June 2016.

Elliott, A. 2016, 'Digital Life: The Sociology of Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Digital Technologies', Public Lecture, College of Sociology, Rikkyo University, and the Society for Sociological Theory in Japan, June 2016.