#SocMedHE17: Making an impact
Tuesday 19th December 2017
at Sheffield Hallam University

The third social media for learning in HE conference: #SocMedHE17: Making an impact,  considers the role that social media – when used in formal and informal learning contexts – can play in addressing the major challenges currently being faced by Higher Education. This conference is accepting submissions from students, academics and managers from national and international HEIs.

The pressures on universities are hard to ignore. In the UK, the introduction of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and its core metrics – employability, teaching quality and retention – directly influence the direction of university strategies; while the National Student Survey (NSS) reveals specific contextual challenges that demand attention. Internationally, the titles may be different, but the pressures will be similar.

For the full call please visit:
http://go.shu.ac.uk/socmedhe.  

#SocMedHE17 encourages submissions (research, practice or discussion papers) that provide evidence of educators and students using social media to make a positive impact on these challenges in formal and informal learning environments. Indicative themes include:

  • engaging, stimulating and challenging learners
  • reaching and engaging different groups of learners
  • innovative ways of meeting learning outcomes and enabling learning gain
  • enhancing employability outcomes
  • building staff and student digital capability and confidence
  • scaling up excellence for broader impact

Please visit the conference site: http://go.shu.ac.uk/socmedhe for the full call, booking and planning information, and outputs from the previous SocMedHE conferences.

Follow us on Twitter @SocMedHE for regular updates
Use #SocMedHE16 to discuss the event.
Email socmedhe@shu.ac.uk

by Nick Fox and Marguerite Regan

For the past 18 months, the British Sociological Association (BSA) group Sociologists outside Academia (SOA) has been focusing on the potential for careers working as applied or practical sociologists, beyond the traditional remits of academia.  Sociology is essential not only for understanding the big problems that face society, but also the daily issues that need addressing at work, at home or in the community.  We believe sociologists have the concepts, the theories and detailed knowledge of organisations and human interactions that can address such everyday situations.  

In the US and elsewhere, sociology has already established a profile for solving these kinds of problems, but much less so in the UK.  That’s not to say there aren’t UK sociologists already using their skills and knowledge in applied settings.  Some call themselves ‘consulting sociologists’, others run businesses that provide sociological expertise to industry, local government and voluntary organisations.  There are also many sociologists working in areas where they bring to bear their knowledge and expertise, even if they don’t have the job title ‘sociologist’. But there is a lack of visibility around this application of sociology outside academia.

Last year an SOA workshop kick-started work on developing a field of applied and practical sociology here in the UK.  We considered the kinds of knowledge, skills and models needed to solve the problems that organisations, businesses and the public-sector face, and started to map out how careers as an applied sociologist could pan out. Doing this kind of applied sociological work required specific skills to explore how social and cultural factors link individual experience to everyday events. Generic skills were also needed, including reasoning, communication and collaborative working.  

SOA now wants to evolve this work further, by developing a curriculum in applied sociology for final year undergraduate students.  This curriculum can not only be offered to universities as an option they might develop for their students, but will also be a way to really clarify the knowledge, concepts, and subject-specific and generic skills that an applied sociologist will need to work effectively in non-academic organisations and settings.

We invite applications from sociologists who would like to join an SOA task and finish group to work on this development of an applied sociology curriculum.  We conceptualise a six-month programme, in which the group will meet virtually.  At the end, we will seek funding for a public launch of our curriculum for applied sociology.

If you are a sociologist who works predominantly in a non-academic setting, but use your sociological skills and knowledge to inform your work, we would like to hear from you.  We would also welcome one or two current undergraduate or master’s students to join the team, to provide input in terms of what is needed educationally in an undergraduate applied sociology curriculum.

Unfortunately, we cannot pay any fees for this work, and we do not have a budget for face-to-face meeting expenses.  This will be a labour of love, for those wanting to flex their sociological imaginations, and due credit will be given to all those involved.

Please contact Nick Fox, SOA co-convenor (n.j.fox@sheffield.ac.uk) for more information about the project and details of how to apply.   Applications will close on 19 June 2017 and successful applicants will be notified shortly thereafter.  

Special Issue of Chinese Journal of Communication: The Platformization of
Chinese Society

Extended Abstract Submission Deadline: July 1, 2017
Full Paper Submission deadline: February 28, 2018

Guest Editors: Jeroen de Kloet, Thomas Poell, Zeng Guohua

Full text: http://jeroendekloet.nl/the-platformization-of-chinese-society/

We are currently witnessing a fast process of platformization of Chinese
society. Social media, as well as platforms for collaborative consumption,
are emerging as new power players that challenge older institutions and
disrupt economic sectors like news, hospitality, and transport. Yet, in the
light of omnipresent government regulation and intervention,
platformization presents us with a very different set of problems and
questions than in the West. In the same way, we need to critically
interrogate the seemingly ‘natural’ connection between online platforms and
‘global capitalism’, which has been theorized through the notion of
‘platform capitalism’ (Smicek, 2016). Again China presents an odd case, as
it is hard to read China as a capitalist society (Nonini, 2008). Against
this background, the aim of this special issue is to critically engage with
the platformization of China, using China as a method (cf. Chen, 2010) to
interrogate, complicate, and complement current research on the global rise
of the platform society (van Dijck & Poell 2015). We thus ask in this
special issue: what does the platform society mean for China, but also,
what does China mean for our thinking about the platform society?

This special issue aims to empirically scrutinize different platforms that
are currently popular in China. The Chinese process of platformization
appears to differ on at least three crucial dimensions with developments in
the US and Europe. First, there are vital differences in the political
economy of platforms: the ownership structure and business models of
Chinese platforms are different from those in the US. This also has
implications for the ownership of data, raising issues of surveillance,
control and marketing of data (Couldry & Hepp, 2017; Dyer-Witheford, 2014).
Second, vital differences need to be taken into account in terms of the
architectures and affordances of platforms: user and programming interfaces
(and its semiotics), algorithms (what is made visible and invisible), and
infrastructures (how are third parties plugged into the platform ecosystem)
(Hookway, 2014; McVeigh-Schultz & Baym, 2015; Plantin et al., 2016).
Finally, Chinese online platforms appear to be characterized by particular
types of user practices and cultures, which differ from those in other
parts of the worlds (Poell, de Kloet & Zeng 2014; Qiu, 2016). Given that
the societal impact of new technologies is for an important part shaped by
how these technologies are integrated in social practice, these differences
greatly matter.

The contributions we solicit for this special issue will each focus on one
specific type of platform, following a typology based on a preliminary
inventory (see below). We envision contributions that analyze a particular
platform and its role in societal relations through the three dimensions
sketched above. These contributions are expected to build on the fields of
media and cultural studies, software studies and/or platform studies, in
their investigation of one of the following types of platforms:

1.     Public social media (e.g. weibo and douban)
2.     Private social media (e.g. weixin).
3.     News and search platforms (e.g. baidu)
4.     E-commerce services (e.g. taobao)
5.     Media sharing platforms (e.g. youku and tudou)
6.     Transport platforms (e.g. taxi didi and mobike)
7.     Food services (e.g. meituan and eleme)
8.     Dating platforms (e.g. tamtam and blue’d)

Evidently, we will welcome strong paper proposals, focused other types of
platforms as well.

Timeline

1200-word extended abstracts should be submitted by mail to Jeroen de Kloet
(b.j.dekloet@uva.nl) and Thomas Poell (Poell@uva.nl) by July 1, 2017. The
abstract should articulate: 1) the issue or research question to be
discussed, 2) the methodological or critical framework used, and 3)
indicate the expected findings or conclusions. Decisions will be
communicated to the authors by July 15, 2017.

Full papers of the selected abstracts should be submitted by February 28,
2018. All submitted manuscripts will be subject to a rigorous blind
peer-review process. All accepted manuscripts will be published online
first. The planned printed publication date is an issue of CJC in 2019.

Submissions should conform to the editorial guidelines of the Chinese
Journal of Communication found at http://www.informaworld.com/cjoc under
“Instructions for Authors.”

How exciting does this look?

Call for Papers: Special Issue on Computational Propaganda and Political Big Data

We welcome manuscripts from scholars across the social and computer sciences, and are particularly interested in research from teams of authors from both domains of inquiry. Please submit your papers online to our web-based manuscript submission and peer-review at www.liebertpub.com/manuscript/big<http://www.liebertpub.com/manuscript/big>.

http://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/2017/01/17/call-for-papers-special-issue-on-computational-propaganda-and-political-big-data/

Computational propaganda—the use of information technologies for political purposes—is on the rise. Many different kinds of political actors use a wide range of computational systems, social media platforms, and big data analytics to understand and manipulate public opinion. The political use of algorithms over platforms like Twitter and Facebook has received much journalistic attention, but it can be difficult to relate the dissemination of content over social networks to changes in public opinion or voter preference. The firms behind these platforms, however, increasingly acknowledge that politically motivated algorithms and automation can have deleterious outcomes for public life. How does big data get used for political purposes? Can the behavioural impact of politically-motivated big data manipulation be measured? How does the structure, function or affordances of computational propaganda vary across platforms, issue areas, or country cases?

This Big Data special issue on Computational Propaganda and Political Big Data, scheduled for publication in December 2017, aims to advance our understanding of how the Internet can be used to spread propaganda, engage with citizens, and influence political outcomes. We welcome submissions that utilize big data or engage with methodological, theoretical, practical, and ethical issues associated with politicized use of big data. The special issue seeks to describe and discuss:

– the effects of computational propaganda, automated social actors and bots on Internet platforms, Internet users and political processes.
– measurement of the distribution and impact of fake news;
– linking, sharing, and citation structures across large numbers of voters or supporters;
– the political economy of big data mining;
– the political inferences that can be made by reverse engineering de-personalized data, analysing relational data, or assembling shadow profiles on people not represented in political data;
– the path from exposure to computational propaganda to behavioural change;
– the use of the drones, smart city sensor networks, the Internet of Things or proprietary device networks for gathering politically valuable big data.

The editors also  seek research on the computationally creative ways of mitigating the impact of computational propaganda: alert systems for identifying algorithmically-based political manipulation or high levels of automation over device networks and social media platforms;  big data driven systems for source verification or fact checking that might raise trust in computing; ways of detecting the origins of manipulative content on massive social network platforms.

The deadline for manuscript submission is June 1, 2017. We welcome manuscripts from scholars across the social and computer sciences, and are particularly interested in research from teams of authors from both domains of inquiry. Please submit your papers online to our web-based manuscript submission and peer-review at www.liebertpub.com/manuscript/big<http://www.liebertpub.com/manuscript/big>.

Such a great project. Going to try and think of something to contribute to this:

All sociologists write stories – Game & Metcalfe, Passionate Sociology

The relationship between fiction and sociology is as old as the discipline itself. Sociological fiction is receiving increasing attention of late – see The Sociological Review’s blog series on sociology and fiction, and Patricia Leavy’s work with the social fictions series. As I’ve raised recently, parallel threads run between contemporary sociological and literary methods, their subject matter, and their critical approach. Fiction and sociology can do more than reciprocally illuminate understandings of social life. Sociologists can bring sociology not just to fiction, through sociological readings of fictional texts, but into fiction as writers.

I’m seeking submissions of fiction writing that strives to do just that. Bring sociology into fiction. Creatively enliven the sociological imagination. Tell a story.

The first volume of So Fi, a sociological fiction zine, is accepting pieces up to 1000 words until May 31, 2017.

Send submissions to ashleigh.watson@griffithuni.edu.au.

Creative Methods for Research and Community Engagement Summer School

6-8 July 2017, Keele University

PhD students and Early Career Researchers are welcome at this event organised by the Community Animation and Social Innovation Centre (CASIC) at Keele University.

The Summer School will be held in central England at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme (6-7 July) and Keele University campus (8 July), where you will experience the KAVE (https://www.keele.ac.uk/pharmacy/digital/kave/) and our Makerspace facilities (https://www.keele.ac.uk/make/).

The facilitator will be Dr Helen Kara, author of Creative Research Methods in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. Speakers will include:

  • Professor Mihaela Kelemen – CASIC Director
  • Dr Lindsay Hamilton – Keele Management School, Keele University
  • Véronique Jochum – Research Manager, National Council for Voluntary Organisations
  • Dr Emma Surman – Keele Management School, Keele University
  • Dr Ceri Morgan – School of Humanities, Keele University
  • Professor Rajmil Fischman – School of Music, Keele University
  • Sue Moffat – Director of New Vic Borderlines, New Vic Theatre

The Summer School will enlighten, inspire and guide ECRs and students at all stages of scholarly or professional doctorates. Each day will be packed with interactive hands-on sessions addressing six broad topics:

  • Arts-based research
  • Transformative research frameworks
  • Mixed-methods research
  • Knowledge co-production
  • Research using technology
  • Writing creatively for research

We are offering an “early bird” price of £230 for bookings received and paid by 21 April. After that date the price will be £270. The cost includes refreshments and lunches and a complimentary copy of Dr Kara’s book on creative research methods.

There will be a dinner and performance of ‘Around the world in 80 Days’ at the New Vic Theatre on July 6th, at an extra cost of £20.

For more information go to https://www.keele.ac.uk/casic/summerschool2017/

Please follow #CRMSS17 on Twitter for pre-event updates.

Call for Proposals

BAAL Language and New Media Sig Annual Meeting

MINI-CONFERENCE

Language, New Media and Alt.Realities

April 21, 2017

University of Reading

Proposals are invited for 20 minute paper presentations as well as posters/web-based presentations addressing the theme of ‘language, new media and alt.realties’.

Possible areas of interest include:

·       New media epistemologies and ontologies

·       New media discourse and political polarisation

·       Algorithmic pragmatics and political debate

·       Authoritarian and populist discourses online

·       ‘Trolling’ as a form of political discourse

·       Agnotology (the cultural construction of ignorance)

·       The crisis of ‘expertise’

·       ‘Fake news’ and ‘clickbait’

·       Hacking and disinformation

·       Infotainment and spectacle

·       Conspiracy theories and memes

·       Journalism in the age of social media

Please send your proposals in the form of a 250-word abstract to Prof Rodney Jones, University of Reading r.h.jones@reading.ac.uk <mailto:r.h.jones@reading.ac.uk>.

Deadline for Submitting Proposals: April 5, 2017

Social Imaginaries: The re-invention of social research
Panel discussion and book launch of Digital Sociology by Noortje Marres

 

Date and Time: 9 May, 5-7pm
Location: Central Saint Martins, Granary Building, Granary Square, London N1C 4AA

Hosted by:

– Innovation Insights Hub, University of the Arts London
– Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick
– Warwick in London.
With: Les Back (Goldsmiths), Lucy Kimbell (UAL), Hannah Knox (UCL), Noortje Marres (Warwick), Mike Savage (LSE), and Amanda Windle (UAL)

 

The digital makes possible new ways of monitoring, analysing and intervening in social life. Critics have pointed at the new forms of surveillance and control that this makes possible, and to new types of data economies. But the creation of new forms of knowledge about social life is central to efforts to implement digital infrastructures: they enable the introduction of new kinds of actionable insight into society. At the same time, however, the liking-and-sharing economy has recently been exposed to serve power more than truth. In this context, how can we communicate the constructive potential of the insight that knowing is a social process? What can be the role of social research in digital societies? This is the issue that Digital Sociology (Marres, 2017) examines, and one that this event will explore by way of a panel discussion about the following proposition: in a digital age, “knowing society” becomes an inherently interdisciplinary undertaking, one that requires mutual engagement, and thrives on creative exchange, between computing, social sciences, and the arts.
Places are limited, so please register at digitalsociologylaunch@gmail.com

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Friday 30th June 2017, University of Surrey, Guildford

BSA Early Career Forum Regional Event

Contemporary queer studies increasingly focus on broad areas of sociological concern. It is therefore common to find early career researchers working on issues relating to sexuality across the humanities and social sciences. This interdisciplinarity leads to exciting new areas of research. However, early career researchers can often find it difficult to connect with other researchers.

This one-day workshop event will provide a forum for discussing the past, present and future of queer research, with an emphasis on the challenges and opportunities faced by early career researchers. This broad theme will allow for discussions to take in theoretical issues, methodological problems and structural challenges that face the early career researcher working in areas of queer and sexuality studies.

We are delighted to announce our keynote speakers:

Dr Zowie Davy, De Montfort University

Dr Yiu-Tung Suen, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Call for papers

The event is limited to 20-30 people, and is structured as a participatory workshop with sessions designed to foster discussion and networking.

Attendees at the event will have the opportunity to present research in a “lightning” session of a limited number of short, 5 minute presentations. This will allow you to briefly present your research with the emphasis on meeting and networking with other researchers. We also invite applications for poster presentations at the event.

We want to focus on your research and interests. We therefore welcome the participation of all our fellow early career researchers in queer and sexualities research to this exciting event. We hope to bring together a wide range of perspectives in order to create a community of innovative research.

We invite early-career and postgraduate researchers who would like to present at the event to submit titles and abstracts of 100-150 words, to queers@surrey.ac.uk by 28th April 2017.  Please specify talk and/or poster in your email application.

Registration Costs:

BSA Members £10
Non Members £25

There will be a limited number of free spaces for unwaged or unaffiliated individuals. Please contact queers@surrey.ac.uk for more details.

Organising committee: Kirsty Lohman, Katherine Hubbard, Andrew King

Call for participation Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th May 2017 University of the Highlands and Islands, Inverness Campus

This two-day symposium arose out of a series of conversations and reflections on the nature of openness within Higher Education. It started with the observation that openness is increasingly seen as a technical question, whose solution lies in employing the low transaction costs associated with digital technologies with open licences to open up academic content to new groups of learners.

Where critical voices have engaged this partial reading they have often rightly critiqued the degree to which this is truly open, for example, drawing on older traditions of open to question the freedoms free content allows for those already distanced from education.

However, other questions also arise in a critical reading of open, and these include:

  • What does open mean beyond releasing content?
  • What is the role of open academics in dealing with problems ‘in the world’
  • How should staff and students become learners within community contexts, developing and negotiating the curriculum based on those contexts?
  • What would it mean for openness as a way to allow new voices into the academy, to acknowledge knowing and ways of knowing outside the academy, and where can and should our open spaces – both digital and physical – intersect?
  • If we are to advocate allowing learners’ experiences and organisations to inform the academy how open should academics be to the influence of private capital?

These are the kinds of questions, amongst others, that we want to explore in this symposium.

More Information: https://www.uhi.ac.uk/en/learning-and-teaching-academy/events/the-porous-university-2013-a-critical-exploration-of-openness-space-and-place-in-higher-education-may-2017

As the workings of civil society are being disrupted by the challenges of ‘alternative facts’, ‘fake news’ and notions of post-truth, Cosmopolitan Civil Societies Journal has decided to devote a special issue to this topic. Our approach is broad; the flow of information is fundamental to civil society and that flow and its interactions with the structures of society and the individuals in society takes many forms. The following list is by no means exhaustive: Journalism (and fact checking); Cultural Studies and the World of Make-Believe; the scientific record and predatory publishing; climate change and climate deniers; Civic literacy and democracy; Public Relations and Spin; social media, experience and opinion; state strategy and astro-turfing; the new right and post-facts; dramaturgy of post-factoids …
We are calling for papers between 4,000 and 8,000 words which reflect in some way on the concepts of alternative facts/fake news/post truth either on our understandings of civil society or on professional practices within civil society.

Our deadline for submission is Friday 31 March. Decisions on acceptance will be communicated by 28 April. The issue will be published in July 2017.

See the journal at:

http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/mcs

For more information please contact Hilary Yerby at: Hilary.yerby@uts.edu.au

This looks like a very interesting panel:

We are looking for a few additional people who might be interested in contributing to an AoIR panel exploring critical questions and issues surrounding algorithmic agency, power and publics.

Researchers and media commentators alike are seemingly fascinated with the magic-like and opaque properties of algorithms. Algorithms are touted as responsible for, or implicated in, a range of diverse outcomes and opportunities – from the mundane to the transformative – for individuals, corporations and communities.

Questions around how to critically frame and understand algorithmic agency in contemporary life and where and how to situate questions about power and accountability are raised. This panel is interested in addressing and reframing some of these issues, including the challenges in locating agency in the first place, the politics of making agential claims, and the possible social, political and ethical implications of algorithmic agency (however defined) within and towards publics.

If you are interested in participating please send a 1200 word abstract following the AoIR template to Michele (m.willson@curtin.edu.au<mailto:m.willson@curtin.edu.au>) and Taina (wfg568@hum.ku.dk) by the 25th February outlining your specific contribution to a discussion of algorithmic agency, power and publics.  Short queries about the suitability of topic can be sent to either one of us before that date.

Those contributors whose topic fits the panel mix will be contacted  by late 27th Feb. (given the impending deadlines, it is a tight turnaround). Depending on the range and mix of submissions,  we may also  explore a possible special issue publication. Please only submit should your attendance at the conference be a likely outcome.

Apologies for this very short notice, we tried sending this message out a week ago but it somehow got stuck along the way.

This is interesting. I’m instinctively sceptical of it for a number of reasons but I’m very interested to see how it unfolds:

Meetup has always served as an organizing platform for a wide range of political views, welcoming everyone from the Howard Deaniacs to the Tea Party. Meetup will always welcome people with different beliefs.

But after the recent executive order aimed to block people on the
basis of nationality and religion, a line was crossed. At a time when core democratic ideals feel under attack, we feel a duty to spark more civic participation.

Last week, we created 1,000+ #Resist Meetup Groups to act as local hubs for actions on behalf of democracy, equality, human rights, social justice, and sustainability. Already 50,000+ people have joined.

These #Resist Meetups are open to anyone who want to create a bright future that’s rich with opportunity and freedom for all.

Meetup exists to connect people so they create opportunity and make the world they want. We hope members take these Meetups forward to be powerful together.

This looks like a great conference. I long for a travel budget:

Conference website: http://internetbeyond.net/en/

Key questions

– The history of the internet: the development of the networks, local
cases of technology adoption
– The alternative networks, intranet, Fidonet as well as local small
networks
– Anthropological and ethnographic studies of the internet: how to prove
or refute the quantitative rates
– Critical understanding of working with quantitative data: ethical and
methodological problems
– Mixed methods using digital tools

We welcome participants to submit proposals on these topics and arrange an
English-speaking session. The deadline is March, 31.

Our mail:* info@internetbeyond.net <info@internetbeyond.net>. *The
application should be written in Russian or English and include: title,
five keywords, annotation (approximately 300-500 words), information about
the author: full name, position / year of study, the name of the
organisation/university.

Call for contributions

“DIGITAL EXISTENCE II: Precarious Media Life”

Conference October 30-November 1, 2017, at the Sigtuna Foundation, Sweden

Digital media have the power to transform our existence, raising particular questions and vulnerabilities as part of the experience of being human in the digital age. Big data and hyperconnectivity, tracking and trolling, digital life and digital death are only some of the issues that require an existential media analysis that underscores the precarity of human existence. This conference will be devoted to critically mapping the various digital vulnerabilities that face us in our contemporary media age.

Confirmed keynote speakers:

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Brown University, USA
Jeremy Stolow, Concordia University, Canada
Beverley Skeggs, Goldsmiths College, UK

Endnote speaker: Peter-Paul Verbeek, University of Twente, Holland

Following on from the conference “Digital Existence: Memory, Meaning, Vulnerability” organised by DIGMEX and the Nordic Network for Media and Religion in October 2015 (et.ims.su.se), which successfully opened up the field of existential media studies, the second Digital Existence conference will specifically focus on the precarity and vulnerability of the digital human condition.

Focusing on the keyword vulnerability raises a number of questions that invite fresh answers. For instance: does hyper-connectivity imply a heightened sense of connective presence – through social media, tagging, and sharing selfies – and/or is anxiety and loneliness saturating our mundane being-in-and-with-the-digital-world? How do big data, tracking and mass surveillance affect our sense of ‘existential security’? What is the role of technological affordances for producing cultures of affirmation and shared celebration – as well as cultures of trolling and hate? What existential challenges are involved when our selves are distributed? What kind of human being and types of sociality are normatively forged in digital culture? And what regimes of knowledge, truth and belief are prompted by digital means for measurement, recording and visualization? How are digital tools meaningful (or not) for those exposed to extreme conditions of precarity, such as displaced and refugee populations?  How does the internet shape how we are born and celebrate, die and mourn? And if digital technologies mediate transcendence, what are the exposures and values of such forms of technospirituality? Such questions will need to be engaged within a reframing of the digital beyond the prevailing frameworks of  social, cultural, political and economic analyses. They invoke existential issues that require an existential media analysis that foregrounds the precarity of human existence (Lagerkvist 2016). This conference will therefore unearth the diverse renditions of vulnerability that face us in digital existence.

In Precarious Life, Judith Butler (2004) argues for conceiving of vulnerability as a precondition of being and becoming human – as an ontological given – bound by the fact that we are relational beings, exposed to one another. We are exposed, that is, by virtue of being finite, dependent and limited; and that exposure and vulnerability are what constitutes us as moral beings. The utterance of vulnerability, she holds, will enact its very acknowledgement, and such a performance will bring about something important: “Vulnerability takes on another meaning at the moment it is recognized and recognition wields the power to reconstitute vulnerability“ (2004: 43). This conference takes this acknowledgement as its point of departure: naming vulnerability as part of the preconditions for being human in the digital age, may similarly forge a fresh and timely perspective on our precarious media life. Our very being is one of limits and incompleteness. Human communication itself is limited (cf. Pinchevski 2005). The boundedness by limits also applies to the limitations (and vulnerabilities) of technologies themselves, due to breaches of and glitches within the systems. Digital existence is constituted both of and within limits. In Karl Jasper’s philosophy the limit-situation of crisis, loss or guilt (Jaspers 1932) in itself constitutes a space that also brings forth or enables new possibilities; these are today entangled with the digital. The conference will therefore also seek to highlight the enabling aspects of limitation and vulnerability. While concurring with a cautious universalist position, conceiving of vulnerability and suffering as transformative existential experiences that create a “tenuous ‘we’ of us all” (Butler, 2004: 20), the conference will simultaneously stress the diverging, unevenly distributed, locally specific, and often culturally-variable dimensions of our digital vulnerability. Thus, our inescapable existential uncertainty is amplified both by the technological culture and socio-political order (Bauman 2007). And aspects of digital media expose us differently in different national and cultural settings across the world, and with different racialized and gendered implications (Citron 2014, Chun & Friedland 2015). Hence, in conversation with existential philosophy, the interrogation of the ways in which our media societies and technologies position us as vulnerable, may furthermore harness broader debates on vulnerability, frailty and debility in feminism, crip theory, posthumanism, sociology, postcolonial theory etc.

We are looking for contributions in the shape of position papers that highlight various thematic aspects of digital vulnerability, relating for instance to birth, death, presence, memory, trauma, selfhood, agency, sociality, ethics, religiosity, exile, trolling, hate, surveillance, virality, automation, mental illness, debility or the precariousness of technologies themselves.

Conference format
The conference will adopt an exploratory workshop format with the aim of creating new trajectories of thought. This is by deliberately veering away from conventional paper presentations followed by a discussion toward a more open-ended but at the same time intellectually intensive framework.  The success of the conference will therefore depend on participants’ commitment, which will involve a fair amount of in advance preparation.  First, each participant is required to submit beforehand a concise position or ‘provocation’ paper consisting of 1000 words, or 2 pages. These position papers will be used as a starting point for opening the discussion, and need not include polished statements or comprehensive conclusions/arguments but should present ideas or cases in relation to the overarching theme.

All participants will be expected to read all positions papers, which will be made available electronically well before the conference. Participants are also expected to come well prepared with comments and feedback. A chair will be assigned for each session, and those selected for the job will be contacted with specific instructions.  Each session will begin by a short recap of relevant position papers, followed by invited responses by 2-3 discussants, continuing with an open discussion. The overall idea is to build on previous reading and preparation by participants in order to advance in our thinking on the conference themes as far as possible.

During Day II of the conference there will be a walk-and-talk session where participants will be encouraged to step outside and walk in groups through the magnificent Sigtuna area while continuing the conversation. These walking-and-talking discussion groups will then reconvene to a full plenum discussion.  Later that day there will be a screening or performance in relation to the theme of digital vulnerability. On the final day there will be a writing session. The conference will end with a final plenary with keynote speakers and respondents, and an assigned discussant who will be asked to also round up the conference in a brief endnote. This will be followed by an open discussion with a focus on how to move further within DIGMEX in terms of conferences, workshops, publications and research collaborations.

Important dates
Deadline for abstracts of 200 words, bio and contact details: March 15, 2017 (Send them to katerina.linden@ims.su.se)
Notification of acceptance: April 15, 2017
Deadline for confirmation of attendance:  April 30, 2017
Deadline for submitting position papers: August 20, 2017

Practical information
The Sigtuna Foundation is a beautiful venue, located in medieval Sigtuna. only 15 minutes from Stockholm’s main airport (Arlanda). http://www.sigtunastiftelsen.se/?lang=en

No fee will be charged for this event, and lodging and food for attendees presenting a position paper will be covered by the conference budget. There is an option to participate without presenting and this would imply covering the expenses by other means. Presenters will cover their own trips to Sigtuna! A limited number of master students may receive a scholarship covering their travels.

The organising committee consists of Amanda Lagerkvist (Head of programme), Katerina Linden (Conference co-ordinator), Michael Westerlund, Timothy Hutchings, Amit Pinchevski, Charles Ess, Mia Lövheim, Anna Reading and Tony Walter.

Funding
The conference is organised by DIGMEX, a network within the research programme EXISTENTIAL TERRAINS: Memory and Meaning in Cultures of Connectivity (2014-2018) and funded by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation and Stockholm University, in collaboration with Sigtunastiftelsen. The programme is headed by Amanda Lagerkvist, PhD. Associate Professor, Wallenberg Academy Fellow in The Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University. Questions about the research programme may be directed to Amanda Lagerkvist:  amanda.lagerkvist@ims.su.se<mailto:amanda.lagerkvist@ims.su.se>

*DIGITAL INEQUALITIES AND DISCRIMINATION IN THE BIG DATA ERA*

*Preconference of the International Communication Association ’17*

May 25, 2017, San Diego Hilton Bayfront, San Diego, California (USA)

Co-sponsored by the Pacific ICTD Collaborative, the School of
Communications (University of Hawaii at Manoa), and the Institute for
Information Policy (Penn State University)

*Abstracts due: February 10, 2017 *

*CALL FOR PAPERS*

A growing number of ordinary objects are being redesigned to include
digital sensors, computing power, and communication capabilities – and new
objects, and processes, are becoming part of the Internet. This emerging
Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem – networks of physical objects embedded
with the ability to sense, and sometimes act upon, their environment, as
well as related communication, applications, and data analysis, enables
data to be collected from billions of everyday objects. The emerging
datasphere made possible by these developments offers immense potential to
serve the public good by fostering government transparency, energy
conservation, participatory governance, and substantial advances in medical
research and care. On the other hand, a growing body of research addresses
emerging privacy and civil liberties concerns related to big data,
including unjust discrimination and unequal access to data and the tools
needed to make use of it.

For example, big data analytics may reveal patterns that were previously
not detectable. Data about a variety of daily tasks that seem trivial is
increasingly being federated and used to reveal associations or behaviors,
and these analyses and the decisions made based on them pose potential
harms to individuals or groups. Many transactions that seemed innocuous can
now be used to discriminate – one’s movement throughout the day, items
purchased at the store, television programs watched, “friends” added or
looked at on social networks, or individuals communicated with or who were
in close proximity to the subject at various times, can all be used to make
judgements that affect an individual and his or her life chances. With the
advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning, we are increasingly
moving to a world where many decisions around us are shaped by these
calculations rather than traditional human judgement. For example,
sensitive personal information or behaviors (e.g., political or
health-related) may be used to discriminate when individuals seek housing,
immigration eligibility, medical care, education, bank loans or other
financial services, insurance, or employment. At the same time,
individuals, groups, or regions may also be disadvantaged due to a lack of
access to data (or related skills and tools) to make use of big data in
ways that benefit their lives and communities.

This preconference session seeks to advance understanding of digital
inequalities and discrimination related to big data and big data analytics.
*Papers between 5,000-8,000 words and position papers between 1,000-2,000
words are welcomed.*

*TOPICS OF INTEREST*

We welcome scholarly and applied research on, but not limited to, the
following:

• Social, economic, and ethical implications of big data analytics in a
variety of contexts (e.g., access to housing, immigration, medical care,
education, bank loans or other financial services, insurance, or
employment).

• Perspectives on big data from scholars from emerging economies or
traditionally marginalized groups.

• Predictive analytics, algorithmic discrimination, and
artificial-intelligence-based decision making.

• Digital inequalities, such as unequal access to big data sets, skills, or
tools.

• Emerging data literacies.

• Use of big data to counter social and economic inequality (e.g.,
promoting civil rights and social justice).

• Disclosure of algorithms, algorithmic transparency, and the public good.

• Big data, security and encryption (potential for hacking, theft,
third-party abuse).

• Government and corporate surveillance.

• Big data brokers and sale of personal data (is privacy a commodity or a
right?)

• International norms and standards for big data.

• Policy/legal analysis related to big data and the preconference theme
(e.g., standards of liability for injury and defective work products
(algorithms/burden of proof), the challenge of Notice and Consent,
liability for bad or false or slanted or insufficient data collection,
government regimes for supervision of big data policies).

• Consumer bill of rights for big data.

• Big data and anonymity, re-identification of anonymous data.

• Big data vs. privacy as an essential condition for safeguarding free
speech, intellectual property (i.e., how IP laws impact big data), or
Constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and association.

Papers may include empirical research as well as policy analyses, new
methodological approaches, or position papers addressing the preconference
theme.  Submissions by graduate students working in this area are welcomed.

*The costs of the workshop are heavily subsidized by the participating
Institutes, to keep fees for participants at a nominal level.*

*IMPORTANT DATES*

*Abstracts due*: February 10, 2017

*Notifications to submitters*: February 27, 2017

*Full papers due*: May 12, 2017

*SUBMISSION GUIDELINES*

Abstracts of up to 500 words and a short bio of the author(s) should be
emailed to pictdc@hawaii.edu  by  February 10, 2017. Please include
“Digital Inequalities ICA 2017” in the subject line.

Full papers accepted for presentation at the preconference will, with the
consent of the authors, be submitted to the Journal of Information Policy (
http://www.psupress.org/Journals/jnls_JIP.html/) for consideration for a
Special Issue curated by guest editors from the field. The papers will be
blind peer-reviewed, to assure their academic value to both authors (for
academic credit) and readers.

Very pleased to be keynoting this fantastic BSA PhD conference in a couple of months:

What is the role of the researcher outside the academy? This event invites Postgraduate and Early Career Researchers to innovate and critically reflect on three related areas of public sociology: academic activism, public engagement, and participation and co-production. It encourages researchers to articulate and address diverse challenges, such as neutrality, networking, and whether activism can be considered a form of public engagement.

This event includes a keynote lecture from distinguished speaker Dr Mark Carrigan, Digital Fellow, The Sociological Review, presentations by invited speakers, a film created using participatory methods, a participatory session, and the chance to network and discuss work with fellow researchers. The aim is to provide an environment in which participants have the space to be questioning, to have a lively exchange of ideas, and to be inspired to explore the potential of these ideas in their own research.

Call for Abstracts and Posters

We would like to invite Postgraduates to take part in a five-minute PechaKucha presentation and/or a poster presentation: the call for abstracts is now open. Given the brevity of the presentations, abstract submissions should be no longer than 200 words. Abstracts for presentations are due on 24 February 2017 and poster confirmation is needed by 1 March 2017. There are small prizes for the best poster and the best presentation.

Oral presentations and posters may cover any aspect of Public Sociology, including, but not limited to:

  • dissemination of knowledge beyond academia;
  • participatory research methods and challenges;
  • positionality of the researcher and relationships of power;
  • approaches and practice in the co-production of knowledge;
  • academic activism.

Competitions

Participants are encouraged to submit a poster for a poster competition, which will be judged by the conference organisers. All posters will be accepted. Please contact the organiser for details.

There will also be a small prize for the best PechaKucha/Standup presentation, selected by a ballot of the conference participants.

I’m very excited that the Digital Geographies working group of the Royal Geographical Society is now up and running. Find out more on their website here.

Our aims are to:
  • Provide a platform and intellectual community for geographers to engage in discussions of the digital and geography
  • Help stimulate and deepen critical engagement and conceptualisation of the digital, both within Geography and beyond
  • Offer a focal point within Geography to showcase the relevance of geographical research in contemporary discussions of the digital
  • Nurture discussion of how digital technologies are changing the methods of geographical research, scholarship, teaching, writing and impact work
  • Develop links to other disciplines, networks and practitioner communities related to “the digital”