[Air-L] CfP: One-day workshop on online commitment to collective action

Mercea, Dan Dan.Mercea.1 at city.ac.uk
Wed Mar 30 03:59:00 PDT 2016

Call for Papers: 'I Will if You Will, Too': Conditional Commitment in Collective Action
Research Workshop
3 June 2016, City University London
Deadline for Submissions: 25 April 2016
This one day workshop convenes academics, activists and political practitioners investigating the potential and consequences of new-social and technological-participatory designs.  The main focus of the meeting will be on conditional commitment (CC), a theoretical and practical solution to the perennial collective action problem that the attainment of a collective good by otherwise autonomous individuals is most likely to happen when everyone knows that everyone else will also act. As a collective action is proposed, conditional commitments to act are made. The action only takes place once a critical mass of commitments are made. Conditional commitment represents a new "digital" syndicalism-citizens, organising outside the walls of the state, challenging political power via digitalised collective aggregation.
What excites a small but growing number of academics and political practitioners is the new viability of this mechanism afforded by the collapse of the transaction costs in the three way communication needed for this process to take place: the naming of the target critical mass; conditional commitments to that target; informing that the target has been reached. While in the analogue age the costs of this communication over a dispersed space were prohibitive, with social media technology space and time constraints are effectively removed.
Some specific questions to be considered are:
How can conditional commitment, which is now well established in the economic and cultural sphere (e.g. Groupon and Kickstarter), be effectively transferred to the political realm?
Is conditional commitment subject to its own cultural collective action problem - people do not know about it and therefore do not use it - and how can be this be overcome?
What are the potentialities of hybrid models which combine offline and online communication of CC to lever collective action? The use of face to face canvassing to tell people about the target critical mass was piloted in the recent UCL rent strike in London by one of the workshop organisers (http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/jan/25/london-students-refuse-to-pay-rent-and-demand-40-cut).
What are the various applications of CC in the contemporary political field, in social and community relations, culture and the creative industries and how can they be promoted with a view to creating a more equitable and just society?
We invite 250 word abstracts that outline academic research, practical examples or case-studies as well as experience-led assessments of these and related questions. Abstracts should be emailed to Roger Hallam at roger.hallam at kcl.ac.uk<mailto:roger.hallam at kcl.ac.uk> .

Proposals will be evaluated on a rolling basis. The deadline for submission is 25 April. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out at the earliest opportunity and no later than 9 May 2016.

Roger Hallam (King's College London, roger.hallam at kcl.ac.uk<mailto:roger.hallam at kcl.ac.uk>)
Dan Mercea (City University London, dan.mercea.1 at city.ac.uk<mailto:dan.mercea.1 at city.ac.uk>)
Matt Wall (University of Swansea, M.T.Wall at swansea.ac.uk)

Dan Mercea
Sociology, City University London
St John Street, EC1V 0HB
iCS Special Issue Protest Communication Ecologies

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