[Air-L] CfA: Communication+1, Special Issue “Digital Sovereignty”

Christoph Borbach Christoph.Borbach at uni-siegen.de
Thu Nov 30 02:13:48 PST 2023

Dear colleagues and AoIR fellows,

We would like to draw your attention to the following current call for 
abstracts of the journal /communication+1/ for a special issue on 
“Digital Sovereignty”. We look forward to receiving your paper 
proposals! Please feel free to forward the CfP to potentially interested 

best greetings,
Christoph Borbach
CfA: /_communication+1_/, Special Issue “Digital Sovereignty”
**ed. Christoph Borbach, Carolin Gerlitz, and Tristan Thielmann
Artificial Intelligence, quantum computing, and new smart sensor 
technologies have an enormous disruptive potential: not only for the 
replacement of established media and cultural techniques, but also for 
the future shaping of digital practices, the cohesion of societies, data 
justice, and, last but not least, on contentious issues of digital 
sovereignty. The special issue of the platinum open access and 
double-blind peer review journal /communication+1/ 
<https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cpo/>) on “Digital Sovereignty” will 
therefore bring together current research on the subject area.

This issue addresses sovereignties in a pluralistic way, regarding: the 
technical sovereignty of critical infrastructures; right to 
informational self-determination; cognitive sovereignty with respect to 
automated decisions; the supposed sovereignty of the internet of 
autonomous things, or digital practices like autonomous driving; and 
questioning the sovereignty of traditional scientific disciplines when 
it comes to overarching (Critical) Data Studies. Updating Callon and 
Latour’s classical analysis of a new body politic (1981), this issue 
conceptualizes digital sovereignty as a distributed accomplishment. It 
is based on a multitude of small socio-technical mediations that unfold 
agency in every step of data production, distribution, and consumption. 
Data-intensive media, distributed agency, and digital sovereignty are 
therefore co-constitutive.

The current ubiquity of environmental sensor technologies and the 
associated “environmental conditioning of media” (Thielmann 2022) 
results in a ubiquitous datafication (Cukier/Mayer-Schoenberger 2013) 
and the collection and valorization of huge amounts of big data – 
including sensitive data such as movement profiles, tracking of 
purchasing and internet behavior, or face and voice recognition, of 
which the datafied subjects are largely unaware. This touches on ethical 
as well as legal issues and establishes new forms of discrimination, 
which now appears as data discrimination. Data bias as ‘the dark side of 
big data’ directly touches on issues of sovereignty both of the subject 
and of entire cultures and societies, with technologies of the Global 
North often being the focus of research and aspects of indigenous data 
sovereignty (Kukutai/Taylor 2016) being neglected.

In 2022, the entire digital universe comprised a data volume of approx. 
94 billion gigabytes which equates to 94 zettabytes. In 2025, the amount 
of global data will already exceed 200 zettabytes (Rydning 2022). Such 
quantities of data allow for new modes of capture (Agre 1994) and 
surveillance (Zuboff 2019) and can no longer be sensorily processed and 
understood by humans, even if artificial intelligence and algorithms 
harbor the promise of making the flood of data manageable. The 
transformation of contemporary cultures into scalable data societies or 
“datafied societies” (van Es/Schäfer 2017) demands interdisciplinary 
research on the consequences of today’s ubiquitous and omnipresent 

The current discussion on digital sovereignty is an immediate 
consequence of economic, political, and technical developments. This 
concerns economic questions on the use of personal data; the political 
dimensions of digital sovereignty of whole nations, and individual 
self-determination regarding information; or the technological pervasion 
of our everyday lives by AI, machine learning, and blockchain media, as 
well as network technologies (Augsberg and Gehring 2022). To date, the 
discourse on digital data sovereignty has primarily been shaped by the 
social sciences. Hardly any research has been conducted on the media of 
sovereignty and their data practices (Couture and Toupin 2019; Amoore 
2020). The planned special issue of the journal /Communication+1/ takes 
this as an opportunity to represent current research on the topic of 
digital sovereignty in all its breadth.

Upon invitation, full-text submissions will be due August 15, 2024, with 
expected publication in Spring 2025. We are seeking abstracts (500 words 
max.) for submissions until *December 31, 2023* (to be sent to 
*christoph.borbach at uni-siegen.de*, subject: “communication+1 Special 
Issue: Digital Sovereignty”), that might address—but are not limited 
to—one or more of the following topics:

●Practices and technologies of data sovereignty

●Conceptual work on the terminology: what does “digital sovereignty” 
mean and what does it look like

●Perspectives on digital and data sovereignty beyond the Global North

●Data bias and data discrimination as counterparts of digital sovereignty

●Histories and fictions/imaginaries of digital sovereignty

●Relevance of activist groups and countercultures to prevent data 

●Legal aspects of data sovereignty, also from ahistorical perspective

●Ethical aspects of sensor media

●Media technologies and politics of sensors and sensing

●Sociological perspectives on sensor practices

●Ubiquitous datafication

●Counterpractices to regain digital sovereignty

●Potentials of praxeology to investigate modes of digital sovereignty

●Dangers of ubiquitous datafication for sovereignty in the digital age

●Data-processing law and legal aspects of digital data sovereignty

-- Dr. Christoph Borbach Team »Science, Technology and Media Studies« 
www.mobilemedia.uni-siegen.de University of Siegen

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