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[Commlist] CFP: Pirate Care
Tue Feb 12 14:52:59 GMT 2019
Centre for Postdigital Cultures
19^th & 20^th June 2019
Square One, Coventry University
Call for Papers
Submissions for the screening programme also welcome.
(See instructions at the end of the call.)
The Centre for Postdigital Cultures (CPC), Coventry University, UK
invites contributions to its second annual conference, which will
explore the phenomenon of ‘Pirate Care’. Presentations and talks will be
complemented by a film programme tackling the main theme of the conference.
The term Pirate Care condenses two processes that are particularly
visible at present. On the one hand, basic care provisions that were
previously considered cornerstones of social life are now being pushed
towards illegality, as a consequence of geopolitical reordering and the
marketisation of social services. At the same time new,
technologically-enabled care networks are emerging in opposition to this
drive toward illegality.
Punitive neoliberalism (Davies, 2016) has beenrepurposing, rather than
dismantling, welfare state provisions such as healthcare, income
support, housing and education (Cooper, 2017: 314). This mutation is
reintroducing ‘poor laws’ of a colonial flavour, deepening the lines of
discrimination between citizens and non-citizens (Mitropolous, 2012:
27), and reframing the family unit as the sole bearer of responsibility
However, against this background of institutionalised ‘negligence’
(Harney & Moten, 2013: 31), a growing wave of mobilizations around care
can be witnessed across a number of diverse examples: the recent Docs
Not Cops campaign in the UK, refusing to carry out documents checks on
migrant patients; migrant-rescue boats (such as those operated by
Sea-Watch) that defy the criminalization of NGOs active in the
Mediterranean; and the growing resistance to homelessness via the
reappropriation of houses left empty by speculators (like PAH in Spain);
the defiance of legislation making homelessness illegal (such as
Hungary’s reform of October 2018) or municipal decrees criminalizing
helping out in public space (e.g. Food Not Bombs’ volunteers arrested in
On the other hand, we can see initiatives experimenting with care as
collective political practices have to operate in the narrow grey zones
left open between different technologies, institutions and laws in an
age some fear is heading towards ‘total bureaucratization’ (Graeber,
2015: 30). For instance, in Greece, where the bureaucratic measures
imposed by the Troika decimated public services, a growing number of
grassroots clinics set up by the Solidarity Movement have responded by
providing medical attention to those without a private insurance. In
Italy, groups of parents without recourse to public childcare are
organizing their own pirate kindergartens (Soprasotto), reviving a
feminist tradition first experimented with in the 1970s. In Spain, the
feminist collective GynePunk developed a biolab toolkit for emergency
gynaecological care, to allow all those excluded from the reproductive
medical services — such as trans or queer women, drug users and sex
workers — to perform basic checks on their own bodily fluids. Elsewhere,
the collective Women on Waves delivers abortion pills from boats
harboured in international waters – and more recently, via drones - to
women in countries where this option is illegal.
Thus pirate care, seen in the light of these processes - choosing
illegality or existing in the grey areas of the law in order to organize
solidarity - takes on a double meaning: Care as Piracy and Piracy as
Care (Graziano, 2018).
There is a need to revisit piracy and its philosophical implications -
such assharing, openness, decentralization, free access to knowledge and
tools(Hall, 2016) - in the light of transformations in access to social
goods brought about by digital networks. It is important to bring into
focus the modes of intervention and political struggle that collectivise
access to welfare provisions as acts of custodianship
(Custodians.online, 2015) and commoning (Caffentzis&Federici, 2014). As
international networks of tinkerers and hackers are re-imagining their
terrain of intervention, it becomes vital to experiment with a changed
conceptual framework that speaks of the importance of the digital realm
as a battlefield for the re-appropriation of the means not only of
production, but increasingly, of social reproduction (Gutiérrez
Aguilar/et al./, 2016). More broadly, media representations of these
dynamics - for example in experimental visual arts and cinema - are of
key importance. Bringing the idea of pirate ethics into resonance with
contemporary modes of care thus invites different ways of imagining a
paradigm change, sometimes occupying tricky positions vis-à-vis the law
and the status quo.
The present moment requires a non-oppositional and nuanced approach to
the mutual implications of care and technology(Mol et al., 2010: 14),
stretching the perimeters of both. And so, while the seminal definition
of care distilled by Joan Tronto and Berenice Fisher sees it as
‘everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair “our world” so
that we can live in it as well as possible’ (Tronto & Fisher, 1990: 40),
contemporary feminist materialist scholars such as Maria Puig de La
Bellacasa feel the need to modify these parameters to include ‘relations
[that] maintain and repair a world so that humans and non-humans can
live in it as well as possible in a complex life-sustaining web’ (Puig
de La Bellacasa, 2017: 97). It is in this spirit that we propose to
examine how can we learn to compose (Stengers, 2015) answers to crises
across a range of social domains, and alongside technologies and care
We invite proposals for 20 minute presentations on the theme of Pirate
Care as outlined above. We welcome submissions addressing a wide range
of topics in response to one or more of the following sub-themes:
*_Criminalisation of Care:_**__*including responses to legal attacks to
NGO work in the Mediterranean; state-sanctioned violence against
healthcare practitioners (Buissonniere, Woznick, and Rubenstein, 2018);
the erosion of reproductive medicine provisions and self-determination
rights for women; campaigns to decriminalize sexwork and regularize
*_Care Struggles:_**__*histories of grassroots and autonomous organizing
around care / for access to care. Examples might include histories of
workers’ mutualism; Black Panthers’ free clinics; ACT UP and AIDS
organizing around medical research; feminist struggles for free abortion
rights; marginalized constituencies and underground solidarity networks.
*_Hacking Care:_**__*care practice in relation to technologies and
tools, open softwares and oppositions to the patent regimes. Relevant
stories might include: open source medicine; right to repair and medical
devices; open pharma; open science; biohacking practices.
*_Piracy as Care:_**__*focused on practices of civil disobedience that
deliberately defy intellectual property and other laws in order to care
for practices, ecologies, or constituencies. Examples include shadow
libraries’ use of internet to support or coordinate around specific
social reproductive needs; tinkering and readaptation of technological
objects; and digitally-supported systems to support better care of
We welcome contributions from academics, practitioners, artists, and
activist alike. The programme of talks will be accompanied by a film
programme addressing the conference theme. Film submissions for
inclusion are also welcome.
Proposed contributions for papers should include:
a presentation title;
a short abstract (max 350 words);
a short biographical note ( max 150 words)
Proposed contributions from artists and filmmakers should include:
a presentation title and brief synopsis (max 250 words);
a link to the work;
a short biographical note ( max 150 words)
Please be aware that our facilities will allow for a proper theatrical
screening; the digital format is preferred but you can reach out the
conference organisers at the email below in case your prospect
submission is in other formats.
Please send your submission no later than*_April 1_**_^st _**_,
A notification of acceptance will be circulated by mid-April 2019.
Limited travel funding will be made available to conference participants
on a needs-based basis. Details on how to apply for this will be made
available following paper acceptance.
The conference will be a child-friendly environment.
*_About the CPC_*
The Centre for Postdigital Cultures (CPC) explores how innovations in
postdigital cultures can help us to rethink our ways of being and doing
in the 21st century. Our research draws on cross-disciplinary ideas
associated with open and disruptive media, the posthumanities, and the
Anthropocene to promote a more just and sustainable ‘post-capitalist’
Aguilar R.G., Linsalata L. and M.L.N. Trujillo, 2016. ‘Producing the
common and reproducing life: Keys towards rethinking/the Political./’
In: Dinerstein A. (eds)/Social Sciences for an Other Politics/. Palgrave
Buissonniere,M., S. Woznick, and L. Rubenstein, 2018. ‘The
Criminalization of healthcare’, University of Essex,
Caffentzis, G. and Federici, S., 2014. Commons against and beyond
capitalism./Community Development Journal/,/49/(suppl_1), pp.i92-i105.
Cooper, M., 2017./Family values: Between neoliberalism and the new
social conservatism/. MIT Press.
Custodians Online, 2015. ‘In solidarity with Library Genesis and
Sci-Hub’, 30th November, [_http://custodians.online/_].
Davies, W., 2016. ‘The new neoliberalism’./New Left Review/(101), 121–134
de La Bellacasa, M.P., 2017./Matters of care: Speculative ethics in more
than human worlds/(Vol. 41). University of Minnesota Press.
Fisher, B. and J. C. Tronto, 1990. ‘Toward a feminist theory of care’,
in/Circles of Care: Work and Identity in Women’s Lives/, ed. Emily K.
Abel and Margaret K. Nelson, Albany: SUNY Press.
Graeber, D., 2015./The utopia of rules: On technology, stupidity, and
the secret joys of bureaucracy/. Melville House.
Graziano, V. 2018. ‘Pirate Care - How do we imagine the health care for
the future we want?’,/Medium/, 5th October
Hall, G., 2016./Pirate philosophy: for a digital posthumanities/. MIT Press.
Harney, S. and Moten, F., 2013./The undercommons: Fugitive planning and
black study/, Minor Compositions.
Mitropoulos, A., 2012./Contract & contagion: From biopolitics to
oikonomia/. Minor Compositions.
Mol, A., Moser, I. and Pols, J. eds., 2015./Care in practice: On
tinkering in clinics, homes and farms/(Vol. 8). transcript Verlag.
Stengers, I. (2015)/In Catastrophic times: Resisting the coming
barbarism/. Open Humanities Press.
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