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February 09, 2007

After convergence, what connects?


Call for papers

:: fibreculture :: has established itself as Australasia's leading forum for discussion of internet theory, culture, and research. The Fibreculture Journal is a peer-reviewed journal that explores the issues and ideas of concern and interest to both the Fibreculture network and wider social formations. Papers are invited for the 'After convergence' issue of the Fibreculture Journal, to be published early in 2008. Guest editors are Caroline Bassett (Sussex, UK), Maren Hartmann (Bremen, Germany) and Kate O'Riordan (Lancaster/Sussex, UK).

Everything that arises does not converge. A more variegated landscape emerges as processes of digitalization, crystallizations of an intrinsically technological-social, continue re-shaping cultures and re-working societies, not in their image, but into something new. It is increasingly obvious that there is no digital behemoth, no single form, no single function, no New World Order. Rather a series of reconfigurations, reformulations, new functions, new contents, new spaces, new grounds, new uses, have emerged and are emerging within global media networks.

There are guidelines for the format and submission of contributions at http://journal.fibreculture.org. These guidelines need to be followed in all cases. Contributions should be sent electronically, as word attachments, to: Guest editors: Caroline Bassett (c.bassett[at]sussex.ac.uk), Maren Hartmann (maren.hartmann[at]uni-bremen.de), Kate O'Riordan (k.oriordan[at]lancaster.ac.uk).

In response to the (not unexpected) non-arrival of the unifying beast, which is to say in response to the perceived exhaustion of convergence (or the re-definition of its limits), new disciplinary islands are being declared with 'keep out' and 'invented here' signs all over their beaches. In other words there has been a balkanization of techno-cultural investigation. Thus gaming scholars define themselves against internet scholars, or film scholars, locatives stand distinct from screeners. Particular groups of sub-specialists claim particular modes of inquiry: ethnographers for everyday life, speculative theory for digital art, for instance. Indeed, entire vocabularies, originally invoked in a spirit of general experimentation, are now corralled, restricted and defended by particular groups. If these vocabularies often seize up in the process, refusing to say more than they were meant to say, and in particular refusing the unorthodox connections between the empirical and the speculative, the possible and the desirable, that gave them their energy in the first place, nobody seems to notice.

So, there is no behemoth. At the same time we insist that connections are produced and so a question we consider worth addressing is not what unites digital forms as one, but what connects them together as many. Further we want to explore how these connections are made. We are less interested in doing that through mainstreaming a particular critical approach (which is to say drawing different areas back under one critical umbrella, making that the connection), than we are in trying to think about exploring/defining/critiquing some of the shared characteristics of different digital media formations. We believe that despite the exhaustion of convergence metaphors, and the rise of disciplinary sub-divisions, these connections remain crucial.

Papers addressing but not limited to the following topics are welcome:

* Media/Medium Theory
* Difference between and specificity of New Media forms
* Issues, Limits, Problems of Convergence.
* Re-thinking the vocabulary of Affect/Emotion/Perception
* Histories of New Media Theory
* 'Technology and Cultural Form' revisited?
* Methodologies


* 250 word abstracts: due February 28th 2007
* Completed Paper: due September 30th 2007
* Expected Publication: February 28th 2008.

Posted by jo at February 9, 2007 04:39 PM