[Air-l] CFP: Ethnographies of the Internet: Grounding Regulation in Lived Experience

Christian Sandvig christian.sandvig at csls.oxford.ac.uk
Sun Dec 2 10:42:05 PST 2001

Ethnographies of the Internet: Grounding Regulation in Lived Experience
Oxford University - Friday, 8 March 2002

Researchers studying Internet use are invited to submit work with policy
implications for a one-day research conference to be held at Oxford
University.  This conference will bring together grounded research that
produces deep ethnographic accounts of the way that the Internet is formed
or negotiated by particular actors in a specific context, and open a
discussion about the lessons social science holds hold for law and policy
debates affecting the Internet.  These debates include: freedom of
expression, protection of minors, privacy, consumer protection, social
exclusion/the "digital divide", intellectual property protection,
globalisation, industrial and economic development, political
participation, access to public services, and others.

Governments and content developers for on-line media are now
acting to influence the development of the Internet on a number of fronts.
At the same time, scholars from many disciplines have applied social
scientific methods to the study of those who use and create the Internet.
This conference seeks to deepen our understanding of the confluence of use,
policy, and content production by confronting the interventions of private
and public actors with the scholarship on Internet use.  Specifically, we
hope to open a dialogue between policymakers, leaders in the on-line media,
and specialists in law and policy - and those who are developing rich and
detailed knowledge about the use of the Internet in everyday situations
through empirical research.

For the purposes of this conference, terms such as Internet
"policy" and "regulation" are meant to be as inclusive as possible.
Internet policy might include other policy initiatives not mentioned above,
and regulation might involve public agencies, private groups, and NGOs;
regulation might consist of state action, but also industry codes of
conduct that preempt state action, or even informal agreements between
actors.  Suggested topics include:

 * Ideal policies and products. What are the implications of current
   empirical research for public policy and Internet industries?  How can
   deep qualitative accounts which celebrate the particular provide lessons
   for public policies and media products that by necessity must apply to
   the general?

 * Macro initiatives/micro contexts. How do macro policy initiatives
   translate to the micro contexts of daily experience?  How do users
   respond to, challenge, promote or subvert regulatory action?  But also,
   how do producers, carriers, and media industries respond to, challenge,
   promote, or subvert regulatory action?  On the Internet, to what extent
   is the distinction between users and producers useful?

 * The Internet as disjunct. In what ways is the Internet different from
   and similar to other communication media?  Are there sound rationales
   for differential regulation?  Are there ways to leverage the existing
   knowledge about media and policy into Internet policy?

Most relevant will be broadly qualitative, rich methodologies in the
tradition of cultural anthropology, but now found in anthropology,
sociology, psychology, communication, socio-legal studies, media studies,
geography, cultural studies, and other fields.  This meeting will be the
4th CSLS conference on the theme of law and anthropology (relevant papers
are solicited from any discipline, however).

To present research that addresses the topic: "Ethnographies of the 
Internet: Grounding Regulation in Lived Experience," please submit an 
abstract via e-mail to Dr. Christian Sandvig 
(christian.sandvig at csls.ox.ac.uk).  Abstracts should be under 1500 words
and are due no later than January 7, 2002.  Abstracts should be in a 
common format (plain text, RTF, MS Word, PDF).  The key dates for the 
conference are:

  Jan 21 - Deadline for abstracts
  Feb 4 - Notification of acceptance
  Mar 1 - Completed papers due via e-mail
  Mar 8 - Conference held at Oxford University
As it may not be possible to accommodate all papers within the constraints
of a brief conference, selection may be necessary.  Accepted papers will be
considered for publication in a special issue of a peer-reviewed academic
journal and/or an edited book.  In order to provide lunch and refreshments
at the workshop, a small fee may be charged.  Additional information is
available on the PCMLP Web site (http://pcmlp.socleg.ox.ac.uk/).

Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP)
Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (CSLS)
Wolfson College, University of Oxford
Oxford OX2 6UD, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1865 284220
Fax: +44 (0)1865 284253

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