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Conference on new media and activism

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  • Bodo Balazs
    CALL FOR PAPERS AND PRESENTATIONS ... The Budapest University of Technology and Economics, the Central European University, the Open Society Institute, and the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 15, 2005
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      The Budapest University of Technology and Economics, the Central
      European University, the Open Society Institute, and the Annenberg
      School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania invite
      submissions for a conference on

      RE:activism: Re-drawing the boundaries of activism in a new media

      which is to take place in Budapest, October 14-15, 2005

      Deadline for submission of abstracts: June 14, 2005




      The emergence of the internet and other information technologies gave
      birth to a plethora of new social and communicative activities. Cheap,
      decentralized and horizontal communication channels have been exploited
      by a wide spectrum of actors from antiglobalization activists and users
      of file-sharing networks to creative commons licensees and locative
      guerilla artists. As new media technologies have triggered various forms
      of activities, the New Left hopes about emancipatory social agency have
      also been resuscitated.
      In spite of the undeniable democratic potential inscribed in new
      information and communication technologies, there seems to be little
      agreement as to what consequences new media bring on existing structures
      of cultural, economic and political power. Those analysts and activists
      envisioning a more democratic, equitable and culturally diverse society
      have maintained high hopes concerning the progressive potential of new
      media. Meanwhile, skeptical voices can also be heard: research focus has
      been reoriented towards threats and uncertainties concerned with new
      technologies. Many analysts have addressed various aspects of the
      commercialization of new media, the possibilities of digital
      surveillance and states' and corporations' constant efforts to limit, by
      means of regulation, the liberatory potential of new technologies.

      Addressing the above hopes and disappointments, the conference
      RE:activism serves as a large scale, international social and academic
      event which brings together academics, activists and artists to explore
      and discuss some of the most important aspects of transforming cultural
      and political practices in the context of new media. The organizers are
      particularly interested in the following problems:

      - How the boundaries separating center (accepted/valuable) and periphery
      (illicit/worthless) are redrawn through the negotiations of new media
      actors, be they individual music consumers, expert groups, creative
      commons licensees, social movements, nation states or corporate

      - Does the enabling potential of new technologies trigger, in reality,
      new forms of social and communicative activities? What turns new media
      enabled activities into "activism"? What does activism mean in the
      context of new media?

      - Under what conditions do unusual uses of new media induce social
      change and subvert old structures of the production and the distribution
      of loyalties, identities, culture and knowledge?

      Participants of the conference are invited to explore the promises and
      limitations of new media along the above broad themes of
      "center/periphery", "activism" and "change".


      The list of confirmed participants is regularly refreshed at our
      website. At the moment (4/14/2005) the following academics and activists
      confirmed their attendance:

      Yochai Benkler (Yale Law School), Douglas Kellner (UCLA), Saskia Sassen
      (Univ. of Chicago), Nicholas Jankowski (Univ. of Nijmegen), Michael X.
      Delli Carpini (Annenberg School for Communication, Univ. of
      Pennsylvania), Henry Perritt (Kent College of Law), Kembrew McLeod
      (Univ. of Iowa), Barbie Zelizer, (Annenberg), Andy Bichlbaum
      (rtmark.org), Dr. Richard Barbrook (School of Media, Arts & Design,
      University of Westminster), Giles Lane (Proboscis.org), Michael Keith
      (Boston College), Alexander H. Trechsel, (European University
      Institute), Jonathan Zittrain (Berkman Center for Internet & Society),
      Martin Cloonan (index on censorship)


      The RE:activism conference offers eight panels, each of them
      representing an important approach from which the transformative
      potential of new media can be meaningfully addressed. We invite academic
      participants to present papers and take part in round table discussions
      with activists in one of the following panels:

      - Political economy of peer production networks
      - State intervention and regulatory issues in the Information Age
      - Digital culture jamming
      - Digitalized memory: new forms of archiving and journalism
      - Civic uses of new media technologies
      - New media and global civil society
      - New media and democratic elections
      - New media activism and the urban fabric

      For more information about the eight panels, please, visit the
      conference website:

      Organizers of the conference invite submissions of graduate students,
      scholars, researchers mainly from the fields of anthropology, media
      studies, law sciences, sociology, art theory and political science.


      We invite members of activist groups of all kinds (from the smallest DIY
      community to transnational movements) and artists working with new media
      technologies to present their projects connected to any of the above
      conference panels and to take part in round table discussions with


      - Academic paper (abstract max. 750 words)
      Single or multi-author submissions of a single paper
      Participants are expected to submit full papers to the conference
      organizers by September 30, 2005.

      - Aesthetic presentation (abstract max of 750 words, audiovisual
      Presentation of old or new media based artistic projects or performances
      related to activism.

      - Presentation of activist projects (abstract max of 750 words)
      Presentation of activist projects exploring activist uses of the


      Budapest is the dynamically developing capital of Hungary, a
      not-too-long-ago communist state and a very recent member of the
      European Union. Budapest, with its recent history marked by the process
      of system change, with its population aiming to leave behind the city's
      almost-a-century-long periphericity and with its vibrant civic and
      cultural life feeding various forms social and cultural activism is the
      par excellence site embodying the main theoretical challenges faced by
      activists and addressed by the RE:activism conference. Budapest offers a
      very hospitable environment for the community of conference
      participants. Among the city's most appealing aspects for new media
      researchers we could mention the surprisingly high number of researchers
      interested in new media technologies, an uniquely viable Budapest based
      on-line community (see wiw.hu), or the Hungarian capital's coffee house
      and thermal bath culture, maintaining sites for public discussion.

      A longer presentation of the political and media system in Hungary is
      available on the conference site.


      The organizing institutions contribute to the travel and housing
      expenses of invited participants.


      Please contact Balazs Bodo, at submissions@...

      Please feel free to forward this call!

      Balazs Bodo
      assistant lecturer

      Budapest University of Technology,
      Department of Sociology and Communications
      Center for Media Research and Education


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