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[Commlist] CFP: What does the algorithm want? Psychoanalysis and the Critique of Digital Culture
Sat Jan 30 23:05:15 GMT 2021
What Does the Algorithm Want? Psychoanalysis and the Critique of
This special issue of CLCWeb asks: “What does the algorithm want?”
Contributions are invited from scholars working in the area of
psychoanalysis and digital/online media.
What does psychoanalytic criticism offer us as a practice for critically
interrogating digital and online media?
Who among us does not already know about the critique of digital
platforms? We hear all the time about big tech, big data, platform
capitalism, communicative capitalism, surveillance capitalism, control
society, and so forth. The Edward Snowden leaks about the PRISM program
in 2013 provided evidence for what we all already secretly believed:
that our online interactions and communications are all the time being
monitored and collected by mega corporations and the government. The
Cambridge Analytica scandal, revealed by whistle blower, Christopher
Wylie, in 2018 taught us even more about the ways platforms manipulate
users’ views of the world and the ways this impacts our actions and
behaviours, our ethics and our politics.
Now, during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, it seems to be the case,
increasingly, that possibilities for escaping our attachments to digital
platforms are shrinking, all the while, tech billionaires, like Jeff
Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg are getting richer and richer, while our
addictions to social technologies may be making us increasingly anxious.
Some choose to retreat from more public presentations of self and
selfhood into the safe position of mere “lurking.” Others more
self-consciously manage their online reputations, a component of
identity construction in the neoliberal age of human capital and the
entrepreneur-of-the-self. Still others may be dragged into the muddy
waters of the online culture wars because, after all, there’s always
someone who is wrong on the internet, as one popular cartoon once suggested.
But, perhaps, the strangest aspect to all of this is the fact that many
of us already know very well the ways that platforms operate, what they
do, and whose interests they serve; but nevertheless, we continue to act
as if this were not the case. While some of this may be explained by, or
attributed to the ubiquity of platforms in our everyday lives,
materially, it is still worth asking how platforms relate to the
subjectivizations of culture and our society ideologically. How do
platforms and algorithms play with and feed off of our enjoyment and our
desires, our fantasies, and our drives?
Contributions are invited that apply psychoanalytic criticism to the
analysis of online and digital platforms, not limited to social media
apps and websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, or TikTok. Contributors
may also choose to write about retail platforms, like Amazon; Internet
of Things apps, like Uber or Skip the Dishes; or other comparable
platforms and apps. Contributors may also consider writing about the
back end of platforms, focusing on programming and algorithm design; or
even attempt to connect the front end of the interface with the business
and political economic dimensions of the social technologies and
platforms industries, including a focus on international political
rivalries and forms of cyberwarfare. Yet another possibility would be
for contributors to assess the possibilities for interpellating users
towards radical identities on both the Left and the Right, the role of
memes in the culture war, and how platforms activate political actions.
We invite original contributions in response to this theme with
abstracts of 250 words, a 100 word bio note, and 5 keywords due by March
Authors with selected abstracts will be notified by April 15th, 2021,
and invited to submit full manuscripts of approximately 5000-6000 words,
critical reviews of 3000 words, or book reviews of 1000 words, for
consideration for inclusion in the special issue due by November 1st,
2021, with an expected publication date around September 2022.
For more information, inquires, or to submit an abstract for review,
please contact special issue editor, Matthew Flisfeder, by email at
(m.flisfeder /at/ uwinnipeg.ca) <mailto:(m.flisfeder /at/ uwinnipeg.ca)>. Use the
subject heading, “CLC Platform Psychoanalysis.”
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