[Air-L] CfP: ICTs and the Structural Transformation of the Private Sphere

Charles Ess charles.ess at gmail.com
Tue Feb 28 02:04:31 PST 2012

Dear AoIRists - sent on behalf of our colleagues Fortunati and Bakardjieva -

Call for papers:

Special Issue of the European Journal of Cultural Studies

ICTs and the Structural Transformation of the Private Sphere

Edited by Maria Bakardjieva and Leopoldina Fortunati

Dear Colleagues,

The European Journal of Cultural Studies has expressed interest in
publishing a special issue on the above topic. We invite scholars who
conduct research in the area of new media in the private sphere and  are
interested in the questions we pose in our proposal to contribute
original papers. Our goal is to have international diversity of
contributions and hence experiences, sensitivities and conceptual
perspectives. All submitted papers will undergo double-blind peer  review.

The deadline for submission of the completed papers is July 1, 2012.
Please let us know if you have any questions. Feel free to send us  your
papers whenever you have them completed.

Maria Bakardjieva (bakardji at ucalgary.ca)and Leopoldina Fortunati
(fortunati.deluca at tin.it)

 ICTs and the Structural Transformation of the Private Sphere

The objective of this special issue is to pick up the examination of  ICTs
in private spaces where domestication theory and research left  off
(Silverstone et al., 1992, Silverstone, 1994, Berker et al, 2006).  The
domestication perspective has enabled researchers to account for  the
active role of users in making sense of and appropriating new
communication devices. The next step, in our view, is to ask what  happens
to the domesticators once the domesticated technologies have  become
deeply and intimately incorporated and inscribed into the  spaces and
rhythms of their daily lives. Do activities, relationships  and roles in
the household remain fundamentally the same, or may be  some cultural and
even civilizational changes take hold?  Does the  private sphere retain
its basic structure, or does it undergo a  significant re-configuration?

Our main interest in this issue, then, would be to explore the
transformations occurring in the private sphere as a result of the
widespread use of ICTs. Sociological theory has considered the private
sphere as typically exemplified by home life and family relationships  as
well as the very notions of the private that members of a culture  share
such as the proverbial bubble of personal space and the fuzzy,  but
nontheless persistent set of experiences individuals consider  exclusively
their own. Communication research, for its part, has shown  how different
media have systematically punctured and eroded the  already porous
boundary delineating the private sphere: from the  startling ring of the
telephone and the ensuing moral panic at the  realization that any
stranger could potentially disrupt the peace and  quiet of the home to the
intricate reconfiguration of the family?s  routines and its members?
relationships with the outside world that  television brought about. The
current generation of ITCs has carried  that erosion further to the extent
that the very idea of the private  sphere has become problematic and
almost untenable. The honoured abode  of private life, the home, has been
penetrated by gadgets and  practices that decimate its introvert and
intimate activities. At the  same time fragments and instances of private
life have broken out of  the fragile boundaries of the home and have
profusely populated the  public world with the assistance of mobile
devices. But if this is so,  then how are some of the essential and
defining functions of the  private sphere being reconfigured and
outsourced in the new media age?  How, where and by whom is intimacy
established as a central humanizing  condition? How, where and by whom is
the emotional nurturing of the  human being and its moral education
performed? How are human bodies  and identities created and reproduced, if
the primordial role of the  family and the order of home space are being

Thus, the structural transformation of the private sphere poses also  the
question of the division of domestic labor and the personal and  social
position of women. Feminist research has already demonstrated  that the
appropriation and practices of use of ICTs have become a  terrain of
feminine initiative, creativity and social change. What has  the influx of
ICTs meant for women?s traditional responsibilities and  the material and
immaterial work they do in the household? Have women  been able to
appropriate new media technologies in ways consistent  with their current
role as mothers and ?handlers? of extended family  networks? Or have they
been swept away by the flood of new voices,  enticements and imperatives
channeled by ICTs? Have women been able to  use ICTs for re-negotiating of
their traditional roles and changing  them? Have ICTs created ?more work
for mother? (Cowan, 1983) and, if  so, what kind of work is it?

The private sphere, it can be argued, has been challenged by the  market
and, more broadly, by the economic system, on the one hand, and  the
public and semi-public world, on the other. It has been  effectively taken
over by interactions of commercial, ideological and  sociable nature to
the extent that its defining rituals ? the family  dinner, the morning
?goodbye? kiss, the Sunday outing or game ? have  been washed away by
diversions that have drawn family members apart  into their own individual
enclaves of interest and sociability.  Furthermore, the primary and most
characteristic mode of communication  among family members ? the immediate
face-to-face and body-to-body  encounter ? has been eclipsed by mediated
exchanges such as the e-mail  message or Skype call from one bedroom to
another, or the texted  announcement of coming back late tonight. The key
function of the  private sphere in reproducing and nurturing human bodies
has been even  more undervalued in a culture where disembodied activities
and  interactions have become the venerable norm.

The economic system, for its part, has not stopped at radio jingles  and
television ads, but has brought the shopping mall into the heart  of the
living room and has injected commercial appeal into the most  personal
pursuits and intimate friendly interactions. It has reached  for the place
of the ultimate moral and cultural authority that shapes  identity. Even
more profoundly, it has devised techniques for  extracting economic value
from the affective labour of ICT users  carried out within private spaces
and times in an unprecedented volume  and intensity (Terranova, 2004).

This special issue will cast light on these developments through
theoretically informed empirical studies that will cover a broad  spectrum
of issues and experiences related to the transformation of  the private
sphere across a variety of national contexts. We are  hoping to be able to
put together a diverse and yet conceptually  consistent collection of
contributions that trace the structural  transformation of the private
sphere in rich empirical detail and  imaginatively consider its social and
cultural implications.


Berker, T., Hartmann, M.,  Punie, Y. & Ward, K., eds., (2006).
Domestication of media and technology. Maidenhead and New York: Open
University Press, pp. 80-102.

Cowan, R.  (1983) More work for mother: The ironies of household
technology from the open hearth to the microwave. New York: Basic Books.

Silverstone, R. (1994) Television and everyday life. London and New  York:

Silverstone, R.; Hirsch, E., and Morley, D. (1992) Information and
communication technologies and the moral economy of the household. In

Silverstone and Eric Hirsch (eds), Consuming technologies: media and
information in domestic spaces (pp. 15?31). London: Routledge.

Terranova, T. 2004. Network culture: Politics for the information age.
London, Ann Arbor, MI: Pluto Press.


Format of mss: Each manuscript should contain:

(i) title page with full title and subtitle (if any). For the purposes  of
blind refereeing, full name of each author with current affiliation  and
full address/phone/fax/email details plus short biographical note  should
be supplied on a separate sheet. Owing to the broad range of  subject
matter, authors are encouraged to supply the names of one or  more
potential referees with full address information included.

(ii) abstract of 100-150 words

(iii) up to 10 key words

(iv) main text and word count -- suggested target is about 7000 words
(including notes and references). Text to be clearly organized, with a
clear hierarchy of headings and subheadings and quotations exceeding  40
words displayed, indented, in the text

(v) end notes, if necessary, should be signalled by superscript  numbers
in the main text and listed at the end of the text before the  references

(vi) references should follow Harvard style, i.e. references are cited  in
the text by author and date with a full alphabetical listing at the  end
of the article.

Articles in journals: Chen, K.H. (1996) 'Not Yet the Postcolonial  Era',
Cultural Studies 10(1): 37&BAD:ndash;70.

Articles in books: Morris, M. (1988) The Pirate's Fiancée: Feminism
Reading Postmodernism. London: Verso.

Articles in edited books: Schudson, M. (1991) 'The Sociology of News
Production Revisited', in J. Curran and M. Gurevitch (eds) Mass Media  and
Society, pp. 141&BAD:ndash;59. London: Arnold.

Unpublished articles: Van Zoonen, L. (1996) 'One of the Girls? Or the
Incipient Feminization of Journalism?', keynote address to the  Norwegian
Research Council, Oslo.

Tables: tables should be typed (double line-spaced) on separate sheets
and their position indicated by a marginal note in the text. All  tables
should have short descriptive captions with footnotes and their  source(s)
typed below the tables.

Illustrations: all line diagrams and photographs are termed 'Figures'  and
should be referred to as such in the manuscript. They should be  numbered
consecutively. Line diagrams should be presented in a form  suitable for
immediate reproduction (i.e. not requiring redrawing),  each on a separate
A4 sheet. They should be reproducible to a final  printed text area of 115
mm x 185 mm. Photographs should preferably be  submitted as clear, glossy,
unmounted black and white prints with a  good range of contrast. All
figures should have short descriptive  captions typed on a separate sheet.

for reproducing through any medium of communication any  illustrations,
tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously  published elsewhere.

Style: use a clear readable style, avoiding jargon. If technical terms  or
acronyms must be included, define them when first used. Use  non-racist,
non-sexist language and plurals rather than he/she.

Spellings: UK or US spellings may be used with `-ize' spellings as  given
in the Oxford English Dictionary (e.g. organize, recognize).

Punctuation: use single quotation marks with double quotes inside  single
quotes. Present dates in the form 1 May 1998. Do not use points  in
abbreviations, contractions or acronyms (e.g. AD, USA, Dr, PhD).

Disks: on acceptance of your manuscript for publication, you will be
asked to supply a diskette (preferably PC-compatible) of the final

Proofs and offprints: authors will receive proofs of their articles  and
be asked to send corrections to SAGE within 3 weeks. They will  receive a
complimentary copy of the journal and 25 offprints of their  article.
Reviewers receive 5 offprints.

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