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[Commlist] CfP - Opting Out of Pandemic Digitalities: Digital Disengagement and Covid-19

Tue Mar 16 13:26:08 GMT 2021

***Opting Out of Pandemic Digitalities: Digital Disengagement and Covid-19***
Edited by Adi Kuntsman, Sam Martin and Esperanza Miyake
Under consideration by Bristol University Press

Call for Contributions

Emerging from the concept of “digital disengagement” – a framework developed by the editors to examine digital media from the point of disconnection, refusal, and opting out – this book brings into interdisciplinary dialogue two critical key areas of concern in the context of COVID-19. The first one is what we call “pandemic digitalities” – the rapid and extensive increase, reliance and shifts in meaning of digital technologies in the age of COVID-19 and post-COVID futurities across various spheres in science, technology and society: from public health, to education, to politics, to everyday life. The second concerns the politics of refusal, the right and even the viability to opt out of digital technologies, networks, tracing surveillance, and databases. At this unique moment in time, both have global spread and significance: the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every society globally; so do digital technologies and networked communication. Crucially, “global” should not be mistaken for “universal” – while both the virus and digital technologies are spread around the world, their adoption, use and impact are profoundly different both across, and within different countries, societies and communities. Within the growing field of Disconnection Studies, research on opting out and digital refusal has focused almost exclusively on “the West”/“global North”. To this date, no literature addresses in great depth the implications, consequences and (im)possibilities of opt out in the quickly changing digital landscape and lived realities of the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced a rapid and sudden digitisation in times of crisis. Taking a critical global perspective, this timely edited collection thus has two key aims: firstly, to explore digital disengagement and opt out through the lens of the global pandemic; and secondly, to explore pandemic digitalities through the critical perspective of digital disengagement. As we are arguing elsewhere, digital disengagement is a continuum, rather than a dichotomy, containing a range of individual and institutional practices, legal frameworks, and technologies, as well as degrees of disengagement that shrink and expand elastically across time and space. And digital disengagement is also a matter of justice, operating within and vis-à-vis political forces and forms of structural injustice. How do these times and spaces of digital disengagement open and close in the era of COVID-19 and post-COVID futurities? What does digital justice look like at the time of the pandemic? Looking at digital disengagement through the lens of COVID-19 and at the pandemic through the lens of the pandemic, we invite contributions that would take a variety of perspectives: legal, social, cultural, political, and economic. We seek contributions that address, but are not limited to, the following in the context of digital disengagement and the pandemic:

• Inequalities (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, class, ability) • Individual versus collective concerns (e.g. individual data rights versus collective data justice, individual freedoms versus social responsibility, collective good or herd needs)
• Health and wellbeing (e.g. Zoom fatigue, Long Covid, lockdown)
• Digital economies  • Key workers, home-schooling and digital labour
• Spaces, times (e.g. lockdown, social-distancing)
• Increased surveillance (e.g. track-and-trace, digital health apps, WFH/remote working) • New spaces of digital disengagement • Environment (e.g. extractive economies, regeneration and sustainability)
• Social Media (e.g. misinformation and fake news, media saturation)
Format: contributions of up to 5,000 words length, in a variety of formats (creative and academic, autoethnographic, reports, critical commentary and more).

Please send a 500 words abstract to (digitaldisengagementproject /at/ by May 10th 2021. Authors will be notified by May 31st, with full submissions due by end of December 2021.

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