[Air-L] Reminder - Call for Papers - Platform Politics

Hands, Joss Joss.Hands at anglia.ac.uk
Mon Feb 7 09:52:05 PST 2011

* FINAL REMINDER – Platform Politics - Call for papers deadline, Monday 14
February  2011*



Platform Politics - Call for Papers
A Multidisciplinary Conference in Cambridge, UK, 12 & 13 May, 2011
Wired recently announced the ‘death’ of the Web, based on the premise that
platforms are becoming the primary mode of access to the Internet. Platforms
are portals or applications that offer specific Internet services, frameworks
for social interaction, or interfaces to access other networked
communications and information distribution systems. Additionally the
prevalence of mobile computing and its operating systems, that prioritise
Internet access via ‘apps’ not web browsers, is intensifying this
transformation, and this model is now being applied to tablet computing - and
may well soon spread into general computing and computer mediated
communication. These platforms are able to take advantage of the scale-free
architecture of the Internet to built very large user bases and communities
of interest. However, unlike the world-wide-web, these platforms are often
proprietorial, have closed protocols and operate as a kind of privatised
public space. As such platforms themselves are becoming the object and
enabler of politics, but also new arenas of control. Therefore network
politics can be seen as pertaining not only to the question of content (what
questions, agendas and activities are taken up and promoted as political?)
but also to the role of platforms and apps as political ‘objects’ that shape
the form and the structure of political mediation.
Such proprietorial platforms as Facebook and Twitter have been used in the
various modes of organization of political events, both on and offline, and
have been discussed with enthusiasm as new tools for stimulating the
democratic process, with electoral campaigns, and as organising tools to
influence public opinion and create pressure groups. At the same time the
proprietorial nature of these platforms and their role as an integral part of
a ‘communicative capitalism’ works to create a situation of great ambiguity
and has not gone unnoticed in either network theory or software development.
There is, however, an emerging movement of software development for activism,
and non-proprietorial social networking, that places at its core the values
of openness, decentralisation and not-for-profit projects - such as Diaspora
and Thimbl - that are emblematic of the alternative political economies of
network politics. So the question of how politics is increasingly processed
through the form of software and hardware design, as well as the hacking of
closed platforms and creation of peer-to-peer networks, is a pressing one.
This conference thus wishes to engage with the full range of these concerns
and to map out the place of software, hardware and online platforms, as a
realm of both control, but also as opportunity for radical political
practices, in the ‘democratising’ of democracy, and in the challenge to the
‘interpassive’ political economy of communicative capitalism.

Hence, this conference is interested in such questions as:
?      What are the platforms on which network politics takes place and what
can we think of as political ‘action’ in this context?
?      What are the particular forms of platform politics and how can we
theorize such forms and practices?
?      Can we extend critical theory into such new modalities as media
critique through software?
?      How to think circuit bending, hardware hacking and such practices as
?      What are the future forms and new conceptualisations of hacking that
merit attention?
?      Can we really conceive the ‘openness’ of FLOSS (Free, Libre, Open
Source Software) as a genuinely radical practice or
        rather another circuit in the production of communicative capital?
?      Is it too late to ‘de-monetise’ social media?
We invite theoretical interventions, empirical papers, as well as case
studies from theorists, practitioners, and activists to engage with the
question of “platform politics”.
Speakers include: Nick Couldry (Goldsmiths College, University of London),
(Michael Goddard (University of Salford), Tim Jordan (King’s College,
University of London), Dmytri Kleiner (Telekommunisten), Tiziana Terranova
(University of Naples, L’Orientale). Also with Greg Elmer (Ryerson
University) and Ganaele Langlois (University of Ontario Institute of
Technology) representing the Infoscape Research Lab.
Please send your abstracts of up to 400 words by Monday 14 February 2011  to
both organisers:joss.hands at anglia.ac.uk  and jussi.parikka at anglia.ac.uk -
acceptances will be announced by Monday 7 March 2011.
This conference is part of the project Exploring New Configurations of
Network Politics, funded by the AHRC and situated at Anglia Ruskin
University, Cambridge, UK. The project’s previous events have tackled
methodological and theoretical questions underpinning network politics, as
well as new object oriented approaches for interdisciplinary analysis.
More info on the project:



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