Archive for calls, February 2020

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[Commlist] CFP for Hacker Cultures @ 2020 4S/EASST in Prague

Fri Feb 07 16:31:08 GMT 2020

There are just 10 more days left to submit a paper for our panel around Hacker Cultures: Understanding the actors behind our software (see info below), for the 2020 4S/EASST joint conference in Prague, taking place August 18th-21st. This panel will be run by myself and Mace Ojala from the IT University Copenhagen. If you are an STS-curious, Hacker-ish-friendly researcher, please submit your 250-word abstracts by logging into the 4S website <>, and clicking on our panel under the “submission menu” menu. As reference, we are panel number 74. When in doubt please email me at (bialski /at/ <mailto:(bialski /at/> or Mace at (maco /at/ <mailto:(maco /at/>. The deadline for submissions is on February 17th, 2020. Looking forward to hearing from you all, Paula & Mace


74. Hacker Cultures: Understanding the actors behind our software

Paula Bialski, Leuphana University Luneburg; Mace Ojala, IT University of Copenhagen

The spiralling changes around how we experience our social and physical world have stemmed from the massive amount of digital technologies that are ubiquitously used in all parts of our society today. Big data, offshore data centres, universities, grocery stores run by software companies of all shapes and sizes, are often hard to grasp and black-boxed, deeming the user unable to participate. These infrastructures are constructed by a wide range of “hackers” – a slippery term generally applied to anybody building or maintaining software or hardware. They (or we?) go by a wide range of labels such as programmers, developers (or “devs”), designers, analysts, data scientists, coders, sysadmins, dev/ops, or sometimes simply tech. They build, break, fix, and secure our navigation system, our banking database, our doctor’s healthcare software, our games, our phones, our word processors, our fridges and toasters. They work in massive software corporations, in teeny startups, or in something in-between. They volunteer for, or are employed by, free and open-source projects. While their work is ubiquitous, hackers can hold a lot of power but also none at all – as the software they are building oftentimes overpowers their capabilities of understanding and managing it. Inspired by research around hacker cultures, such as Chris Kelty’s work among free software communities, Biella Coleman’s work on the Debian communities (2012) and the politically-motivated hacker collective Anonymous (2014), or Stuart Geiger’s embedded ethnography in Wikipedia (2017 with Halfaker) – this panel shines a light on the people who build our opaque and oftentimes confusing technical worlds. In doing so, we wish to challenge the role of the STS scholar in describing the powers and agencies, and the practices and struggles of hacker cultures – a challenge that, in our increasingly complex, commodified technical worlds might never be fulfilled.

Submit via 4S/EASST Conference website  <> Keywords: software, hackers, culture, agency, data collection, ethnography, computing

Categories: Information, Computing and Media Technology

Big Data

Engineering and Infrastructure

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