9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
1. Civic Media Across World Contexts
Moderator: Evan Lieberman, MIT
Daniel Josephy-Hernández, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica, Jorge Rivera-Marin with Ai Tomita “New Japanese Nationalism in Anime”
2. Digital Technologies, Value, and Labor
Moderator: Göran Bolin, Södertörn University
Göran Bolin, Södertörn University, “The reconfiguration of value in data capitalism”
3. Media Power, Ethics, and Truthmaking
June Deery, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, “Political Simulation: Media Portrayals of Media in Politics”
This paper will briefly re-cap the history of the media’s role in politics since Teddy Roosevelt and categorize recent political narratives found in British and US media. I will indicate how fiction contributes to our understanding of media-politics and examine how gender, class, and race/ ethnicity are presented in both political and journalistic cultures.
Primary TV texts: Yes Minister/ Prime Minister, West Wing, House of Cards (UK and US), The Thick of it, Veep, Alpha House and A Very British Coup. Primary film texts: All The President’s Men, Tanner ’88, The Candidate, Wag the Dog, Bulworth, Primary Colors, Good Night and Good Luck, In the Loop, and The Post.
The presentation will offer two contemporary cases. First, self-tracking technologies emblematise the ongoing enthusiasm for data-driven knowledge as more objective and empirical – the promise of ‘machines that know you better than you know yourself’. Second, I turn to Alex Jones and the Youtuber ‘The Golden One’ as examples of political disinformers. Here conspiracy is served as a dose of reason and reality, draped in a personal and thoroughly anti-institutional style. Their audience is subsequently monetised through dubious health products: fake news for fake pills.
Across both cases, personal truthmaking romanticises a transgressive, charismatic and individualistic kind of authenticity as the path to reason and truth. Yet the exhortation to know for yourself, whether through the latest smart gadget or by ‘redpilling’ against the lies of the deep state, becomes leveraged to establish a new generation of mediators both human and nonhuman. What is at stake is not only the spread of ‘alternative facts’, but changing social and technological thresholds of what counts as truth and trust online.
Eric Opu, University of East Anglia United Kingdom, “Online Political Activism, Media Literacy and Public Manipulation: The Challenges of Balancing Public Order and Free Speech in the Age of Fake News. Insights from Cameroon”
I examine these questions and the implications these have for internet governance and political participation in Cameroon.
4. Journalism, News, and Civic Participation
Eleni Staiou, University of Athens, “Civic responsibility trends through digital solidarity: the case of Greece during the economic and social crisis”
This paper presents the self-organized social solidarity initiatives (SoSS) that emerged in Greece of the crisis as a response to the problems that arose and could not be covered by the state. The main objective is to discuss how these initiatives have taken advantage of the online tools (website, email, facebook, twitter, youtube) in their quest, what difficulties they encountered when using online media, and if these tools ultimately helped them to achieve more quickly and easily their goals. Finally, using this experience and these data, ten basic principles are suggested regarding the use of digital tools from civic initiatives that lack resources (money or human) in order to organize a professional communication policy.
Michael Epstein, Walking Cinema & Laura Herman, Adobe, Inc, “Location-Based Journalism and Civic Participation”
Aman Abhishek, University of Wisconsin-Madison, “Locating Open Source Culture at the Heart of Public Journalism: the case of Wikinews, WikiLeaks & Indymedia”
Chris Wells, Boston University, Kjerstin Thorson, Michigan State University, & Emily Vraga, George Mason University, “Who gets the news now? Contingent information exposure, digital citizens and democracy”
5. Media Infrastructures across Contexts
Michele Ferris-Dobles, University of Costa Rica & University of Illinois at Chicago, “Central American migration and the ‘borderless’ mobile phone”
Mobile phones have become ubiquitous tools for Central American migrants as they transit from their home countries to the U.S-Mexican border. There is a growing body of academic work that analyses the uses of mobile phones during the processes of migration ranging from interpersonal communication, instant messaging, networking, and location through the use of GPS applications. There is a dearth of research on what are the infrastructural arrangements that allows Central American migrants to have Internet coverage and to use the same mobile phone and plan across national borders. Using a media archeology approach and applying Durham Peters (2009) theory of infrastructuralism, this research asks which are the major media infrastructural transitions that allows migrants nowadays to use the same mobile phone and plan and to have Internet coverage throughout their journey. I demonstrate that the implementation of free trade agreements between Central America and the U.S in the 1990’s and 2000’s provoked the reorganization of telecommunication infrastructures from public utilities to profitable commodities run by private transitional corporations, which allows mobile phones to operate and have Internet coverage freely across national borders at the same time that people do not have the same freedom of mobility. I conclude that these infrastructural shifts have not only enabled mobile phones to change the traditional migratory patterns, but they have also created a profitable business for the transnational telecommunications corporations who promote a perception of a “borderless” world through communication while migrants themselves still run the risk of being detained and prosecuted.
James Schwoch, Northwestern University, “From the Telegraph to 5G:Wooden Utitility Poles, Woodpeckers, and Media