[Air-l] CFP: workshop on surveillance infrastructure
David J. Phillips
djp at mail.utexas.edu
Fri Feb 10 16:16:33 PST 2006
PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY
OPEN CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
Workshop on Generating Collaborative Research in the
Ethical Design of Surveillance Infrastructures
June 8-11, 2006; Austin, Texas
Surveillance may be understood as a set of processes of identification,
tracking, analysis and response which organize social knowledge, social
relations, and social power. Surveillance mediates everyday life. For
example, internet "cookies," shopping loyalty cards, and mobile phone
numbers all individuate and identify us. These identifiers are used to
index databases recording our web surfing activities, our purchases, and
our movements. The databases are subjected to statistical analysis in
order to produce knowledge of demographic categories, typical patterns, or
suspect behavior. This knowledge is then applied back to individuals in
the population in order to assign each to a particular niche market or risk
group, and to act toward them accordingly. Thus, through surveillance,
knowledge is created, categories and types are produced, individuals are
assigned social identities, and actions are taken that articulate those
identities within a larger social order.
These surveillance practices are themselves shaped by overlapping and
intertwined technical systems, laws, institutional configurations, and
cultural understandings. This "infrastructure" of surveillance supports
patterns of access to the resources of knowledge production, social
visibility, and social position.
In June 2006 a three-day workshop will be held in Austin, Texas. The
purpose of the meeting is to generate collaborative research projects
* the social implications of surveillance practice,
* the technological, legal, economic, and cultural infrastructures that
shape surveillance practice, and
* possible technological, legal, economic, or cultural interventions to
reshape those infrastructures to desired ends.
The workshop will address this issue in the context of the following themes:
* If surveillance mediates the production of categories and types of
people, how can surveillance infrastructures be shaped to permit
individuals, and groups of individuals, to coalesce around a particular
* How can surveillance infrastructures mediate the ability of groups
and individuals to "perform" certain identities within certain contexts?
* How can surveillance infrastructures mediate the ability of
subcultures to generate and sustain knowledge of and for themselves?
* How can surveillance resources be appropriately allocated to ensure
that groups of many scales (the family, the subculture, the nation) are
able to defend, protect, and nurture their own (perhaps conflicting) interests?
We seek participants whose interests and expertise complement and expand
upon each other's work in social theory, information system design,
business, and public policy, and who will be able to address issues such as:
* the application of legal paradigms other than privacy to practices of
information collection. We are particularly interested explorations of
legal theories of cultural rights and information commons.
* the application of novel information processing techniques,
including, but not limited to, pseudonymity, digital rights management, and
* the application of social theories of identity, including queer
theory and performance studies.
* the intersection of market interests with ethical surveillance practice.
The workshop is intended to provide the initial venue for the production of
fundable, collaborative, cross-disciplinary research proposals.
Participants will be expected to prepare a position paper for distribution
one month prior to the meeting. At the workshop itself, we will identify
synergistic interactions of expertise, fruitful research directions, and
possible sources of funding. After the workshop, participants will be
eligible to apply for seed money grants to complete collaborative grant
proposals to pursue those projects. Participants will also be invited to
contribute to an edited volume.
The project will provide meals and accommodation for workshop participants,
and will reimburse reasonable travel costs. Please include a quote of
lowest available airfare in your application. Participants from outside the
U.S. are especially encouraged to apply.
Potential participants should submit (to djp at mail.utexas.edu) proposals
consisting of two parts:
(1) a 750-1000 word abstract, describing your area of research, its
relevance to the conference topic, and a proposed presentation. The
abstract should directly address a collaborative element a
cross-disciplinary or cross-professional alignment that would further the
presenter's research goal.
(2) a one-page biography or curriculum vitae, listing your relevant
publications and experience.
The deadline for proposals is March 1, 2006. Participants will be selected
by March 20, 2006.
For more information, please contact David Phillips (djp at mail.utexas.edu),
This project is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant
#0551532 and by the University of Texas College of Communication and
Department of Radio-Television-Film.
David J. Phillips, Associate Professor of Radio/Television/Film
University of Texas at Austin
djp at mail.utexas.edu
512-471-6624 (voice); 512-471-4077 (fax)
Postal address: 1 University Station A0800, Austin, TX , 78712-0108
Street address (for deliveries): CMA6.118 (26th and Whitis)
Office address: Walter Webb Hall 404
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