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CFP – Issue 24 Fibreculture Journal: Entanglements- activism and technology

[please circulate]

Call For Papers- June 2014_Entanglements: Activism and Technology (PDF)




Please note that for this issue, initial submissions should be abstracts only

Issue Editors: Pip Shea, Tanya Notley and Jean Burgess

Abstract deadline: August 20 2014 (no late abstracts will be accepted)
Article deadline: November 3 2014
Publication aimed for: February 2015

all contributors and editors must read the guidelines at:
before working with the Fibreculture Journal

Email correspondence for this issue: p.shea@qub.ac.uk

This themed issue explores the entanglements that arise due to frictions between the philosophies embedded within technologies and the philosophies embedded within activism. Straightforward solutions are rarely on offer as the bringing together of different philosophies requires the negotiation of acceptance, compromise, or submission (Tsing 2004). This friction can be disruptive, productive, or both, and it may contribute discord or harmony.

In this special issue, we seek submissions that respond to the idea that frictions between technologies and activists may ultimately enhance the ability of activists to take more control of their projects, create new ethical spaces and subvert technologies, just as it may also result in tension, conflict and hostility.

By dwelling in between and within these frictions and entanglements – through strategic and tactical media discourses as well as the very concept of an activist politics within technology – this special issue will elucidate the context-specific nature, constraints and possibilities of the digital environments that are co-habited by activists from proximate fields including social movements, human rights, ecological and green movements, international development, community arts and cultural development.

Past issues of the Fibreculture Journal have examined activist philosophies from angles such as social justice and networked organisational forms, communication rights and net neutrality debates, and the push back against precarious new media labour. Our issue extends this work by revealing the conflicting debates that surround activist philosophies of technology.

Submissions are sought that engage specifically with the ethics, rationales and methods adopted by activists to justify selecting, building, using, promoting or rejecting specific technologies. We also encourage work that considers the ways in which these negotiations speak to broader mythologies and tensions embedded within digital culture – between openness and control; political consistency and popular appeal; appropriateness, usability and availability.

We invite responses to these provocations from activists, practitioners and academics. Critiques, case studies, and multimedia proposals will be considered for inclusion. Submissions should explore both constraints and possibilities caused by activism and its digital technology entanglements through the following themes:

  • Alternative technology versus appropriate technology
  • Pragmatism and technology choice
  • The philosophies and practices of hacking technologies
  • Activist cultures and the proprietary web
  • Digital privacy and security breaches and errors
  • Uncovering and exposing technology vulnerabilities
  • Technology and e-waste
  • The philosophies of long/short term impact
  • Authenticity and evidence

Initial submissions should comprise 300 word abstracts and 60 word biographies, emailed to p.shea@qub.ac.uk and t.notley@uws.edu.au


Tsing, A. 2005 Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

The Fibreculture Journal (
http://fibreculturejournal.org/) is a peer reviewed international journal, associated with Open Humanities Press (http://openhumanitiespress.org/), that explores critical and speculative interventions in the debate and discussions concerning information and communication technologies and their policy frameworks, network cultures and their informational logic, new media forms and their deployment, and the possibilities of socio-technical invention and sustainability.

CFP – Issue 23 Fibreculture Journal: Creative Robotics: Rethinking Human–Machine Configurations

[please circulate]

Call For Papers 2014: Creative Robotics (PDF)




Please note that for this issue, initial submissions should be abstracts only

Editors: Petra Gemeinboeck, Jill Bennett and Elena Knox

abstract deadline: April 25, 2014
article deadline: July 31, 2014
publication aimed for: November, 2014

all contributors and editors must read the guidelines at:
before working with the Fibreculture Journal

email correspondence for this issue:


 “If one thinks of a classic ‘upstairs/downstairs’ scenario, it is no longer clear where the robots will be lodging” (Turkle, 2010)

We are on the verge of a robotic revolution, a revolution that has long been foreshadowed by science fiction such as Karel Čapek’s play R.U.R (Rossum’s Universal Robots) in 1920 and Isaac Asimov’s first collection of stories I, Robot in 1950. Today, robots are infiltrating our everyday lives, in the form of complex toys, household appliances, and assistants in therapy, eldercare and education. Billions of dollars are being spent every year to turn machines into co-inhabitants, co-workers, assistants, carers, and entertainers. Together with autonomous, self-driving cars and Amazon’s delivery drones, robots promise to radically change our lives in the very near future.

Looked at from this perspective, one could view this ‘robotic revolution’ as simply a matter of investment and technological advancement, in the service of society’s needs. But the next phase in the ongoing human–machine coevolution brings with it an abundance of pressing questions to explore. Fast growing robotics areas such as Social Robotics and Human–Robot Interaction enlist the expertise of researchers in psychology, biology, cognitive science and social science to contribute their views to dilemmas such as how social robots should look, or how they can interact ‘naturally’ with people. So far the most popular response has been to make the social robot as human-like as possible, neatly closing the loop on science fiction imaginaries such as Asimov’s Bicentennial Man. Yet, before considering the pragmatics of form, function and behaviour, it is worth asking whether we as a culture understand these fundamental questions yet. And who asks the questions? Robots and human–robot configurations are historically and culturally constructed socio-material assemblages, materially enacting provocative political, social and aesthetic relations. Currently, our visions seem to be arrested along the boundary of the human–machine binary; we are either invested in blurring this boundary or reaffirming it.

The Creative Robotics issue of the Fibreculture Journal deliberately positions itself at the uneasy nexus out of which these sociomaterial assemblages emerge, while subscribing to a fundamentally experimental, embodied and performative approach. It addresses an emerging research area that brings concepts and methods from experimental arts and performance, and critical perspectives from social anthropology to the interdisciplinary research of human–robot interaction. The Creative Robotics issue wants to manifest a sense of the scope and diversity of questions and issues raised by present visions of human–robot configurations. At the same time, it wants to unhinge, open up and expand these visions.

To produce this transdisciplinary discourse, this issue of the Fibreculture Journal invites contributions from a wide range of fields and practices, including experimental arts; performance and dramaturgy; science, technology and society; social anthropology; human–robot interaction (HRI); robotics, embodied cognitive science; and artificial intelligence/philosophy. Contributions could explore:

  • representation vs. ontology
  • embodiment and performativity
  • aesthetics and affect
  • machines and performance
  • thinking with the machine body
  • cultural and historical practices
  • differentiated entry points for human–machine configurations
  • human–robot kinesics and communication
  • new practices in human–robot interaction

To shape the discursive landscape of this special issue our editorial process aims for a meshwork of perspectives and a mix of theoretical and experimental practices that explore sociomaterial relations and the ways in which they are historically, culturally and technologically constituted.

The Fibreculture Journal (http://fibreculturejournal.org/) is a peer reviewed international journal, associated with Open Humanities Press (http://openhumanitiespress.org/), that explores critical and speculative interventions in the debate and discussions concerning information and communication technologies and their policy frameworks, network cultures and their informational logic, new media forms and their deployment, and the possibilities of socio-technical invention and sustainability.

CFP- Special Issue for the Fibreculture Journal: The Politics of Trolling and the Negative Space of the Internet


Edited By Jason Wilson, Christian McCrea and Glen Fuller

A great deal of thinking about the Internet and politics is still structured by a desire for deliberative democracy. From 1993 – when Howard Rheingold enunciated one of the Internet’s key founding myths – the virtual community – scholars have sought and found communities characterised by a mutuality of interests, a common purpose, a collaborative striving to renovate the democratic ideal, a tendency towards the “regulative idea” of the ideal speaking position, and an acknowledgement of the obligations of citizenship within the political association. For so long the Internet has continued to function, in Barbrook’s formulation, as a “redemptive technology”. Social media is just the latest in a long line of technologies which may, on a certain vision, rescue liberal democracy, with its decaying civic life and corrupt media, from itself.

There is, proportionally, too little attention to the everyday conflicts that haunt all such communities. Some conflict is temporary, and can be accounted for in terms of long-standing democratic theory. But some conflict is persistent, intractable. Some of it is gratuitous, and deliberately disruptive. Online, those who bring it about are often subject to normative disapprobation. Sometimes people call them trolls.

“Troll”, as a term of moral opprobrium, indicates an online actor who is not interested in deliberation, but in derailing it. Trolling is not apt to be captured by network maps or visualisations of online publics, because these teachniques cannot discern which nodes in a conversational network are created in bad faith, or in a spirit of disruptive play. Trolls are not interested in redeeming democracy through deliberation, and they mock attempts to do so. Trolls respect no procedural rules, though they may be generative of them. Trolls are the constitutive outside of online communities of political discussion, they are the intolerable of the most tolerant communities. Trolls are usually someone else, defined from our own position and interests. When they are not, and we inhabit trolling, we discover that trolling requires know-how, close reading, experience, sometimes sympathy with those we would disrupt.

What are the consequences to seeing trolling and other forms of affective behaviour as the norm, rather than the aberrant? The discourse of digital art has long since told this story, but the intellectual desire for open and constitutive democracy has overridden the ‘actually existing democracy’ of bullying, trolling, threats, inane memes and low signal-to-noise ratios. What would happen if we started to think of trolling as the central practice in online discourse? What if trolling is the Internet’s signature mode of discursive politics? What if we started to think about trolling as a practice which is generative rather than destructive?

This special issue of fibreculture seeks a range of perspectives on trolling, online conflict and incivility. Twenty years on, it looks to interrogate the founding myth of virtual community with accounts of generative conflict, strategic incivility, and productive trolling.

We seek papers on a range of topics not limited to:

  • Trolling, activism and politics
  • The persistence and ubiquity of online conflict
  • Trolling as a business model: the mainstream media and clickbait
  • Gendered aspects of trolling and incivility
  • 4chan and trolling; activism and meme factories
  • Trolling and cyberbullying
  • Complaints about trolling and the “hatred of democracy” – are complaints about trolling really an attempt to re-gentrify political debate?
  • Cultures and rituals of trolling – troll culture and the celebration of lulz
  • Trolling and “cyber-bullying”
  • The Internet and agonistic politics
  • Trolling and counterpublics
  • The grammar of trolling
  • Trolling as the glitch in social network analysis and “big data”
  • Popular culture, trolls and the democratization of politics
  • Tabloid media, professionalization of trolling and the economics of opinion
  • Trolling as cyber-bullying, internet as masochistic survivalist playground
  • The pleasures of trolling
  • Trolling the trolls
  • The art and ‘new aesthetics’ of trolling
  • The gamification of trolling

Please note that for this issue, initial submissions should be abstracts only

abstract deadline: October 15, 2012 (via email, to Jason Wilson, email address below)
article deadline: January 15, 2012
publication aimed for: April/May, 2013

all contributors and editors must read the guidelines at;
before working with the Fibreculture Journal

email correspondence for this issue:





The Fibreculture Journal (http://fibreculturejournal.org/) is a peer reviewed international journal, associated with Open Humanities Press (http://openhumanitiespress.org/), that explores critical and speculative interventions in the debate and discussions concerning information and communication technologies and their policy frameworks, network cultures and their informational logic, new media forms and their deployment, and the possibilities of socio-technical invention and sustainability.

Calls for Papers/Pasts/Futures for the Fibreculture Journal

The Fibreculture Journal already has a full year planned for 2012, with issues on Affect and Interaction and Speculative Utopias.

We will be issuing new CFPs early in 2012 for publication in 2013. Intense discussions are in process. These CFPs may concern media/climate change/environment issues, publishing itself, post-network politics and/or media business models (what these become if one “subtracts” financial Capital from the equation).

So please return around February/March 2012 or subscribe to our feeds. We are of course open to suggestions from the Fibreculture community (which includes you, if you’re reading this!). Our current guidelines (including those for Guest Edited issues) are here.

We are also working on our guidelines for future issues and processes. These will be tightened and streamlined somewhat in order to make us a little more sustainable in terms of workloads.

More importantly, we will be spending some of 2012 thinking deeply about what processes might best serve what has become the rather interesting complexity that is the publishing of humanities/contemporary media/transdisciplinary research right now. There has been such a rich proliferation of developments in publishing since the Fibreculture Journal began in 2002 (some of the most exciting now emerging from our publishers, Open Humanities Press). The entire Open Access movement seems delightfully to gone mainstream and there are a series of alternative movements already pushing things along even further.

Again, we are very open to suggestions from the Fibreculture community about where we might go next (although we have lots of ideas already!).

Incidentally, 2012 will be our 10th year in publishing! So I will indulge in a few short remarks about the past and future to finish.

As Editor, I think all those involved can be justifiably proud. I also remain deeply grateful to the many, many people who have been involved with the Fibreculture Journal over the last decade. By the end of 2012, we will have published 20 plus issues, with around 160 high quality articles. Given that we have a reasonably high rejection rate that’s something over 600 referees’ reports, along with 33 Guest Editors, and around 170 authors, all of these from all over the world. Our Board and Editorial Committee also have been incredibly supportive. We’ve become quite a crowd, and that’s before you get to our (we think tens of) thousands of readers. Of course, I must once again thanks our Journal Manager Mat Wall-Smith, and our previous Manager, Lisa Gye. Without them, none of this would have occurred, and none of the activity-to-come would even begin to be possible.

In short, because of all the work done by so many, everywhere I go now people seem to know the Fibreculture Journal. It’s been a wonderful and incredibly rewarding experience for me personally I must say.

Yet all has not been perfect. Let me try and turn my only real gripe, and it is big one, into something positive.

The gripe? It has to be said that many of the major research organizations/institutions around the world increasingly seem determined to treat those who actually produce journals with a kind of contempt (of course, they’re not all that fantastic in their treatment of authors/researchers either). Worse, they do this at the very same time they rely heavily on the work people do to produce journals. For example, they rely on journals to provide the central plank of research evaluation schemes and the like. It’s as if journals just appear out of the air, asking to be subject to some ridiculous form of bureaucratic subservience (yes, I’m angry about this, having been through multiple versions of it over nearly five years now). More generally, it’s as if what I and many others think is the quite wonderful flourishing of publishing is something deeply suspicious, always to be reduced to one or two major journals in pre-defined (and therefore often outmoded) “fields” (FCJ has even been one of the one or two journals on occasion, even if on another we have been classified as a “textiles” journal).

How to turn this into something positive? To put it simply, while of course we will retain our high academic standards, and will continue to double blind peer referee, etc, in other respects it is time to leave much of this institutional backwardness behind. If we’re thinking hard about this in 2012, it’s about how to do so. We’re thinking about how to embrace the energy, enthusiasm, deep social commitment and often cutting edge expertise of our communities in order to publish research that engages with key contemporary issues. We’re thinking about how to publish in a manner that gives that research the best chance it can have to engage with these issues. We’re thinking about how to further collaborate and cooperate with the flourishing of open access, online publishing. We’re thinking very deeply about how to avoid getting involved in fake competitions and false “excellence”. In short, where the institutional relation between research and the world falls short, or is counter-productive, we’re very happy to walk the other way with all our many friends (increasingly, we think, the majority).