CFP: Call for Papers − Digital Material/ism: How Materiality shapes Digital Culture and Social Interaction

First Issue of Digital Culture & Society, Abstract deadline: February 1, 2015

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(…) We invite submissions, which may react to, and expand on to the following questions of “Digital Material/ism”:

1. Field Research and Case Studies

We invite papers on socio-technological developments related to digital media materiality. Articles may examine usage and production, as well as spaces and contexts of smart objects; e.g. wearable computing devices, or beacons. Contributions may be based on (empirical) case studies. They may likewise address discourses of truth and evidence related to digital media materialism; e.g. in a metaphorical sense (see Boomen 2014) or as governmental alignment, such as “forensic materialism” as suggested by Kirschenbaum (2008). How do materialistic positions tacitly use metaphors of clinical or administrative control to assure the relevance and societal benefits of their devices? How is the notion of ‘smart/ness’ used in order to promote new forms of technological interactions with, and surveillance of the physical environment?

2. Methodological reflection

We invite contributions that address methodological issues of approaches focused on digital media materiality. What are the methodological implications of such technological developments? What ethical challenges do researchers face; e.g. related to the data enabled by new digital media technology and their material features?

3. Conceptual/theoretical reflection

We invite papers that address key notions in the discussion of digital materiality, and question epistemological assumptions. “Materiality” is a crucial term, which only entered the discussion of digital media studies in the 2000s. Historically, how was the notion of materiality developed with regard to digital media? Moreover, in which philosophical traditions do the key representatives of “Digital Materialism” place themselves? In what ways do they assume canonical models when examining the ‘transcendental,’ ‘empirical,’ or ‘historical-material’ conditions of data networks? Following Matthew Kirschenbaum’s (2008) conception of “formal materiality” as “the imposition of multiple relational computational states on a data set or digital object” (Ibid, p. 12), we are interested in the practical relevance of the materiality of recording, storing and processing (alongside the technical modelling of storage, digital objects, discrete data and metadata-guided processing operations). Thereby, we subsequently consider the results of Matthew Fuller’s (2003; 2008) work, “Software as a historical knowledge base”: it has its own history and does not only follow technological norms and standards, but also yields social, institutional and cultural settings.