CALL FOR PAPERS
Fourth International Conference on
CULTURAL ATTITUDES TOWARDS TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATION
27 June-1 July 2004
Karlstad University, Sweden
Off the shelf or from the ground up?
ICTs and cultural marginalization, homogenization or hybridization
The biennial CATaC conference series provides a continuously expanding
international forum for the presentation and discussion of current research on
how diverse cultural attitudes shape the implementation and use of information
and communication technologies (ICTs). The conference series brings together
scholars from around the globe who provide diverse perspectives, both in terms
of the specific culture(s) they highlight in their presentations and
discussions, and in terms of the discipline(s) through which they approach the
conference theme. The first conference in the series was held in London in
1998, the second in Perth in 2000, and the third in Montreal in 2002.
Beginning with our first conference in 1998, the CATaC conferences
have highlighted theoretical and praxis-oriented scholarship and research
from all parts of the globe, including Asia, Africa, and the Middle-East. The
conferences focus especially on people and communities at the developing edges
of ICT diffusion, including indigenous peoples and those outside the
Understanding the role of culture in how far minority and/or indigenous cultural
groups may succeed - or fail - in taking up ICTs designed for a majority
culture is obviously crucial to the moral and political imperative of designing
ICTs in ways that will not simply reinforce such groups' marginalization. What
is the role of culture in the development of ICTs "from the ground up" -
beginning with the local culture and conditions - rather than assuming dominant
"off the shelf" technologies are appropriate? Are the empowering potentials of
ICTs successfully exploited among minority and indigenous groups, and/or do
they rather engender cultural marginalization, cultural homogenization or
Original full papers (especially those which connect theoretical frameworks with
specific examples of cultural values, practices, etc.) and short papers (e.g.
describing current research projects and preliminary results) are invited.
Topics of particular interest include but are not limited to:
- Culture: theory and praxis
- Culture and economy
- Alternative models for ICT diffusion
- Role of governments and activists in culture, technology and communication
- ICTs and cultural hybridity
- ICTs and intercultural communication
- Culture, communication and e-learning
Our conference themes provide a range of approaches to the questions raised.
Nina Wakeford, Foundation Fund Lecturer in Sociology and Social Methodology. For
her DPhil at Nuffield College, Oxford, Dr Wakeford studied the experiences of
mature students using a sociological conception of risk. Before coming to the
University of Surrey in September of 1998, she spent three years studying
"Women's Experiences of Virtual Communities", funded by an ESRC Post-Doctoral
grant. The last two years of this Fellowship she conducted fieldwork in and
around Silicon Valley while based at the University of California, Berkeley.
CATaC04 will also feature two particular foci, each chaired by a distinguished
colleague who will oversee paper review and development of the final panels.
PANEL 1: The Multilingual Internet
Panel Chairs: Susan Herring and Brenda Danet
Expanding on their collective work, including a special issue of the Journal of
Computer-Mediated Communication (Vol. 9 (1), November, 2003 - see
, this thread invites papers with
a specific focus on how the Internet impacts language choice and
linguistic practices in traditionally non-English speaking cultural
contexts. Of particular interest are situations that respond in
various ways to the tension between global English dominance and
local linguistic diversity, e.g., through use of English as an
online lingua franca, the "localization" of global or regional
linguistic influences, translation or code-switching between
different languages, and strategic uses of the Internet to
maintain and invigorate minority languages.
Susan Herring is Professor of Information Science and Linguistics,
Indiana University Bloomington
Brenda Danet is Professor Emerita of Sociology and Communication at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem
PANEL 2: Utopian Dreams vs. Real-World Conditions: Under what conditions can
ICTs really help worse off communities?
Panel Chair: Michel Minou.
CATaC'04 will likely feature some examples of "best practices" in using ICTs to
aid culturally-appropriate development, especially as pursued through
governmental or NGOs' projects, community informatics endeavours, etc. At the
same time, however, real-world politics and realities - e.g., violent
oppression, political corruption, gender and ethnic discrimination, abuse of
dominant economic position, structural disasters, worst practices of all kinds
and origins, etc. - can shatter the best-laid plans for using ICTs to
supposedly help especially the poorest of the poor. How far can ICTs succeed in
supporting culturally-appropriate development - and what appropriate answers to
real-world conditions are required in order for our best efforts to realize the
liberatory potentials of these technologies not be broken down?
Michel Menou, has worked on the development of national information policies and
systems in many countries of the Southern hemisphere since 1966. Since 1992 his
work focused on the impact of information and ICT in development. He is a
member of the Community Informatics Research Network and of the network of
Telecentres of Latin America and Caribbean.
All submissions will be peer reviewed by an international panel of
scholars and researchers and accepted papers will appear in the conference
Initial submissions are to be uploaded to the CATaC website according to the
paper guidelines (available at the conference website). Submission of a paper
implies that it has not been submitted or published elsewhere. At least one
author of each accepted paper is expected to present the paper at the
There will be the opportunity for selected papers from this 2004 conference to
appear in special issues of journals and a book. Papers in previous conferences
have appeared in journals (Journal of Computer Mediated Communication,
Electronic Journal of Communication/La Revue Electronique de Communication, AI
and Society, Javnost- The Public, and New Media and Society) and a book
(Culture, Technology, Communication: towards an Intercultural Global Village,
2001, edited by Charles Ess with Fay Sudweeks, SUNY Press, New York). You may
purchase the conference proceedings from the 2002 conference from
Full papers (10-20 pages): 12 January 2004
Short papers (3-5 pages): 26 January 2004
Notification of acceptance: end February 2004
Final formatted papers: 29 March 2004
Charles Ess, Drury University, USA, catac@...
Fay Sudweeks, Murdoch University, Australia, catac@...
Malin Sveningsson, Karlstad University, Sweden, malin.sveningsson@...
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