Call for chapters: digital existence 

Call for chaptersDIGITAL EXISTENCE (Ed.) Amanda Lagerkvist

What does it mean to be a human being in the digital age? How do media relate to Being itself? And how can we account for the lived experiences of our digitally enforced lifeworld, and for the thrownness of digital human existence (Lagerkvist forthcoming)? Taking stock of John Durham Peters’s recent proposition that media studies may have the grandiose ambition to “be a successor discipline to metaphysics, as the field which accounts for the constitution of all that is” (2015: 320) this volume will address the big and basic questions in our contemporary digital lives.

This book calls for chapters that offer a theorization of our contemporary digital existence, by appraising our media ontology: how media relate to our being. Contributions to this volume may raise questions such as: What are the implications of being “wired into existence through technology” (Turkle 2011), that is through our digital devices? How do digital media bring about ‘life’? How does the digital relate to matter, embodiment, and signification? How can we account for individuation within our cybernetic existence? How is our being-in-the-world crafted today by big data?

The volume further seeks to highlight the particular features of our digital exposures. What is the purchase of software on our sense of meaning, affect and being? Does hyper-connectivity imply a heightened sense of embodied connective presence – through social media, tagging, and sharing selfies – or is anxiety, insecurity, shock and loneliness saturating our mundane being-in-the-digital-world? What does it mean to ‘know’ that we are being surveilled? How do big data affect the prospects for achieving meaningful phenomenal human knowledge? How can we account for the future of memory and meaning in the data-driven life? And what is the role of technological affordances for producing a culture of trolling and hate?

This is closely related to ways of being human that emerge in the post-digital situation, and to questions such as: What existential challenges and potentials are involved when our selves are networked, quantified and distributed? And how may post-human discourse and design aid or obstruct us in addressing our existential problems? What are the ethical predicaments of anonymity online, or the moral costs involved in the loss of anonymity in social media? When collective identities and memories seemingly eradicate in the digital age, how are existentially imperiled groups voicing their collective concerns online? How do people ritualize their common experiences in digital environments, and what are digital rituals bringing about?

Our digital existence is also related to those existential experiences that involve the extraordinary and the transcendent: the experiences of endings, the beyond and of ghostly, mediated returns and echoes. The volume will therefore address questions such as: How can the ‘existential’ push forward debates on digital religion? What is the role of death and the yonder in media theory? How is mourning both digital and material and what kind of media concept emerges from these concatenations? What are the remediations of the Facebook ghost, and the role of repetition and returns for media theory? How do the digital temporalities of the enduring ephemeral, the everlasting and the hauntings of data, echo in media practice and philosophy?

Abstracts are invited under four thematic sections:

1. Media Ontologies

2. Exposure

3. Being Human

4. Transcendence

Timetable
o Deadline for chapter abstracts January 30, 2016 (submit your abstract of 300 words to Amanda.lagerkvist@ims.su.se<mailto:amanda.lagerkvist@ims.su.se>). Chapter abstracts will be peer reviewed by external readers.

o Notification of accepted submissions February 29, 2016

o Deadline for first full chapters: October 30, 2016. The chapters should be 7000 words, and referencing per Chicago manual of style.

o Estimated publication date: September 2017.