Geography & Communications. Call for WPCC Papers ends 19 January 2018

Geography & Communications. Call for WPCC Papers ends 19 January 2018

Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture: Call for Papers

GEOGRAPHY AND COMMUNICATIONS

  • Submission of Abstracts:Prospective authors of research articles of between 6,000-8,000 words including notes and references are encouraged to send a 250-word abstract to WPCC2015@gmail.com no later than end 19th January 2018.
  • Deadline for abstracts:end 19th January 2018. Please send abstracts to WPCC2015@gmail.com
  • The editorial team of WPCC will endeavour to inform authors of abstracts by end 1stFebruary 2018 if the abstract meets the brief of the issue and if WPCC would like to request submission of a full text with a view to inclusion, subject to peer-review and editing on delivery.
  • Deadline for full-text submission:20th April 2018. Authors of those abstracts encouraged by WPCC or new submissions should register at the journal website by 20th April 2018 attaching the article. Authors will be notified as soon as possible about acceptance, revisions or rejection and the outcome of the review process with a view to publishing accepted articles subject to any amendments requested. Please route communications about articles submitted via the journal’s online system. Please submit articles via: https://www.westminsterpapers.org/about/submissions.

 Geography, media, and communications have been closely linked since the 16th Century. Just as the advent of the printing press changed the media landscape, so too did it change that of geography and cartography. The printing revolution, along with new instruments of measurement led to a prolific expansion of mapping activates in the 16th Century, producing increasingly detailed birds eye views of the world. These views from above worked to serve as tools of possession, the elevated position of the explorer and cartographers and the commanding view provided by the maps mirrored the divine gaze of God, positioning the commissioner of the map in a seemingly omniscient position, solidifying their position of control, changing perceptions and relationships with space itself. In this way, the Cartographic Gaze was the precursor to the surveillent gaze, epitomized by Bentham’s Panopticon and the work of Foucault. A number of texts have already examined the linkages between geography, media and communications; Innis’s (1950) classic text on Empire and Communications; Falkheimer and Jansson’s (2006) Geographies of Communication explores communication theory’s spatial turn, and conversely Adams and Jansson’s (2012) examination of geography’s communicational turn. Yet, as we move further and deeper into a digitized world we are bombarded with ever more instruments of measurement (big data, algorithms, UGC, VGI etc.), ever more far reaching versions of the printing press (Web 2.0, Social Media etc.), and the waters are muddied further by the development of Participatory-GIS systems, and the (re-)birth of Neogeography which purportedly offers up a challenge to the status quo (Goodchild, 2009; Haklay, 2013). Thus, it becomes essential that, just as we might question the 16th century map makers, we must now question data analytics, algorithms and their architects, the media, and those who claim to contest the cartographic gaze; to ask, ‘did you find the world or did you make it up?’ to quote Winnicott (cited in Corner, 1999). The media, data analysts and neogeographers all sit in-between the virtual and the real creating new forms of virtual time and space that are then superimposed onto territorial spaces (Potts: 2015). These new virtual spaces are still so too controlled and mediated from above by new omniscient digital Gods, propelled by their search for profits.

This call for papers aims to bring together the disciplines of geography and communication to draw out and challenge a number of problematic discourses in relation to power, knowledge and representation, recognizing not only that each are material and symbolic, but also that each particular place representation is contingent and unique (Hall, 1980). As the world, the media and our communications tools become increasingly digitalized and data driven we are increasingly constructing myths through algorithms, visualization, codification and mediation, of all which require us to rethink and interpret signs and their connotations (Hall, 1997; Barthes, 1972). Late twentieth century communication and information technologies have produced such a blurring of what is real and what is representation that the two can no longer be distinguished (Corner, 1999). Geography has often been concerned with the scales of state, capital, power, knowledge and representation, leading many theorists to cross the divide between disciplines; Michel de Certeau, Pierre Bourdieu, David Harvey and Henri Lefebvre being clear examples. It is then perhaps, through combining the knowledge of geographers, media and communication theorists and social theorists that we can better understand the twenty-first century’s increasing spatialization of thought and experience.

Themes may also include but are not limited to the following:

  • Maps as tools of communication
  • Communication infrastructure and power relations
  • Representation and communications
  • Cultural Geography and the media
  • Geography and communication
  • Spatial dimensions of technology
  • Geospatial data analysis for communication
  • The geographies of data visualization
  • Participatory GIS
  • Counter-mapping and tactical media
  • Globalization, cartography and inequality

 

  • References:

Adams, P. C., & Jansson, A. (2012). Communication geography: A bridge between disciplines. Communication Theory22(3): 299-318.

Barthes, R. (1972). Mythologies. 1957. Trans. Annette Lavers. New York: Hill and Wang.

Corner, J. (1999). The agency of mapping: Speculation, critique and invention, pp. 213-252 in The Map Reader: Theories of Mapping Practice and Cartographic Representation (eds. M. Dodge, R. Kitchin and C. Perkins), Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Falkheimer, J., and Jansson, A.  (eds.) (2006) Geographies of Communication: The Spatial Turn in Media Studies. Göteborg: Nordicom.

Goodchild, M. (2009). NeoGeography and the nature of geographic expertise. Journal of Location Based Services3(2): 82-96.

Haklay, M. M. (2013). Neogeography and the delusion of democratisation. Environment and Planning A45(1): 55-69.

Hall, S. (1997). Representation & the media. Northampton, Massachussetts : Media Education Foundation.

Innis, H. A. (1950). Empire and Communications, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Potts, J. (2015). The New Time and Space, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Creativity, Collaboration and Agency

Creativity, Collaboration and Agency

Hailing today’s MeCSSA 2018 conference on the topic of ‘Creativity and Agency’ at London South Bank University UWP thought it a good moment to extract parts of the introduction from our open access publication on Collaborative Production in the Creative Industries. This open access book edited by James Graham and Alessandro Gandini was released June 2017.  It asks amidst other questions, what kind of agency is emerging from the emphasis on networks, sharing and collaboration in creative work?  The full text of this introduction can downloaded here. The entire book is also available to read and download

 

… Yet, the tendency within much of the literature that emerged out of these pivotal contributions has been to focus on the extent to which individual action in a networked context has become integral to the enactment of creative work, whilst implicitly taking for granted its highly competitive nature as a natural process in a context of flexible employment relations. Put differently, whilst casting light on the controversial evolution of work in the creative industries, this very same literature has simultaneously overlooked, to a large degree, the extent to which a networked individual has to engage in collaboration with others in order to be a recognised actor in such networked scenes, and how in this currency collaboration is one side of the coin – networking – where competition is the other side.A closer focus on collaborative practices therefore appears to be particularly timely in that it not only addresses an aporia within the literature on creative industries – concerning all the disciplines listed above – but also focuses attention on the rise of ‘collaboration’ as the buzzword of the creative economy. It is notable that, whilst the creative economy was arguably flourishing as a research topic to a greater degree than its much-vaunted role as a catalyst for innovation and prosperity, the term ‘collaboration’ has gained an ever-increasing emphasis. Together with its often sibling buzzword ‘sharing’, the term ‘collaboration’ has become the fashionable shorthand for describing a socio-economic scenario that fosters individualised practices whilst at the same time demands ‘compulsory’ interaction with others in order to complete the individual projects that, ironically, cannot be achieved in isolation (Gandini, 2016). Here one encounters the rise of the terms ‘collaborative consumption’ (Botsman and Rogers, 2010) and ‘sharing economy’ (Slee, 2016) for describing the neoliberal logics of access for consumers of shared services – cab rides, home rentals, etc. – or the increasing relevance of a start-up culture founded on a shared belief in the complementarity of technological advancement and social innovation (Murray, Caulier-Grice and Mulgan, 2010) up to the coterminous rise of ‘making’, envisaged to be no less than a ‘third industrial revolution’ (Anderson, 2013).

This collaborative turn in the creative economy is evidenced by the notable efforts of many funding bodies to finance and support research projects that investigate collaborative practices at various levels (O’Brien, 2015, McGuigan, 2016). The all encompassing role played by digital media, which in what Robin Millar (2016) calls a ‘cybertarian’ discourse is understood as the pre-eminent catalyst for new forms of production practices but also their depoliticisation, makes even more central the necessity to scrutinise how collaborative production takes place in contexts where personal branding melds with socialisation, cooperation with competition. Social media provide platforms that enable these new modes of collaborative production, which vary from typical market-based endeavours, such as apps or social networking sites, to processes which find their roots in the ethos of peer production (Bauwens, 2006; Benkler, 2006) and assume free access to common resources for the creation and distribution of content which escapes the logic of the market. Similarly, the nature of collaborative work is being transformed by the intermediation processes afforded by social media and platforms. For one example, in a context where new forms of untethered work, that may or may not rely on the access to a shared space in order for collaboration to occur, develop (Johns and Gratton, 2013), we witness the rise of Online Labour Markets where conventionally commercial modes of creative production – graphic design, copywriting, illustration, filmmaking, etc. – become algorithmically governed labour transactions with concerning implications (Gandini, Pais and Beraldo, 2016). In response to this fragmented scenario, and with the aim of mapping the more media-based collaborative practices that live within it, this collection plots a course through the multi-disciplinary aspects of collaboration across a range of creative industries.

***

If we are effectively witnessing a structural transformation in the cultures of work and in the morphology of the workforce in the contemporary cultural economy (see Rifkin 2014, 1996; Moretti 2012), then the key insights offered by this collection are that the role of collaboration in creative and cultural work is key to this transformation, but that the experience and outcomes of such work are contradictory to say the least. Some contributions highlight how platforms and paradigms have emerged in recent years which aim to facilitate creative collaboration, spreading value across individuals and organisations. Yet in these and other contributions there is also evidence that this value is not equally distributed. The buzz around collaborative production also serves to mask exploitation, as cultural and creative workers have little choice but to embrace individualisation and self-exploitation in undertaking work that increasingly revolves around the production of author-brands that function as the primary currency of the cultural economy. This being the case collaborative production in the creative industries looks set to continue to prove as contradictory as it is enabling, enmeshed as it is in politics and policies, practices and publics

REFERENCES

Anderson, C. (2013). Makers: The New Industrial Revolution. New York: Crown Books.

Bauwens, M. (2006). The political economy of peer production. Post-autistic Economics Review, 37(28): 33–44.

Benkler, Y. (2006). The Wealth of Networks. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Botsman, R., and Rogers, R. (2010). What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption. New York: HarperCollins.

Gandini, A. (2016). The Reputation Economy: Understanding Knowledge Work in Digital Society. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gandini, A., Pais, I., & Beraldo, D. (2016). Reputation and trust on online labour markets: The reputation economy of Elance. Work Organisation, Labour and Globalisation, 10(1), 27–43

Johns, T. and Gratton, L. (2013). The third wave of virtual work. Harvard Business Review, 91.1: 66–73.

McGuigan, J. (2016). Neoliberal Culture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Millar, R. (2016). Cybertarian flexibility – when prosumers joint the cognitariat, all that is scholarship melts into air. In M. Curtin & K. Sanson (2016), Precarious Creativity: Global Media, Local Labor (p. 336). Oakland, CA: University of California Press, pp. 19–32.

Moretti, E. (2012) The New Geography of Jobs. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Murray, R., Caulier-Grice, J., & Mulgan, G. (2010). The Open Book of Social Innovation. London: National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Art.

O’Brien, D. (2014) Cultural Policy: Management, Value and Modernity in the Creative Industries Abingdon: Routledge.

Rifkin, J. (2014). The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, The Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism. London: Macmillan

Slee, T. (2016). What’s Yours is Mine: Against the Sharing Economy. New York: OR Books.

 

Call for book proposal submissions 2018: Critical Digital and Social Media Studies series

Call for book proposal submissions 2018: Critical Digital and Social Media Studies series

Critical Digital and Social Media Studies is an established book series edited by Prof Christian Fuchs on behalf of the Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies and published by the University of Westminster Press (UWP). We invite submissions of book proposals that fall into the scope of the series.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE Monday 12 February 2018 23:00 BST, by e-mail to Andrew Lockett (University of Westminster Press Manager), A.Lockett@westminster.ac.uk.

CALL DETAILS After the publication of five titles in the series we invite submission of book proposals (adhering to the guidelines set out below) as one document with one full chapter for books in the range of 35,000-80,000 words. The books in the series are published online in an open access format available online without payment using a Creative Commons licence (CC-BY-NC-ND) and simultaneously as affordable paperbacks. We are able to publish a number of books in the call without any book processing charges thanks to generous support by the University of Westminster that covers these fees. Potential authors are welcome to contact the series editor outside of the initial time frame of this call for book proposals but should note that priority for funding support for suitable projects will be given to those proposals meeting the deadline. There is a preference for the submission of proposals for books whose writing can be finished and that can be submitted to UWP within the next 6-15 months. In the event of a surplus of strong proposals preference will be given to single-authored book proposals over edited volumes.

Outside these time frames authors are welcome to submit to the publisher a.lockett@westminster.ac.uk but will be notified if funding has already been allocated and the prospective date for the next call for publication. Authors who have access to open access fee-funding (e.g. covered by research project funding, universities or other institutions) that can cover the fees for layout and production are welcome to contact the publisher outside of the submission dates, but should note selection is based only on grounds of quality and suitability for the series notwithstanding that the series wishes to welcome as many suitable titles as possible. We welcome submissions of a book outline proposal with (exactly one) sample chapter submitted as one single Word or PDF document. We can only accept suggestions for books written in English. For further details see the Proposal Guidelines below or if you have questions about the publishing process email a.lockett@westminster.ac.uk.

CRITICAL DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA STUDIES: AIMS AND SCOPE
The book series “Critical Digital and Social Media Studies” publishes books that critically study the role of the Internet, digital and social media in society and make critical interventions. Its publications analyse how power structures, digital capitalism, ideology, domination, social struggles shape and are shaped by digital and social media. They use and develop critical theories, are profoundly theoretical, and discuss the political relevance and implications of the studied topics. The book series understands itself as a critical theory forum for Internet and social media research that makes critical interventions into contemporary political topics in the context of digital and social media. It is also interested in publishing works that based on critical theory foundations develop and apply critical social media research methods that challenge digital positivism. It furthermore is interested in digital media ethics that are grounded in critical social theories and critical philosophy. The book series’ understanding of critical theory and critique is grounded in approaches such as critical political economy and Frankfurt School critical theory.

TOPICS
Example topics that the book series is interested in include: the political economy of digital and social media; digital and informational capitalism; digital labour; ideology critique in the age of social media; new developments of critical theory in the age of digital and social media; critical studies of advertising and consumer culture online; critical social media research methods; critical digital and social media ethics; working class struggles in the age of social media; the relationship of class, gender and race in the context of digital and social media; the critical analysis of the implications of big data, cloud computing, digital positivism, the Internet of things, predictive online analytics, the sharing economy, location- based data and mobile media, etc.; the role of classical critical theories for studying digital and social media; alternative social media and Internet platforms; the public sphere in the age of digital media; the critical study of the Internet economy; critical perspectives on digital democracy; critical case studies of online prosumption; public service digital and social media; commons-based digital and social media; subjectivity, consciousness, affects, worldviews and moral values in the age of digital and social media; digital art and culture in the context of critical theory; environmental and ecological aspects of digital capitalism and digital consumer culture.

PROPOSAL GUIDELINES
For books to be considered for the series please follow the guidelines below including the following:

UWP proposals to be presented under headings rather than as a questionnaire the following being suggested as a framework.
• 1. Case for the book, its scope (short 150 word summary):
Name of book and a description in 150-200 words; why a book is needed in the area and what is distinctive and unique about the book in terms of intellectual contribution and subject matter.
• 2. Author details and biography:
Details of author or principal editor/editor’s contact details and one paragraph detailing institutional affiliations, relevant previous publications and relevant history of research underlying the book
• 3. Context for the book (relation to the wider academic field/s) and relation to CDSMS series aims.
• 4. Summary of the book’s aims (longer summary):
A longer summary of the book’s distinctive intellectual contribution both in terms of the wider intellectual field but also in terms of the author’s own publications history
• 5. Chapter plan:
A chapter plan with a paragraph of content about the coverage of each chapter and brief details of bibliography, appendices and other apparatus proposed.
• 6. Readership and how to reach it:
Core readership and subject areas the book would appeal to and cover, and any tertiary audiences either in terms of general interest or other academic fields; How should the readership for the book in your opinion be best identified and reached? What factors do you think are most relevant in terms of ensuring the book is successfully published and makes an impact? Are there other things you think it important to stress about the readership for the book and how they might be reached?
• 7. Competing and related books:
An account of competing titles and books closest resembling that in your proposal; what is the books unique intellectual contribution;
• 8. Delivery date, length and any other publishing specifics:
If a single or dual authored book, the length of the book, the proposed delivery date, any presentation or production preferences or typesetting or production requirements for the book including use of illustration, data, specialist typography or colour printing.
• 9. Sample Chapter (attach exactly one sample chapter).

Series proposals are peer-reviewed in accordance with standard university press practice via the series editor, editorial board members and additional external referees where appropriate.

PUBLISHED IN THE SERIES (2016 and 2017)

CRITICAL THEORY OF COMMUNICATION: LUKÁCS, ADORNO, MARCUSE, HONNETH AND HABERMAS IN THE AGE OF THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Prof Christian Fuchs, Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Westminster
For free download or purchase.
Introductory video from the book launch.

KNOWLEDGE IN THE AGE OF DIGITAL CAPITALISM: AN INTRODUCTION TO COGNITIVE MATERIALISM
Mariano Zukerfeld (CONICET), Argentina.
For free download or purchase

POLITICIZING DIGITAL SPACE: THEORY, THE INTERNET, AND RENEWING DEMOCRACY
Trevor Smith Carleton University Ottowa.
For free download or purchase

CAPITAL, STATE, EMPIRE: THE NEW AMERICAN WAY OF DIGITAL WARFARE
Scott Timcke, University of the West Indies, at St Augustine, Trinidad & Tobago.
For free download or purchase

THE SPECTACLE 2.0: READING DEBORD IN THE CONTEXT OF DIGITAL CAPITALISM
Edited by Marco Briziarelli, University of New Mexico and Emiliana Armano, the State University of Milan.
For free download or purchase

FORTHCOMING 2018 AND ONWARDS (all titles provisional)

THE BIG DATA AGENDA: DATA ETHICS AND CRITICAL DATA STUDIES
Annika Richterich, Maastricht University, Netherlands

PEER TO PEER: THE COMMONS MANIFESTO
Michel Bauwens, Vasilis Kostakis and Alexis Pazaitis

SOCIAL CAPITALISM: ACCUMULATION AND ALIENATION
Kane Xavier Faucher, Western University, Ontario, Canada

BUBBLES AND MACHINES: GENDER, INFORMATION AND FINANCIAL CRISES
Micky Lee, Suffolk University, Boston, USA

CRITICAL THEORY AND AUTHORITARIAN POPULISM
Edited by Jerimiah Morelock, Boston College MA, USA

THE CONDITION OF DIGITALITY: AN ENQUIRY INTO THE ORIGINS OF LATE-MODERN POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL CHANGE
Robert Hassan, University of Melbourne

EDITORIAL BOARD:
Dr Thomas Allmer, University of Stirling, UK
Dr Mark Andrejevic, Pomona College, USA
Dr Miriyam Aouragh, University of Westminster, UK
Charles Brown, University of Westminster, UK
Dr Eran Fisher, Open University of Israel
Dr Peter Goodwin, University of Westminster, UK
Prof Jonathan Hardy, University of East London, UK
Dr Kylie Jarrett, Maynooth University, Ireland
Dr Anastasia Kavada, University of Westminster, UK
Dr Maria Michalis, University of Westminster, UK
Dr Stefania Milan, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Dr Vincent Mosco, Queens University, Canada
Dr Jack L Qiu, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Dr Jernej Amon Prodnik, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dr Marisol Sandoval, City University London, UK
Dr Sebastian Sevignani, Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena, Germany
Dr Pieter Verdegem, University of Westminster

Critical Digital and Social Media Studies
www.uwestminsterpress.co.uk

Spectacle in the Age of Digital Capitalism  Marco Briziarelli and Emiliana Armano

Spectacle in the Age of Digital Capitalism Marco Briziarelli and Emiliana Armano

Guy Debord‘s idea of Spectacle is reconsidered in Spectacle 2.0: Reading Debord in the Age of Digital Capitalism the 5th title to be published in UWP’s open access series Critical Digital and Social Media Studies edited by Christian FuchsIn this extract from their introduction tracing the journey of Debord’s theories to what seems an age of digital capitalism and hyperspectacle editors Marco Briziarelli and Emiliana Armano reflect on some of the steps in the transition to a new modality Spectacle 2.0. The full chapter From the Notion of Spectacle to Spectacle 2.0: The Dialectic of Capitalist Mediations’  continues to explore Spectacle 2.0’s embedding in digital labour, neoliberal subjectivities and knowledge work and is published open access can be read or downloaded for free.

‘For Debord, the narrative connecting the integrated Spectacle to its original form is one of capitulation because while in his original analysis there were pockets of social life, practices that could remain unaffected by the Spectacle— such as art or the very initiatives performed by the Situationists and avant-garde art—in the Comments he claims that the Spectacle has colonized every­thing. The integrated Spectacle, especially detectable in countries such as France and Italy, could be identified by five principal features: ‘incessant technological renewal’ that continues both mode of production and consumption; ‘integration of state and economy’ produced by state capitalism; ‘generalized secrecy’; ‘unanswerable lies’ created by systematic disinformation that eliminated the critical function of public opinion (pp. 8–10) and an eternal present. Looking at the news as the Spectacle, Compton considers the aestheticization of everyday life, as ‘the central logic of the Spectacle.’ As Compton (2004) observes, one of the salient aspects of such an integration, which in our view allows the transition into the Spectacle 2.0, is that current manifestations of the Spectacle need to be understood as a result of the practical use of the spectacular commodity, marketed as both production and promotion, that is, as an integrated system of production/promotion. In doing so, Compton tries to address some of the shortcomings that the original definition of the Spectacle represented by exploring in more depth the complex unity among various instances of production, consumption, distribution, and exchange. He also replaces the mass society critique narrative of passive individuals he detects in the original Spectacle, with a more nuanced account that recognizes a more active involvement of the spectators.

Wark (2013), provides one of the most recent engagements with the Spectacle, when in his The Spectacle of Disintegration he offers an alternative understanding of the evolution of the Spectacle. He claims that in the digital era the Spectacle did not disappear but its experience significantly changed, as instead of being perceived as a unified whole, it appears as a fragmented micro Spectacle. Its dis-integration is highly deceptive because, while experienced as a sort of liberation from the intrusive and manipulative aspects of traditional media and tied to the rhetoric of democratization of media production of new media, its reproduction depends on the free labour of the ‘spectators’. In fact, those spectacular fragments are frequently not produced by digital platforms but by their users and therefore constitute a representation that is even more pervasive. Although with its emphasis on media technology and its expansion towards more areas of social life, the integrated Spectacle may be considered a more accurate depiction of current circumstances. In this volume we assume that in the context of contemporary capitalism and the prominence reached by information and communication technologies in such a mode of production, the Spectacle has evolved into a new qualitatively different modality that we define as the Spectacle 2.0, which presents both aspects of continuity and ruptures with its previous arrangements. As we have already mentioned previously, we considered that although the Spectacle 2.0 is still founded on the core dialectical tensions defining the original Spectacle, it is reconfigured in such a way that qualitatively deserves a new taxonomy … a Spectacle certainly propelled by a new aesthetics, with a renewed prominence of (new) media, and characterized by interactivity.’

REFERENCES

Compton, James. 2004. The Integrated News Spectacle: A Political Economy of Cultural Performance. New York and Berlin: Peter Lang.

Debord, Guy. 1998. Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, translated by Maimrie, London: Verso.

Wark, McKenzie. 2013. The Spectacle of Disintegration: Situationist Passages out of the Twentieth Century. New York, London: Verso Books.

Trump and Debord: A Presidency Consumed by Spectacle – Kellner

Trump and Debord: A Presidency Consumed by Spectacle – Kellner

In the Preface of UWP’s next book Spectacle 2.0, Professor Doug Kellner in the extract below reflects on how Donald Trump has taken the society of the spectacle as conceived by Guy Debord to a whole new level. Spectacle 2.0: Reading Debord in the Age of Digital Capitalism is the 5th title to be published in UWP’s open access series Critical Digital and Social Media Studies edited by Christian Fuchs. The full article ‘Guy Debord, Donald Trump, and the Politics of the Spectacle’ published open access can be read or downloaded  for free.

TRUMP AND DEBORD: A Presidency Consumed by Spectacle – Kellner

‘Trump represents a stage of spectacle beyond Debord’s model of spectacle and consumer capitalism in which spectacle has come to colonize politics, culture, and everyday life, with the chief manipulator of the spectacle in the United States, Donald J. Trump, now becoming president and collapsing politics into entertainment and spectacle.

Twitter is a perfect vehicle for Trump as you can use its 140-character framework for attack, bragging, and getting out simple messages or posts that engage receivers who feel they are in the know and involved in TrumpWorld when they get pinged and receive his tweets. When asked at an August 26, 2015, Iowa event as to why he uses Twitter so much, he replied that it was easy, it only took a couple of seconds, and that he could attack his media critics when he ‘wasn’t treated fairly.’ Trump has also used Instagram – an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.

Twitter is perfect for General Trump who can blast out his opinions and order his followers what to think. It enables Businessman and Politician Trump to define his brand and mobilize those who wish to consume or support it. Trump Twitter gratifies the need of Narcissist Trump to be noticed and recognized as a master of communication who can bind his warriors into an on-line community. Twitter enables the Pundit-in-Chief to opine, rant, attack, and proclaim on all and sundry subjects, and to subject TrumpWorld to the indoctrination of their Fearless Leader.

Hence, Trump is mastering new media as well as dominating television and old media through his orchestration of media events as spectacles and daily Twitter feed. In Trump’s presidential campaign kick-off speech on June 16, 2015, when he announced he was running for President, Trump and his wife Melania dramatically descended the stairway at Trump Towers, and ‘The Donald’ strode up to a gaggle of microphones and dominated media attention for days with his drama. The opening speech of his campaign made a typically inflammatory remark that held in thrall news cycles for days when he stated:

The US has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. [Applause] Thank you. It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people

This comment ignited a firestorm of controversy and a preview of things to come concerning vile racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and the other hallmarks of Trump’s cacophony of hate. Throughout his campaign, Trump orchestrated political theatre and transformed US politics into spectacle, with his campaign representing another step in the merger between entertainment, celebrity and politics (here Ronald Reagan played a key role, our first actor president).

Trump is, I believe, the first major US presidential candidate to pursue politics as entertainment and thus to collapse the distinction between entertainment, news, and politics, greatly expanding the domain of spectacle theorized by Debord. Furthermore, Trump’s use of Twitter, Facebook, and other new forms of digital media, social networking, and interactive spectacle expanded the political spectacle to new realms of digitization, participation, and virtuality described by editors and contributors to this book as Spectacle 2.0. Trump’s mastery of the politics of the spectacle was evident in his campaign against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Although there were many other decisive factors in the outcome of the election, including the fact that Clinton ran an uninspiring campaign without a compelling message and the country was suffering from Clinton fatigue, there is no doubt that media spectacle is playing an increasingly important role in US politics, which is now standing on the threshold of an era in which a master of the spectacle, Donald J. Trump stands as President in a presidency consumed by spectacle, one that might serve as a sacrifice to the politics of the spectacle that destroys its avatars, just as it creates them. Indeed, Guy Debord might be astonished at the extent to which spectacle has come to dominate politics in high-tech supercapitalist societies of the hyperspectacle which it is our fate to suffer.’

Geography & Communications: New WPCC Call for Papers

Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture: Call for Papers

Geography and Communications

 Geography, media, and communications have been closely linked since the 16th Century. Just as the advent of the printing press changed the media landscape, so too did it change that of geography and cartography. The printing revolution, along with new instruments of measurement led to a prolific expansion of mapping activates in the 16th Century, producing increasingly detailed birds eye views of the world. These views from above worked to serve as tools of possession, the elevated position of the explorer and cartographers and the commanding view provided by the maps mirrored the divine gaze of God, positioning the commissioner of the map in a seemingly omniscient position, solidifying their position of control, changing perceptions and relationships with space itself. In this way, the Cartographic Gaze was the precursor to the surveillent gaze, epitomized by Bentham’s Panopticon and the work of Foucault. A number of texts have already examined the linkages between geography, media and communications; Innis’s (1950) classic text on Empire and Communications; Falkheimer and Jansson’s (2006) Geographies of Communication explores communication theory’s spatial turn, and conversely Adams and Jansson’s (2012) examination of geography’s communicational turn. Yet, as we move further and deeper into a digitized world we are bombarded with ever more instruments of measurement (big data, algorithms, UGC, VGI etc.), ever more far reaching versions of the printing press (Web 2.0, Social Media etc.), and the waters are muddied further by the development of Participatory-GIS systems, and the (re-)birth of Neogeography which purportedly offers up a challenge to the status quo (Goodchild, 2009; Haklay, 2013). Thus, it becomes essential that, just as we might question the 16th century map makers, we must now question data analytics, algorithms and their architects, the media, and those who claim to contest the cartographic gaze; to ask, ‘did you find the world or did you make it up?’ to quote Winnicott (cited in Corner, 1999). The media, data analysts and neogeographers all sit in-between the virtual and the real creating new forms of virtual time and space that are then superimposed onto territorial spaces (Potts: 2015). These new virtual spaces are still so too controlled and mediated from above by new omniscient digital Gods, propelled by their search for profits.

This call for papers aims to bring together the disciplines of geography and communication to draw out and challenge a number of problematic discourses in relation to power, knowledge and representation, recognizing not only that each are material and symbolic, but also that each particular place representation is contingent and unique (Hall, 1980). As the world, the media and our communications tools become increasingly digitalized and data driven we are increasingly constructing myths through algorithms, visualization, codification and mediation, of all which require us to rethink and interpret signs and their connotations (Hall, 1997; Barthes, 1972). Late twentieth century communication and information technologies have produced such a blurring of what is real and what is representation that the two can no longer be distinguished (Corner, 1999). Geography has often been concerned with the scales of state, capital, power, knowledge and representation, leading many theorists to cross the divide between disciplines; Michel de Certeau, Pierre Bourdieu, David Harvey and Henri Lefebvre being clear examples. It is then perhaps, through combining the knowledge of geographers, media and communication theorists and social theorists that we can better understand the twenty-first century’s increasing spatialization of thought and experience.

Themes may also include but are not limited to the following:

  • Maps as tools of communication
  • Communication infrastructure and power relations
  • Representation and communications
  • Cultural Geography and the media
  • Geography and communication
  • Spatial dimensions of technology
  • Geospatial data analysis for communication
  • The geographies of data visualization
  • Participatory GIS
  • Counter-mapping and tactical media
  • Globalization, cartography and inequality

GEOG COMM IMAGE

  • Submission of Abstracts:Prospective authors of research articles of between 6,000-8,000 words including notes and references are encouraged to send a 250-word abstract to WPCC2015@gmail.com no later than end 19th January 2018.
  • Deadline for abstracts:end 19th January 2018. Please send abstracts to WPCC2015@gmail.com
  • The editorial team of WPCC will endeavour to inform authors of abstracts by end 1stFebruary 2018 if the abstract meets the brief of the issue and if WPCC would like to request submission of a full text with a view to inclusion, subject to peer-review and editing on delivery.
  • Deadline for full-text submission:20th April 2018. Authors of those abstracts encouraged by WPCC or new submissions should register at the journal website by 20th April 2018 attaching the article. Authors will be notified as soon as possible about acceptance, revisions or rejection and the outcome of the review process with a view to publishing accepted articles subject to any amendments requested. Please route communications about articles submitted via the journal’s online system. Please submit articles via: https://www.westminsterpapers.org/about/submissions.

References:

Adams, P. C., & Jansson, A. (2012). Communication geography: A bridge between disciplines. Communication Theory22(3): 299-318.

Barthes, R. (1972). Mythologies. 1957. Trans. Annette Lavers. New York: Hill and Wang.

Corner, J. (1999). The agency of mapping: Speculation, critique and invention, pp. 213-252 in The Map Reader: Theories of Mapping Practice and Cartographic Representation (eds. M. Dodge, R. Kitchin and C. Perkins), Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

Falkheimer, J., and Jansson, A.  (eds.) (2006) Geographies of Communication: The Spatial Turn in Media Studies. Göteborg: Nordicom.

Goodchild, M. (2009). NeoGeography and the nature of geographic expertise. Journal of Location Based Services3(2): 82-96.

Haklay, M. M. (2013). Neogeography and the delusion of democratisation. Environment and Planning A45(1): 55-69.

Hall, S. (1997). Representation & the media. Northampton, Massachussetts : Media Education Foundation.

Innis, H. A. (1950). Empire and Communications, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Potts, J. (2015). The New Time and Space, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.