Connected Learning: Keynote by Mimi Ito

Mimi Ito opened the one-day conference HighTech Human Touch today at Aarhus University  with a keynote on “Fostering Creativity in a Connected Age”. In the early 2000’s, Ito had investigated mobile phone use and youth culture in Japan long before the smart phone became a staple gadget in everyday life in the West. Questions of media literacy and youth cultures, ways of learning with and in media have informed her research and activities ever since. In his introduction, Martin Brynskow asked where insights about future developments were best to be perceivable, whether in the US, Europe or Asia, and whether there are common lessons we can share to build sustainable societies.

Ito opened her talk with the question in what ways expert cultures and citizens (learners, youth, employees …) can interact beyond the established models of formal education.  Her talk addressed the challenges of learning in an era of abundant connectivity and how to leverage the potential of endless information resources and expert cultures for those who are not socially or culturally connected to them. How can learners from diverse background make the most of this environment? All institutions that channel access to information and knowledge, e.g., schools, universities but also administrations, are largely based on different technological conditions of regulated access (and artificial scarcity). But are they ready for this new interconnected age?

Among young people, usage time of media (in whatever form) is on the rise in the US, peeking at around 9 hours a day used for television, gaming (across gender lines), and maintaining social relationships online and offline. While in the early 2000’s, meeting people online (only) was still regarded as a little weird, now, it more common to meet online (first) and (sometimes) take connections to the “real life”. (Pew Research (2015). “Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015“)

What happens when younger, always connected students confront traditional formats of knowledge creation and learning? Engagement in community services and school activities steadily declines from elementary school to high school. In the US, 45% of college students show very little learning in the first two years (See  Arum, Richard; Roksa, Josipa (2011). Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. University of Chicago Press). In addition, expenditure for out-of-school activities is on the rise for high income families but stalls for low-income families. But informal learning in social experiences, creative work, etc. is becoming more and more important for a successful professional life (See Duncan, Greg J.; Murnane, Richard J. (2011). Whither Opportunity?: Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children’s Life Chances. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

IN THEORY, the abundance of digital resources for learning should encourage a lot of forms of informal learning. THE PROBLEM, of course, is that an abundance of choices overpowers and that highly educated and well-sourced learners are the most likely to take free open online courses. “The rich get richer” and the better educated you are the better you can educate yourself, ITO suggested (See Hansen, John D.; Reich, Justin (2015). “Democratizing Education? Examining Access and Usage Patterns in Massive Open Online Courses.” Science 350(6265): 1245-1248.)

Trying to overcome this digital divide, connected learning as it is championed and developed by ITO and her colleagues at the CL Alliance needs to be embedded in personal interests, (real) opportunities and peer culture. Learning is best achieved when it creates a form of connected learning where all these three elements are strengthened. SO FAR, individual interests and activities remain isolated and detached from schools curricula and formal learning tracks. People who navigate the classic track in institutions successfully, usually also have a very strong network outside of these institutions that supports the path.

Learning for everyone, to be inclusive and to level social inequalities, must connect learning experiences through mentorship and “guide people to opportunities.” Formal schemes for mentorship are more widespread in companies and as a form of career training. MOST MENTORING in school age happens INFORMALLY (through families, networks of friends). Mentoring does not solve all problems of learning and developing a sense of self. But the HUMAN CONNECTION to a mentor makes LEARNING more successful. Learning and creating something together gives it a purpose beyond the formal attainment of grades or degrees. Sharing work and getting recognition for achievements is the single most important factor for successful learning.

Connected Learning Research Network // http://clalliance.com // https://clrn.dmlhub.net/ Affinity Project https://clrn.dmlhub.net/projects/the-affinity-project

Mimi ITO / 伊藤瑞子 // http://www.itofisher.com/mito/

 

Affective Interfaces

I am publishing my notes taken during the workshop Affective Interfaces @ITU Copenhagen, 30 Nov. 2017. Cheers and Thank you to the organizers JONAS Fritsch, SØREN Rasmussen, TORSTEN Andreasen. These are notes looking for an interface with only minor edits for publication // my own views // accents and selections

OPENING

JONAS welcomes roundabout 50 participants to the symposium. Shall address “real-time level Interface events” // “affective modulation” of communication online // Workshop is part of project “Affects, Interfaces, Events” // focus on Affective ENCOUNTERS, TONALITIES, ATTUNEMENTS, CROWDINGS, MODULATIONS

THE INTERFACE was the TOUCHPOINT BETWEEN THE HUMAN AND THE MACHINE (which used to be restricted to a screen). This now changes. EXAMPLES: smartband for EPILEPSY DETECTION by empatica – sense an attack before it happens // MACHINE PERCEPTION: face becomes the interface e.g. in APPLE face recognition // SELF-DRIVING CARS: Where is the interface of that device with the environment?

HOW to analyse “interfaciality”…?

TORSTEN gives a summary of affective dimensions and alienation. Question the interface. “Regime of the interface” ALLOWS to do certain things. “as long as you participate” nothing happens (cf. Alexander Galloway’s Interface Effect). Spectacle of the Interface // affective networks (Jodi Dean) participate instead of acting? // Current capitalism is the endless accumulation and proliferation of affective interfaces. (trace that genealogy back to  Marx, Debord, Agamben [and Torsten]). // Interface as zone of indistinction between human and non-human, action and non-action.

PRESENTATIONS

Cross-Examination: The Izbica Massacre Video
Susan Schuppli Goldsmiths University London)

From Project “Material Witness“: compare the testimony of witnesses to massacres in its affective dimensions in relation to the “glacial” mechanic pace of prosecution process at the ICTY [International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia].  Address “performance of justice in the architecture of the court as a flawed design problem.” Tapes of the Izbica massacre (made by Liri Loshi) were smuggled in different versions out of Kosovo, occasionally being hidden away, regained, transported and hidden again.

From abstract: “As the tape journeyed through the ICTY it furnished a great deal of insight into its complex legal role as an interface between victims and perpetrators; a relationship organised by the institutional protocols of the court and the affective register of testimony, which included human as well as material witnesses.”

The court proceedings are mediatised in many ways as no material evidence enters the court room without prior digitization. Every evidence is video or/and image, along with recorded testimony and its simultaneous translation in 5 languages. Case for “forensic architecture”. Witnessing decoded. Lack of image stability and graininess attests to its authenticity. At the same time, in a court prosecution, this defect may be a source of doubt. As the video is cited in trial, shown again, stopped, excerpted etc. its force of evidence is continuously questioned and translated into proceedings that reinstate the affective dimensions of the circumstances of its original production. The “material witness” (ie. the tape) with its material-digital defects stands in for the human witness, who can no longer speak. Interested as how violence is recorded across the material strata of the world.

Why is the material defect important?

  • the video is edited for the purposes of the court which is changing its status as an evidential object. The judicial process becomes inscribed in the object
  • its material degradation gives rise to doubt about its evidentiary status (low-tech camcorder aesthetic). How the logic of institutional protocols is inscribed in objects that are supposed to speak for someone else

Reading-Writing the Metainterface Body
Christian Ulrik Andersen & Søren Bro Pold (Aarhus University)

New book: The Metainterface: The Art of Platforms, Cities, and Clouds // Metainterface is “both omnipresent and invisible, universal and intimate, at once embedded in everyday objects and characterized by hidden exchanges of information between objects” (from abstract) // Søren: “We never escape our profile”. Interactivity across platforms creates recommendation systems // TASTE as data-business model // See Linden & Smith 2017 “Two Decades of Recommender Systems at Amazon.com

Or artwork by Benjamin Grosser // “You like my like of your like of my status (2016) — example of datafication of taste and its exposition in randomised, repetitive fashion // “Go Rando” (2017), randomising emotion icons on Facebook profiles — disturbs FB algorithmic observation but also the interaction/communication/self perception of users. Distance between human and algorithmic understanding of “liking” becomes obvious as affective is defined in a specific “quantifiable grammar” that is exposed in Grosser’s endless, mechanistic repetition of a phrase. We have no way to escape the capitalist behavioral schema of metainterface without doing away with the template of interaction. Social networking sites as “parasites to our language”.

Zombification and iPhone bodies: Zombie appendage e.g. Jodi ZYX smart phones embody a particular grammar of physical movement. Apps inscribe these grammars on bodies. The art collective also exposes how an app is tested and becomes accepted for distribution. // “Body Scan” by Erica Scourti (2014)  — connect body images, poetry and meta-search instant results. Body that is sign and signal // intimate and objectified // exposes a machine language sensorium in human language // gender biases and commercial interests are reflected back on to the body. Metainferface as an ideological machine? // Measurement of taste feeds back into the creation of taste and further consumption. cf. Wendy Hui Kyong Chun (2016). Updating to Remain the Same. Habitual New Media. MIT Press.

 

AFTERNOON

Activist Sense – Interfacing Affective Relays
Christoph Brunner  (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

Activism at G20 Summit in Hamburg July 2017 as state of exception? A “Modulatory State of Excitement” // protest forms informed by Seattle protests, Prague // Counteraesthetic of the sensible // Aesthetics of Activist Movements: Visualization and Visuals. Flashmob interventions. Technopolitics of Protest

Alternative Media Center (FC/MC) during summit in Hamburg. Activists negotiate media use and communication in situated embedding // Follow  Brian Massumi, (2015). Politics of Affect. “Resistance as bare activity” // operational logic, ie. politics of pre-emption // owning of time (not space) as military strategy // in run-up to summit a discourse of violent threat and pre-emptive actions by authorities escalated toward the event // Violence then actually erupted.

FC/MC creates an alternative information channel, but it also activates the sensing “bodies in alliance” (Judith Butler), while distributing differential signs across the media spectrum. The sensuous interfaces become sense-making elements to feed them back into communication channels // Joint and distributed task of “making of [a] perception” and create the differentials that resonate in space // generate a space of gathering and making (“counter-power” à la Massumi is an emerging quality of experience) // activist body to resonate in a collective body through affect: “Affect is the body as much as it composes the [collective] body.”

Designing into the Unknown: engaging with material and aesthetic uncertainty
Danielle Wilde
  (University of Southern Denmark)

Reporting on PKI Project – poetic kinaesthetic interface. Started with motion captures of different of bodies in unusual positions — that failed because the bodies were moving / / not moving in predefined patterns.

Building on Tim Ingold: how materials get woven into the fabric of people’s lives e.g. (2011). Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description. // Ingrid Pollard: qualities of materials emergent in practice cannot always be adequately captured in writing/theory

Use language of weaving in a participatory design process // craft as method, technique and tool to scaffold and open responsive research structure // LOOM stands for the space where experiments with fabrics, shapes, uses and users take place // FABRIC emerging from experiment, patterns // QUALITIES emergent as threshold between material and use, perception and questioning // publics as the HEFT of the LOOM that operates its functions and shapes them. Install a VAN as an open air design research lab in the wild // developing body props to interrupt typical body movement and perception patterns e.g. “Blue Cushions” or “Sleeves”: finding out the limitations of the prop and negotiate around them // blur boundaries of testing and making, break barrier between research and interaction // low threshold of participation // make parts of probes and experiments open to observation, participation by people // perform research

Group as interface – Elements for a Mechanology of Participation
Yuk Hui (Leuphana University Lüneburg)

Following up on (2016). On the Existence of Digital Objects. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Group vs. collective Mechanology is a combination of philosophical thinking and technical knowledge to solve/address social issue // to address social networks like Facebook critically, a new theory of participation is necessary // build on Jacob Moreno against individual as “social atom” – method of “sociometry” // he tried to understand child delinquency through maps of social relations and existence of groups // pattern of the social is invisible, only available through charting (visualisation) of relations // in age of Facebook this charting is a method of driving value generation // a method of social science and management in the 1930’s became a managerial tool in online social networks // now, this is problematic and a critique of FB must start with a reimagination of the social network (and its commodified form) beyond the atomised individual.

Individuation takes place psychologically and socially // follow George Simondon: Society is an ensemble of relations, not a substance. The psychic is always trans-individual (individuation) // Gilles Hanus: L’épreuve du collectif (2016): “collective is an intermediate between the individual and the group”  // distinguish between isolation and solitude, the latter of which is a deliberate looking outward of the individual to be affectuated by others. // Kurt Lewin: theory of group, where it is not a result or product of socialization (ie. unit of society) but a set of relations that effect the individual (as force). “every individual is always in-group and out-group” Group as an interface: moderates the individual and structures the collective // compare moderation in group to mediation and cybernetics // Being in a group is a form of modulation.// see G. Simondon “The Genesis of the Individual” in Crary / Kwinter (1992) Incorporations. Zone Books.

Facebook conceives of groups from logic of atomised individuals that adapt to the logic of networks ie. individuals IN A GROUP // group should be an intermediary in a theory of social networks // groups should become a condition of participation that allows different kinds of behavior // Limit the space of possibilities and decrease contingency of discovery // Wire that into the technical setup of online social networks // See more: Shang, Shang; Hui, Yuk; Hui, Pan; Cuff, Paul; Kulkarni, Sanjeev (2014). Beyond personalization and anonymity.

Media Practice and Performative Publics

Quotidian digital media have fundamentally transformed the ways in which public protest is articulated today. Think of movements like Occupy and the Arab Spring, the protests in Gezi Park in Istanbul and the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Protest is nowadays voiced on the street and online at the same time. Or it originates online and stretches further and further, assuming all kinds of material and collaborative forms. Think of #metoo.

Together with Margreth Lünenborg (FU Berlin) and Susanne Foellmer (Coventry), I have edited “Media Practices, Social Movements, and Performativity: Transdisciplinary Approaches” (Routledge). It is  a collaboration between media and communication studies with dance and theater studies. The case studies cover a wide cultural and geographical terrain – from Mexico to Japan, from German to Greece. A common interest is to develop the notion of media practice and performativity and employ it analytically to these divergent settings.

Media Practices, Social Movements, and Performativity: Transdisciplinary Approaches (Hardback) book cover

The volume presents international case studies on the new dynamics of protest, articulation and community along with two programmatic articles on the role and legacies of performativity.  On the basis of these approaches the contributors show the specific local embeddedness of new forms of publicness that emerge in protest movements. As a tribute to Randy Martin, we reprint his programmatic article “A precarious dance, a derivative sociality“, which originally appeared in The Drama Review (2012; 56(4)).

In our article “From Public Sphere to Performative Publics” Margreth Lünenborg and me argue that

the new public modalities in which performative publics emerge need to be understood in terms of a relinking of materialities, competences and meanings, that are nowadays often transposed from the domain of quotidian user practice to the articulation of communal or collective interests. (p. 28)

What interested us in our article (apart from a critique of public sphere concepts) was the perspective of practice, paying attention to how minute shifts in media, knowledge and meaning over time allow for new public articulations to emerge. THE PUBLIC is no longer there. It’s created. Every day. By everyone. And we need to become more aware of how this happens because the usual suspects (journalists) are no longer the first or only to make it happen. What is now far more common is that speaker and audience positions alternate.

We need to ask, what kinds of discursive positions can become articulated in performative publics and how do these publics emerge and are sustained over time. Nowadays, the structures in which publics emerge are by and large communicative structures, which can be mobilised, adopted and transposed to new contexts as new issues emerge and new actors stand up to speak on their behalf. (p. 29)

See the full list of Contributions

Introduction: Media Practices, Social Movements, and Performativity: Transdisciplinary Approaches (Susanne Foellmer, Margreth Lünenborg, Christoph Raetzsch)

Part I: Framing Media Practices: Theoretical Perspectives

1. From Public Sphere to Performative Publics: Developing Media Practice as an Analytic Model (Margreth Lünenborg/ Christoph Raetzsch)

2. Reframing Modes of Resistance: Performing and Choreographing Protest Through Media Practices (Susanne Foellmer/ Matthias Warstat)

Part II: Approaching Media Practices: Mobilities – Movements – Interventions

3. Mobilising the homeless? A proposal for the concept of banal mobilisation (Maren Hartmann)

4. Gezi Uprising: Performative Democracy and Politics of the Body in an Extended Space of Appearance (Gurur Ertem)

5.Mobilise, justify, accuse – the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood strategies in the context of changing media practices (Carola Richter)

6. The Mechanics of Signification – Making the Story of Embros (Gigu Argyropoulou/ Natascha Siouzouli)

7. “Narco Culture” and Media Practices: Negotiating Gender Identities in Contexts of Violence (Teresa Orozco Martínez/ Martha Zapata Galindo)

8. Performing fragmented realities: Interventionist media practice by LIGNA, Rimini Protokoll and plan b (Patrick Primavesi)

9. Succession or Cessation: The Challenge of New Media for the Japan-Korea Solidarity Movement (Misook Lee)

Afterword: A precarious dance, a derivative sociality (†Randy Martin)

 

  • See more about the book and its contributors
  • Order your review copy  or download the flyer
  • Full reference [Article]: Lünenborg, Margreth; Raetzsch, Christoph. (2018). “From Public Sphere to Performative Publics: Developing Media Practice as an Analytic Model.” Media Practices, Social Movements, and Performativity: Transdisciplinary Approaches, edited by Susanne Foellmer; Margreth Lünenborg; Christoph Raetzsch, 13-35. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Full Reference [Introduction]: Foellmer, Susanne; Lünenborg, Margreth; Raetzsch, Christoph. (2018). “Introduction: Media Practices, Social Movements and Performativity: Transdisciplinary Approaches.” Media Practices, Social Movements, and Performativity: Transdisciplinary Approaches, edited by Susanne Foellmer; Margreth Lünenborg; Christoph Raetzsch, 1-10. Abingdon: Routledge.

 

Ten Good Reasons for Doing Media Theory (again)

I am very happy to be part of the editorial board of Media Theory, a new and fully open access academic journal to be launched in September 2017. Simon Dawes has been networking and arguing and drumming up support for this initiative. And judging from the scope represented in the advisory board, we cover all fields from art history to software studies, from critical theory to philosophy. Thumbs up for an accessible and lively forum that takes open access to a new level. Watch the blog.

From the inaugural issue, here are my ten propositions why we should be doing media theory (again).

  1. Media Theory Is Transnational
  2. Media Theory Is Interdisciplinary
  3. Media Theory Can Be Applied
  4. Theory Has a Context (and a Motivation)
  5. Media Theory Is Not a Field
  6. Debate Needs Positions (but Positions Are Not Everything)
  7. Define Medium/a
  8. Media Are Everywhere (but Not Everything Is Media)
  9. What Media Theory Is Not About
  10. Media Theory Is Open Access

Read more at: http://mediatheoryjournal.org/christoph-raetzsch-10-propositions-for-doing-media-theory-again/

Join: meejatheory on Twitter; Facebook

Journalism Studies beyond Journalism

In 2014, I joined a conference in honor of Michael Schudson at the University of Groningen (NL).  Some of the contributions to that conference are now published in a special issue of Journalism Studies titled “The Unlovable Press? Conversations with Michael Schudson” (edited by Marcel Broersma and Chris Peters).

This is what my article is about:

This article discusses the work of Michael Schudson and encourages research in journalism studies that addresses the formation of publics rather than only journalistic institutions. Reviewing Schudson’s work on the cultural history of modern journalism, the article focuses especially on the relation of journalism to culture and technology.

The first part argues that Schudson’s proficiency in cultural history distinguishes his writings as both profound, witty and appealing for expert and non-expert readers alike. His early works vividly explore the historical contingencies that defined modern journalism as an important site for cultural negotiation over what it means to live in the present.

The second part critically points out Schudson’s reluctance to theorise the relation of journalism to technology, even though he has implicitly interrogated the “content of the form” of modern journalism throughout.

The last part is a plea for an extension of journalism studies to understand processes in which publics are forming today. In regard of a radically pluralised field of public contestation in social media and other online platforms, Schudson’s insistence on the relevance (and privilege) of journalistic institutions should be amended by a methodological renewal to investigate new modes of public articulation—beyond journalism.

See more at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1461670X.2017.1338151

See the response by Michael Schudson on all articles in the Special Issue: “Second Thoughts: Schudson on Schudson” (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1461670X.2017.1343931)

Get a free access voucher: email christoph@raetzsch.berlin

The November Playlist

The monthly update on smash hits and rare tunes in media and communication studies. A personal collection.

Of Note

Academia’s Magic and Dread Nature has a special issue on Young Scientists and Career Prospects (h/t ZEIT.de)

Books

The Who’s Who in Journalism Studies Today – Thinking: Chris Peters,  Marcel Broersma (eds.). Rethinking Journalism Again: Societal role and public relevance in a digital age. Abingdon: Routledge.

Rewiring the Digital Mind: Douglas Coupland (2016). Bit Rot. London: William Heinemann (h/t M.Lange). In parallel and extension of the exhibition at Witte de Witt in Rotterdam until 3 January.

The Making of Collective Memory in/thru the Media: Sonnevend, Julia (2016). Stories Without Borders: The Berlin Wall and the Making of a Global Iconic Event. New York: Oxford University Press.

Embedding the Mobile Me: Adriana de Souza e Silva (ed.) (2016). Dialogues on Mobile Communication. Abingdon: Routledge.

In production – high expectations: Mirko Schäfer & Karin van Es (eds.). Datafied Society – Studying Culture Through Data. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Linked: Starosielski, Nicole (2015). The Undersea Network. Durham and London: Duke University Press.

Processing Links of Networks: Parks, Lisa; Starosielski, Nicole (eds.) (2015). Signal Traffic: Critical Studies of Media Infrastructures. Chicago IL.: University of Illinois Press.

The Idioms and Pathologies of Networks: Bollmer, Grant (2016). Inhuman Networks: Social Media and the Archaeology of Connection. New York: Bloomsbury.

Articles

“[T]he ‘collective’ is experienced through the ‘individual’ and the group is the means of collective action”: Milan, Stefania (2015). “From Social Movements to Cloud Protesting: The Evolution of Collective Identity.” Information, Communication & Society 18(8): 887-900. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2015.1043135

Personal Politics: Thomas Poell & José van Dijck (2016). Constructing Public Space: Global Perspectives on Social Media and Popular Contestation. International Journal of Communication, 10, 226-234. http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/4984/1535

Meet-up

It’s ECREA again. In Prague. 9-12 November. Make sure to connect to the Digital Culture and Communication Section.

In December:Infrastructures of Publics – Publics of Infrastructures” University of Siegen. Hosted by SFB 1187 Media of Cooperation

Loud and Live: Autechre Live Europe–Onesix in Berlin 19 Nov @Kraftwerk [and sold out]. At home/In the Studio: Reissue of Autechre Classics Amber, Incunabula & Tri Repetae. Start of sale for repress vinyl bundle November 11.

Why does everyone think that sampling started modern electronic music? It started with sequencing analog synths.  Benge explains creating a sequence on a modular syntheziser.

Want to stay tuned for the next playlist? Follow me on Twitter. Want to add tunes? Comment.

Disclaimer: The research, literature or events listed here are recommended based on my own interests, and are not sponsored. Pictures are my own. Trees too.

The October Playlist

The monthly update on smash hits and rare tunes in media and communication studies. A personal collection.

Articles

Gearing up for the AoIR in Berlin next week, SAGE offers a special selection of articles from Big Data & Society, Social Media + Society, Global Media and China, and Digital Health for your free perusal.

Some highly accessible highlights:
Hands on Data: Kennedy, Helen; Poell, Thomas; van Dijck, José (2015). “Data and Agency.” Big Data & Society 2(2): 1-7. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2053951715621569

New Media+New Movements=New Research? Neumayer, Christina; Rossi, Luca (2016). “15 Years of Protest and Media Technologies Scholarship: A Sociotechnical Timeline.” Social Media + Society 2(3): 1-13. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2056305116662180

[Of Note: Kaun, Anne; Kyriakidou, Maria; Uldam, Julie (2016). “Political Agency at the Digital Crossroads.” Media and Communication 4(4): 1-7. https://dx.doi.org/10.17645/mac.v4i4.690]

Positions on Social Media: Manifesto Virtual Special issue,  edited  by Zizi Papacharissi. http://sms.sagepub.com/site/Virtual_Special_Issues/manifesto.xhtml

Publics and Mobilities – Mimi Sheller special

Sheller, Mimi; Urry, John (2003). “Mobile Transformations of `public’ and `private’ Life.” Theory, Culture & Society 20(3): 107-125. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/02632764030203007

Sheller, Mimi (2004). “Mobile Publics: Beyond the Network Perspective.” Environmental Studies 22(1): 39-52. https://dx.doi.org/10.1068/d324t

Sheller, Mimi; Urry, John (2006). “The New Mobilities Paradigm.” Environment and Planning 38: 207-226.

Sheller, Mimi (2015). “News Now: Interface, Ambience, Flow, and the Disruptive Spatio-Temporalities of Mobile News Media.” Journalism Studies 16(1): 12-26. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2014.890324

Book

A scholar’s legacy: Kevin Barnhurst (2016). Mr Pulitzer and the Spider. Modern News from Realism to the Digital. http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/87epq4gf9780252040184.html

Want to stay tuned for the next playlist? Follow me on Twitter. Want to add tunes? Comment.

Disclaimer: The research, literature or events listed here are recommended based on my own interests, and are not sponsored. Pictures are my own. Trees too.

The September Playlist

The monthly update on smash hits and rare tunes in media and communication studies. A personal collection.

Articles

The mobile bone: Zhang, Yanqing; Juhlin, Oskar (2016). “The “Life and Death” of Great Finnish Fashion Phones: A Periodization of Changing Styles in Nokia Phone Design between 1992 and 2013.” Mobile Media & Communication 4(3): 385-404. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/2050157916654510

Give and take: Holton, Avery E.; Coddington, Mark; Lewis, Seth C.; Zuniga, Homero Gil de (2015). “Reciprocity and the News: The Role of Personal and Social Media Reciprocity in News Creation and Consumption.” International Journal of Communication 9: 2526-2547.

High Expectations: Borger, Merel; van Hoof, Anita; Sanders, José (2016). “Expecting Reciprocity: Towards a Model of the Participants Perspective on Participatory Journalism.” New Media & Society 18(5): 708-725. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1461444814545842

The 4A Matrix of Media Change: Westlund, Oscar; Lewis, Seth C. (2014). “Agents of Media Innovations: Actors, Actants, and Audiences.” The Journal of Media Innovations 1(2): 10-35. To be reissued in Steensen, S., Ahva, L. (eds.) (2017). “Theories of Journalism in a Digital Age“. Abingdon: Routledge.

Books

Forget about contingency: Harman, Graham (2016). Immaterialism: Objects and Social Theory. Basingstoke: Polity Press.

Mixed Feelings: Broadbent, Stefana (2016). Intimacy at Work: How Digital Media Bring Private Life to the Workplace. Walnut Creek, CA.: Left Coast Press.

Back in Paperback: Hermida, Alfred (2014). Tell Everyone: Why We Share and Why it Matters. Toronto: Doubleday Canada.

The Spectre Haunting Modern Media: Natale, Simone (2016). Supernatural Entertainments: Victorian Spiritualism and the Rise of Modern Media Culture. University Park, PA.: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Miscellany

Dataism vs. Humanism: Yuval Noah Harari on big data, Google and the end of free will. Financial Times, 26 August 2016

Symphonic Blast: Christian Fennesz to play in Japan, two dates with Kyoto Symphonic Orchestra at Miyako Messe

Use Cases for Web Archives: Submissions of abstracts opens for RESAW – Research Infrastructure for the Study of Archived Web Materials – to be held in London 14–15 June 2017. See page or call for papers.

Notes and Quotes

Unruly rules: Gearing up for the annual conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) in Berlin. 5-8 October. What a line-up.

The public sphere as space of signs?
“The public sphere is thus a generic term denoting all virtual or real spaces, the contents of which obtain general visibility or audibility. These spaces are public spaces—space meaning any container of signs that can be sensorily accessed with or without mediation.”

Adut, Ari. 2012. “A Theory of the Public Sphere.” Sociological Theory 30(4): 238-262. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0735275112467012 (see p.243)

Want to stay tuned for the next playlist? Follow me on Twitter. Want to add tunes? Comment.

Disclaimer: The research, literature or events listed here are recommended based on my own interests, and are not sponsored. Pictures are my own. Trees too.

 

 

Is Data the New Coal? – Four Issues with Christian Fuchs on Social Media

Following up on my initial review of Christian Fuchs’ Social Media – A Critical Introduction (Sage 2014) in German, I have expanded the main arguments and published a review essay this summer. Coming to terms with an author as prolific as Fuchs is not easy, especially as he seems to be publishing more and more books and articles by the minute. But reading through some of his most recent publications, I couldn’t help but see the same argumentative patterns emerge, and the same examples being mustered in support of his theses on exploitation and the political economy of social media. With some due reflection and sympathy for a critique of social media, I have tried to review the book on its own terms and delineate four main issues that seem important for the current scholarly and public debate about the connections of social media, publics and users.

Here are the main points:

  • Is Social Media an introduction, a theory, or a critique of social media? The book outlines basic elements of Fuchs’ Marxist framework. But the abridged, didactic format of an introduction leads to a very troubling and peculiar form of ‘theoretical sampling’, which fails to elucidate the relevance of Karl Marx’s work in relation to social media. One consequence is that the role and status of data in the analysis remains unclear and one-dimensional.
  • What kind of social media does Fuchs have in mind? There is an ambiguous tension in his argument that social media are primarily defined as “applications” by large global players, such as Google, Facebook, Twitter or Weibo, while he acknowledges that Wikipedia, Wikileaks or similar open-source platforms are embodying positive and beneficial social principles of collaboration and cooperation. The unresolved opposition of social media® as trademarked applications and social media as technologies of collaboration remains a blind spot in Fuchs’ argument.
  • What is the status of free labour and exploitation in Fuchs’s view of social media? A cornerstone of his theorising of social media is that social media usage is exploitative just as mining for rare sands in Sub-Saharan Africa or working in Foxconn’s electronics sweatshops is. But his argument on the creation of the ‘audience commodity’ through data is far from convincing and needs to be discussed in context.
  • What kind of concept does Fuchs have of users? He typically emphasises the structurally exploitative nature of social media platforms because the sheer volume of user activity is an infinite source of surplus value on the side of owners and shareholders. By associating power primarily with questions of ownership, Fuchs deliberately avoids considering the dimensions of user agency, not to say of individual creativity or rational judgement in theorising social media.

The article was published in Networking Knowlegde, the open access journal of the Media, Communication and Cultural Studies Association. Cite as: Christoph  Raetzsch (2016). “Is Data the New Coal? – Four Issues with Christian Fuchs on Social Media.” Networking Knowledge. Journal for the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network. 9(5).

Creating Publics: Journalism in Comparative Perspective

This summer term, I am teaching a seminar on Creating Publics: Journalism in Comparative Perspective. The basic aim is to critically evaluate the historical, technological and cultural connections between  journalism and concepts of publics. Instead of perpetuating the close alignment of journalism, publics and democracy, the focus in this seminar will be on a contextualized reflection of concepts of publics, the role and practices of journalists, their audiences and media of communication. We are interested in the changing conditions that continuously uphold journalism as a social structure of public communication. Follow the course via #createpublics or check the assigned texts. And yes, structural transformations of the public sphere will be addressed. In English.

Block 1:     Critical Concepts, Histories and Theories of Publics

27 April    Prehistory of the Bourgeois Public Sphere
4 May    The Ideal of the Public Sphere and Public Opinion
11 May    Critique of the Public Sphere, Mass Media and Pluralization
18 May    The Reading Audience of News
  • Leonard, Thomas C. (1995). News for All: Americaʼs Coming-of-Age with the Press. Oxford University Press. Part One The Creation of an Audience. p. 3-46
25 May    The Networked Public
1 June    The End of Journalistic Hegemony?

8 June    no session

Block 2: Publics and their Media

15 June    News and the Newspaper
22 June    Satellite Publics
  • Carey, James W. (1980). “Changing Communications Technology and the Nature of the Audience.” Journal of Advertising 9(2): 3-9, 43.
  • Arceneaux, Noah (2013). “News on the Air: The New York Herald, Newspapers, and Wireless Telegraphy, 1899–1917.” American Journalism 30(2): 160-181. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08821127.2013.788439
29 June    Journalism and the Network
  • Dahlgren, Peter (1996). “Media Logic in Cyberspace: Repositioning Journalism and Its Publics.” Javnost – The Public 3(3): 59-72. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13183222.1996.11008632
  • boyd, danah. (2011). “Social Network Sites as Networked Publics: Affordances, Dynamics, and Implications.” A Networked Self: Identity, Community and Culture on Social Network Sites, edited by Zizi Papacharissi, 39-58. New York: Routledge

Block 3: Publics in Transnational Perspective

6 July    Transnational Publics and the Arab Spring

… guest and text announcement follows

13 July        subject to be determined