cfp: Surveillance, Social Media, & Identity

Call for Papers: Surveillance, Social Media, & Identity 

24th – 25th October 2018 

De Montfort University, Clephan Building, Bonners Lane, Leicester

Submit: 250-word abstract to by 1st August 2018 with name/title/affiliation

Send full papers: 6,000-8,000 words to by 8th October 2018 (peer reviewed material will be considered for IJMD, see below)

Register: Conference is free, with lunch provided, but register via Eventbrite

Media Discourse Centre

  • Journal Launch: IJMD, 2019, International Journal of Media Discourse (Editors: Ruth Sanz Sabido, CCCU; Ben Harbisher, DMU; Stuart Price, DMU)
  • Queries re. Journal, write to:

Surveillance, Social Media, & Identity

Attitudes to the growth and use of Social Media have evolved, from broadly positive conceptions of their role as instruments/sites of democratic exchange, to less favourable assessments that identify their part in the reproduction of an inequitable and fractious social order. In recent years, greater emphasis has been placed on the Faustian bargain that the ‘consumer-citizen’ (Needham, 2003; Clarke and Newman, 2007) has been forced to strike with the ‘platform capitalists’ (Srnicek, 2016) who control access to this domain of sociability, and more attention has been devoted to the role of the state in monitoring online behaviour (Trottier, 2015). This observation should not suggest that ‘new’ media forms are solely responsible for the destruction of privacy, the repression of dissent, or the enlargement of individual egos, because technological developments throughout history can be subjected to the same kind of critical analysis.

One of the key questions is, therefore, the particular role of social media in both facilitating and regulating expressions of human agency, as people attempt to build networks of like-minded individuals, establish forms of intimacy, and intervene in political controversies. The promotion of the ‘self’ as a cultured, capable, autonomous and yet connected being, requires the careful maintenance of online profiles and the constant revision of ‘status’. In addition, those driven by the goal of professional attainment try to draw attention to their ‘marketable’ skills and abilities. Yet, if the price of entry to this new sphere of influence is self-exposure, then these selves are composed of elements that are, in part, specifically chosen in anticipation of the scrutiny that they will receive (not only from the ‘weak ties’ established between fair-weather Facebook friends, but from intelligence agencies and corporate power).

This conference examines the ways in which mediated identity is constructed and monitored, which can encompass the circulation of communal identity, the reproduction of gendered personas, and the role of state and corporate formations in the segmentation of individuals through their political allegiance and ‘lifestyle’ choices. It also engages with recent revelations that describe the attempted manipulation of opinion and electoral preferences, and the rise of forms of surveillance designed to pre-empt the supposed ‘radicalisation’ of disaffected groups.

Papers may include, but need not be confined, to the following:

  • Workplace surveillance and forms of resistance
  • Corporate surveillance of the consumer-citizen
  • Self-promotion in the digital ‘marketplace’
  • Histories of surveillance
  • Counter-surveillance and political consciousness
  • Protest events and policing
  • ‘Securitisation’ and public insecurity
  • The contested identity of the ‘refugee’
  • Feminist identities and politics
  • Collective identities and ‘cultural’ resistance
  • Online rumour and state intervention

Confirmed speakers from the Media Discourse Centre (panel keynotes in italics):

  • Electronic Music Collectives (Zoe Armour)
  • ‘Breaking’ Cambridge Analytica (Alice Gibbs)
  • Surveillance and political identity (Ben Harbisher)
  • Greece & Cyprus: Political Agency, Identity and Gender (Nayia Kamenou)
  • Online Feminist Identities (Claire Sedgwick)
  • Iraq: Gender and Online Identity (Ahmed Bahiya)
  • UK: Child sexual abuse, surveillance, control (Jason Lee)
  • Brazil: Collective identity and resistance (Fernanda Amaral)
  • China: Misinformation and mistrust: rumours on Chinese social media (Yu Sui)
  • Italy: Autonomy, Surveillance and Power (Marco Checci)
  • Sociopolitical digital heritage in Israel-Palestine (Gil Pasternak)
  • Spain: Leftism, Nationalism and Identity (Stuart Price)
  • Identity, Class and Intergenerational Change (Gurvinder Aujla-Sidhu)
  • UK R10 Studio: Surveillance, Re-appropriated Post War Technologies and Evotronics
  • (Mazzitelli, Towers, Frize and Kelly)

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