RGS-IBG Annual Conference, Royal Geographical Society, London
Wednesday 30 August – Friday 1 September 2017
Call for Papers (Deadline Monday 30 January 2017)
Session convenors: Kate Symons (firstname.lastname@example.org), Centre for Design Informatics and Department of Geography, University of Edinburgh; George Jaramillo (G.Jaramillo@gsa.ac.uk), Institute of Design Innovation, Glasgow School of Art; Brett Matulis (email@example.com), Department of Geography, University of Leicester.
Abstract: Geographers have contributed extensively to understanding the agency of the more-than-human world. Increasingly, interactions and assemblages involve novel configurations of socialised information technologies. Examples include what may be the 21st Century’s general purpose technology, the blockchain (a form of distributed ledger providing new forms of exchange). The blockchain is celebrated as heralding a revolutionary decentralised society in which people are liberated from traditional forms of power and control, often imagined as a post-capitalist, post-national, libertarian future (Rifkin 2015), but sometimes as a socialist one (Huckle & White 2016). At the same time, increasing discomfort is felt about the extent to which some online relationships are kept concealed (such as the sale of personal data), while technologies are interacting with existing capitalist structures to co-produce novel forms of commodification (for example, the Internet of Things enables devices to directly communicate with companies such as Amazon to automatically reorder products). Far from being neutral, such new data technologies are entangled with and are co-producing political, economic, social and material arrangements across spaces. This session will explore the geographical aspects of these new relationships between people, data, things and technology, including the social, political, ecological and geographic implications of a new decentralised digital society. We want to focus on questions of power and capital, especially novel forms of commodification using data technologies. We welcome contributions in the following areas:
- Debates relating to the ‘real world’ social, political, ecological and geographic implications of a new decentralised digital society
- Questions of power and capital, especially novel forms of commodification using data technologies
- Uses of technology to disrupt, and examples of progressive uses of data technologies, such as in a development context
- The ways in which digital technologies are giving rise to novel communities and power relations, and providing novel ways to organise and contest
- Methodological, epistemological and/ or ontological analyses of researching new digital geographies
Session format: We propose 4-5 papers of around 15-20 minutes (depending on submissions), with opportunities for questions, debate and discussion. Please send an abstract of 200 words to the session convenors by 30 January 2017.
References: Huckle, S., & White, M. (2016). Socialism and the Blockchain. Future Internet, 8(4), 49.; Rifkin, J. (2015) ‘We are glimpsing at the outlines of a new economic system’. The European. http://www.theeuropean-magazine.com/jeremy-rifkin–2/9652-implications-of-the-third-industrial-revolution.