The web works thanks to a complex network of programming languages, protocols, softwares and standards. Internet coordinates behaviours of a wide range of actors in space and time. These actors’ interests can be conflicting, and even if they were convergent they couldn’t be conciliated without making any concessions on these languages, protocols, softwares and standards. There is no communication without interdependence, no interdependence without compromises.
The web — what it is and what it does — is constantly negotiated. Hence, social sciences have to find a way to analytically unfold the controversies linked to this complex setting. Understanding these controversies that shape the web, for better or for worse, leads to understanding the web itself. In doing so, one will find itself presented not with a stabilized and reified technology but with a dynamic and confrontational network combining more or less reconcilable (and more or less reconciled) purposes.
What happens within conciliation / negotiations arenas such as the IETF, the W3C, the ICANN ? What disputes and settlements take place outside the bounds of these institutional frameworks? What role do States play? To which extent can multinational corporations decide what is possible to do on the web, imposing their own vision and advocating in favour of their own interests? How are standards and procedures negotiated? Which compromises are made? What oppositions take place? Which recaptures? Which detours and diversions?
This call is an opportunity to draw together empirical studies, as well as theoretical and methodological proposals, from Media and Technology studies, in order to explain how materiality and functionalities of the web are negotiated, and to share a tool allowing to unfold the on-line mediations.
Possible topics include (but are not limited to):
- Open/closed formats
- Internet Governance
- Programming languages
Full Paper Submission Deadline : March 1st 2016
Notifications of acceptance : May 1st 2016
Paper in its final form : June 1st 2016