Monday, February 27, 2012

Call for Papers: Digcult #12 Conference: Theory, Context and the Internet

As received in email.

Digcult #12 Conference: Theory, Context and the Internet 
13-14 June, 2012 - MediaCity, Salford, U.K 

Ben Light and Marie Griffiths, University of Salford
Siân Lincoln, Liverpool John Moores University
Steve Sawyer, Syracuse University

Conference Theme 
Drawing on the success of the 2008-2010 Digital Cultures workshops, we will host the first Digital Cultures conference in June 2012.  In a world of virtual communication and social media, it can be argued that we face challenges regarding the theorization and contextualisation of Internet mediated activity. The desire to generate new knowledge coupled with the hyperbole and ‘upgrade me’ mindset that so often surrounds the Internet means that often new theoretical approaches are introduced as a way to understand current uses and meanings where perhaps they are not necessary.  In terms of context, contemporary experiences can sometimes be decoupled from prior experiences, resulting in rhetoric of ‘the new’.  The outcome of this can be an emphasis on discontinuity for example as demonstrated in discourses regarding the pre-Web 2.0 era. Web 2.0 is conceptualised as new, contextualised in a simplistic fashion and claims are made regarding the necessity of new theory to understand such a ‘revolutionary new world’.   

While clearly, societal change and socio-technical change are occurring variously across the planet (although the two may not necessarily be linked) continuity is also present – empirically and theoretically.  There is therefore, a need to consider the history of Internet mediated arrangements and, to continue an interrogation of the abilities of extant theory to respond to and facilitate understandings of contemporary situations.  We call for contributions that do 2 things:

 •     One, engage with an aspect of Internet mediated activity and historically contextualise it
 •     Two, engage with/generate theoretical approaches in a reflexive fashion. 

Themes that papers might address include (but are not limited to:
Dating, Commerce,         Gaming,                             Politics,
Play,                                  Social networking,            Privacy management,
Sex work,                         Home working,                  Entertainment,
Celebrity,                         Music production and consumption,
Pornography,                 the intensification of work and Work-life balance,
mediated youth             Health and well-being,         Travel/tourism,
Search information and media consumption,
blurring boundaries between work and non-work times and places. 

Following from the previous workshops, we see this conference as an outlet for digital media, ICT and technology related research which may not readily sit within conventional disciplinary areas.   We seek extended abstracts of up to 1000 words (excluding references) that engage with theory, context and the internet. We also welcome panel proposals incorporating three presentations.  These should comprise 3 x 1000 word abstracts and an outline of the purpose of the panel of no more than 750 words. 

We are hoping to see fully polished papers this year and as related to the conference theme.  However, we will also consider research in progress/poster sessions for work that is more generally related to digital culture or which might be in earlier stages of development.  Our desire for more focussed and complete work is two-fold.  First, in engaging the structure as above, we hope to generate a more intensive and reflexive discussion about the Internet than might be possible with more fragmented approaches.  Second, we intend the conference to be the starting point for an edited collection of papers in the area and contributors will be invited to submit to a wider call.

This follows in the tradition of previous conferences – for example, a special issue of the journal Information Technology and People entitled ‘Digital Culture: New Forms of Living and Organising , based partly on based on the 2010 workshop published in January 2011  (please see

Abstracts should be submitted to Siân Lincoln at by Wednesday 7th March 2012. Please also email Siân if you require any further information at this stage.

Important Dates 
Abstract Submission Date: 7 March 2012
Notification of Acceptance: 30th March 2012
Conference: 13 and 14 June 2012

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