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[ecrea] Call for papers - Special issue 3/2017 “The Remaking of Truth in the Digital Age”
Tue Jan 17 22:14:16 GMT 2017
Call for paper:/CS Journal of Media Performing Arts and Cultural
Studies./ Special issue 3/2017 “The Remaking of Truth in the Digital
Age” edited by Chiara Giaccardi and Nathan Jurgenson
The deadline for abstract submission is: January 31st 2017
*The Special Issue *
Many thought Brexit would not come to pass, that Donald Trump could not
be elected, experts, pollsters, and probability models told us so, down
to the decimal point. An entire media apparatus that was increasingly
certain came to produce instead confusion. The manufactured character of
news becomes dramatically exposed, as well as the entertainment-driven
nature of electoral politics that increasingly look like reality shows.
The vacuum left behind is threatened to be filled with the rising tide
of hate speech, hoaxes, and so-called fake news.
We introduce this project amidst this wave of anti-inclusionary and
counter-informative forces. Populist movements around the globe are
rallying against journalists, politicians, and other professionals and
experts who themselves have failed to speak to and about the lives of
these people. We are said to now be in a “post truth” time, one where
debate over truth has been replaced by a chaos of facts, where the work
of building knowledge feels exhausting and impossible, leading to a
normalization of the surreal, the uncritical acceptance of heavily
biased information as intuitive and unproblematic.
This issue is about our moment of epistemic chaos, the decline of old
knowledge gatekeepers, and the political ramifications of fake,
misleading, and propagandistic information. We pay special attention to
the role of new, digital, social technologies of knowledge and their
relationship with politics. We cannot understand how and what people
know without understanding the set of information technologies in which
Those debates around the diminishing of traditional institutions being
disrupted away by the rising tide and quickening flow of digitality are
instructive, too, as institutions of epistemic authority, grapple with
staying useful and relevant today. This issue is a meta-discourse on
discourse in a time many have called “post truth.” What is it to do
theoretical work in a so-called post-truth world without falling in the
equally undesirable opposites of cynical functionalism (truth is merely
what works, comforted in what they already know, and preserving the
status quo) or a new positivism (paternalistic explainerism, where truth
is a matter of numbers, and those in power claim a false objectivity).
What might Foucault’s “parrhesia” mean today?
And, ontologically, the disagreement over the basic shape of thing in
the world might lead to useless possibilities like a radical
constructivism where reality is merely what we do with it or an
essentialism where reality can somehow be perfectly grasped using the
right methodologies. If reality is hard to grasp, its consequences are
hard to miss: people suffer injustice and tourture, strive to survive in
impossibly harsh conditions, and find ways of resilience and resistance.
Suffering and death has a concreteness that escapes any rhetorical
strategy, a reminder of the limits of the defeatism of simply claiming
everything is fake or a simulation. Is there room for a critical realism
that recognizes that reality always exceeds our capacity to grasp it?
One that could suggest respect and care over arrogance and exploitation?
These crucial questions have precedent. A decade ago, conversations
about the internet often centered on how truth and news and information
more generally will flow when people have access to consume so much more
information. And, only a little later, when so many more people can
produce such information. Those debates around the introductions of
Wikipedia, Google News, or Facebook Newsfeed are instructive today as we
continue to struggle with how to incentivize, create, and sort
information in ways that are accurate and just.
We should draw on the literature describing the history of political
performance and propaganda. Global strategies of political
misinformation and shaping information ecosystems to manufacture
ideology and behavior shape and are shaped by the information
technologies of their times, and these are lessons we need to draw from
to understand our current moment. Is the epistemic vertigo being felt a
feature or a flaw, a momentary readjustment or a new normal?
Describing our current situation should also draw on past thinking about
knowledge, politics, and technology. For instance, the debates about
positivism, the myth of the neutrality and objectivity of numbers and
science are instructive. From “big data” science to “data journalism”,
numbers play a large part in our contemporary data flows, from
metric-based incentives like clicks, shares, and followers to the
ubiquity of polling and probabilistic forecasting of elections. Indeed,
the most important global news media entity, Facebook, claims it does
not have a political or editorial philosophy because it is merely
“technology”, a nod to the history of claiming false neutrality. How do
we describe epistemic responsibility and pedagogy within a tech culture
of supposed objective disinterest? Is there room to move beyond reducing
people to numbers? Is a different “proxemics” based on closeness possible?
What is the role of social science in this discussion, especially with
respect to new media technologies? Is there room for dialogue today,
when information is consumed as a resource for belonging, for
maintaining oppositional echo-chamber blocs, especially acknowledging
the point that knowledge and understanding is never purely for its own
sake but is always entwined with power? The knowledge-power link is no
longer something that needs to be made convincing when more and more
information is so overtly weaponized, targeted, in the Info Wars.
And how can social science speak to and about our own epistemic bubbles?
What about the epistemic gap between those with and without college
educations, those who and who are not part of the knowledge-work economy?
We welcome submissions about all of what we’ve talked about here, as
well as the many more threads we did not mention relating to this
complex theoretical topic.
*Deadlines & Guidelines*
Please send your abstract to: (redazione.cs /at/ unicatt.it)
<mailto:(redazione.cs /at/ unicatt.it)> by *January 31, 2017*.
Notifications of acceptance will be emailed shortly after the deadline.
Abstracts must be from 300 to 400 words long, and may be presented in
English. The proposal shall include 5 keywords, authors, institution,
and contacts (e-mail), together with a short curriculum for each author.
Authors will be asked to send the whole article (preferably in English,
but Spanish, French and Italian are also welcome) by April 30, 2017.
Contributions will be sent to two independent reviewers in a
double-blind procedure prior to publication decision. Articles should be
between 4,000-5,000 words (no more than 35,000 characters, spaces and
notes included), but shorter articles will also be considered.
Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor currently
under consideration for publication elsewhere.
A guide for authors, sample issues, and other relevant information is
available on the journal’s website.
For further information or queries regarding this Special Issue, please
contact the editors: (chiara.giaccardi /at/ unicatt.it)
<mailto:(chiara.giaccardi /at/ unicatt.it)>; (nathanjurgenson /at/ gmail.com)
<mailto:(nathanjurgenson /at/ gmail.com)>
CS is A-class rated journal by ANVUR (Italian National Agency for the
Evaluation of the University and Research Systems) in the three academic
disciplines: Cinema, photography and television (L-ART/06), Performing
arts (L-ART/05), and Sociology of culture and communication (SPS/08).
The journal obtained an international recognition by the French AERES -
Agence de l’évaluation de la recherche et de l’enseignement supérieur,
being listed between its information and communication sciences
journals. CS is included in the IATJ database – International Archive of
Theatre Journals <http://www.iatj-journals.org/>, also accessible on the
IFTR - International Federation for Theatre Research
<http://www.firt-iftr.org/links>'s website and in SCOPUS.
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