Digital Culture: Promises and Discomforts
The ongoing mediatisation process is subject to social transformations as well as technical innovation processes and creative practices. We endorse digital technologies with the promises of a better way of life, solving our problems of managing the world’s complexity, allowing better participatory policies and helping us in our daily life. At the same time, however, we are confronted with the fundamental problems of technological structures, such as the problems of Internet surveillance, control and the unequal distribution of power on the Web. Looking at digital cultures as a driving force of social change, we find ourselves confronted with a variety of contradictory images of digital culture and its possible futures.
In this workshop we want to critically discuss the promises and discomforts of digital culture taking into account the tensions raised by different material practices, understandings and social orders around the role of digital media in performing social change. Special focus lies on the three aspects of Digital Culture:
(1) Digital imaginations and narratives
The images of future are drawn in tecno-scapes, like in science-fiction films, artificial intelligence designs, virtual worlds or metaverses. What kinds of individuals, societies and environments are imagined through the growing pervasiveness of Digital Culture into our lives? How digital imaginaries shape our experience and relate to our ways of narrating ourselves and our creative practices? What are the role of innovation, creative industries and urbanlabs in the design of the future and in the different kinds of social intervention? How digital imagination is performing new narrative forms as well as transforming knowledge production and sharing?
(2) Digital Neighbourhoods and Citizenship
Among the existing networked digital technologies it is smartphones and tablet computers, which are becoming increasingly popular at an extraordinary pace. These devices not only make digital media applications truly ubiquitous but also create an abundance of digital location-sensitive information, which saturates local places, social relations, and the perception and organisation of neighbourhoods. The concept of space turns into a mash-up of material and digital places, creating new forms of the social while at the same time renegotiating the cultural and political logics of local/global or private/public. How does the use of digital media trigger new social phenomena, such as altered forms and modes of communication, collaboration, consumption, infrastructure, mobility or public service?
(3) Digital Engagement and Social Change
Digital engagement manifests itself in a broad range of digital practices. People discursively engage through and with digital media and thus dissolve spatial, temporal and social boundaries. Especially a few popular commercial social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, are presumed to play a crucial role in the process of social change by means of interaction and connectivity. On a political dimension, citizens and activists voice their opinions, discuss political issues, organize and mobilize for protest in new or alternative public spheres. However, it remains unclear, whether and in which differentiations digital media engagement affects established power relations and thus promotes social change. Which diverse forms of political engagement unfold in digital media environments? How can underlying technological and power structures of media be rendered visible and to what extent do they affect the possibilities and boundaries of digital engagement?
We welcome papers picking up any of the described issues and topics and we will also consider contributions related with digital forms of social intervention, art projects or urbanlabs proposals. Extended abstracts should be no longer than 700 words, written in English and contain a clear outline of the argument, the theoretical framework, methodology and results (if applicable). Participants may submit more than one proposal, but only one paper by the same first author might be accepted. Panel and paper proposals from PhD students and early career scholars are particularly welcome. All proposals should be submitted by May 15, 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out after June 30, 2013.
We are delighted to announce the following two keynote speakers:
The workshop will take place at the Department of Media Studies of the University of Bonn, Germany, Poppelsdorfer Allee 47, 53115, Bonn. The conference date is October 2nd – 5th, 2013. More information on the conference venue and registration will be published here and at dccecrea2013.uni-bonn.de.