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The Digital Condition: Book Launch & Discussion
Thursday February 15th, 17.30-19.00
Room: RHB 142 Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths
Free, All Welcome
In his new book new book “The Digital Condition” (Polity Press, Jan 2018) Felix Stalder argues that referentiality, communality, and algorithmicity have become the characteristic cultural forms of the digital condition because more and more people – in more and more segments of life and by means of increasingly complex technologies – are actively (voluntarily and/or compulsorily) participating in the negotiation of social meaning. They are thus reacting to the demands of a chaotic, overwhelming sphere of information and thereby contributing to its greater expansion. It is the ubiquity of these cultural forms that makes it possible to speak of the digital condition in the singular.
The goals pursued in these cultural forms, however, are as diverse, contradictory, and conflicted as society itself. It would therefore be equally false to assume uniformity or an absence of alternatives in the unfolding of social and political developments. On the contrary, the idea of a lack of alternatives is an ideological assertion that is itself part of a specific political agenda. Indeed, advanced democracies are faced with a profound choice, to continue their long slide towards post-democratic authoritarianism or reinvent democracy for the digital condition.
Felix Stalder is Professor for Digital Culture and Network Theories at the Zurich University of the Arts, a member of the World-Information Institute and the Technopolitics Working Group, both in Vienna and one of the long-term moderators of <nettime>, an international mailing list. http://felix.openflows.com
The Word Bookshop will hold a stall selling copies of The Digital Condition.
Digital Culture Unit
Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy
RHB 142 is fully accessible.
Human Rights Film Festival Programme 2017-2018
A Stone’s Throw from Prison, Raquel Castells, 2013 with Q&A with the Director, Raquel Castells
October 26th 2017 5-7, PSH LGO1, Professor Stuart Hall Building, Goldsmiths
Growing up in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is not easy. On any night, a group of soldiers may take you to prison, after blinding and handcuffing you in front of your family. Rami, Ahmed, Mohammed... The film is their story, but also that of courageous Israelis and Palestinians working to stop conflict and heal its consequence.
When Two Worlds Collide, Heidi Brandenburg, Mathew Orzel, 2016 with Q&A with the Directors
November 16th 2017 6-8 pm PSH LGO2, Professor Stuart Hall Building, Goldsmiths
In this tense and immersive tour de force, audiences are taken directly into the line of fire between powerful, opposing Peruvian leaders who will stop at nothing to keep their respective goals intact. On the one side is President Alan Garcia, who, eager to enter the world stage, begins aggressively extracting oil, minerals, and gas from untouched indigenous Amazonian land. He is quickly met with fierce opposition from indigenous leader Alberto Pizango, whose impassioned speeches against Garcia's destructive actions prove a powerful rallying cry to throngs of his supporters. When Garcia continues to ignore their pleas, a tense war of words erupts into deadly violence.
Seeds of Hope, Fiona Lloyd-Davies, 2013 with Q and A with the Director, Fiona Lloyd-Davies
January 18th 2018 5-7pm MRB 05 Screen 1, Media Research Building, Goldsmiths
The documentary follows the story of Masika Katsuva. Masika is a Congolese woman who sacrifices her safety everyday to help others deal with the unimaginable horrors they have experienced in their lives. Since the outbreak of the civil war, which has torn the Congo apart, rape has become commonplace and is used as a weapon of war. At Masika’s centre, a community of rape victims try to rebuild their lives and console each other.
Goldsmiths Human Rights Shorts with Q&A with the Directors
The Battle of Lewisham, Nacheal Catnott, 2017
The film offers a contemporary awakening of the events which took place in the streets of New Cross, South East London on August 13th 1977. The film powerfully combines documentary practice and poetic imagery, questioning the boundaries placed between art and filmmaking.
Interview with a War Criminal, Ismar Badzic
A refugee from the Bosnian war faces his demons by writing to convicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic. Themes of loss, memory and reconciliation are foregrounded in this tense and personal journey.
Twenty Minutes, Oisin Byrne
'Twenty Minutes' is a dramatized first-person survivor account of the emotional impact of sexual assault based on the victim impact statement of Emily Doe in the Stanford rape case.
My Life (Mero Jivan Mero Rojai) My Choice, Tassia Kobylinska
A short film working with young people in Nepal, some of whom are already married, which is intended to share info, and offer guidance and advice about how they can stop child marriage in their communities.
Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy public seminar series:
Who are the People?
Democracy, The Media, and the Rise of the Radical Right
Populism is sweeping conventional wisdom as the problem facing democracies these days. However, the term is often ill defined, and, however defined, it may be just a symptom of deepr crises of democracy. Many democracies today face growing economic and political inequality, the hollowing out of centre parties and related declines in electoral representation, along with business interests overshadowing ogvernment and civil society. In light of these problems, the academic and media discourses about populism may confuse cause and effect, and obscure more serious political developments such as the rise of undemocratic movements and parties on the radical right that end up helping the neoliberal project whether or not that is their intent. The efforst on the contemporary right to impose divisive definitions of "true citizens" and deny rights and benefits to others creates social disruption, violence and disinformation that further undermines democratic governance and favours authoritarian capitalism.
Mediatized Populisms: The Global South as Method
25 January 2018, 5-7pm, PSH 326
Paula Chakravartty, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, Department of Media, Culture and Communication and the Gallatin School, New York University (in collaboration with Professor Sirup Roy, Centre for Modern Indian Studies and Institute of Political Sciences, University of Göttingen, Germany).
Chair: Natalie Fenton, Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths.
Disaggregating the idea of a singular media logic of poulist politics to explain the world through Trump and Brexit, we examine the institutional and political-economic dynamics of mediatisation and the variegated structures of media-political fields in which contemporary populists political formations are embedded. Moving away frombroad "global populism"approaches as well as case-studies from Europe and the Americas that have thus far dominated disucssions of populism, we make the case for empirically grounded comparative studies of populism from the particular standpoint of regional contexts in Asia, the MENA (Middle East and NOrth Africa) region and Latin America, to offer theoretical insights often missed in prevailing "technology first" and election-focuesed approaches.
Universities, neo-liberalisation and (in)equality
Friday April 28th 2017, 10am-6pm, PSH LG01
Universities in the UK, alongside other public services, are treated by policy-makers as enclaves of privilege to be democratised through the introduction of quasi-markets in teaching and research, while at the same time what academics do is increasingly constrained by ‘performance indicators’, league table rankings and the like. At the same time, and despite fees, the numbers of students who are benefitting from university education remains high: in 2014/15, 48% of 17-30 year olds went to university. As the recent government bill on Higher Education makes clear, universities have been transformed almost beyond recognition from institutions that offered social rights to free higher education for a small number of people – when degrees where undoubtedly routes to individual social mobility - in the 1960s and 70s, to sites of ongoing marketization and bureaucratisation in the context of policy-makers’ emphasis on public spending cuts, suspicion of professionals, and ‘widening participation’.
At this conference we invite speakers both to analyse the marketization and bureaucratisation of universities today, and also to discuss what can be done. We aim to think about resistance, and also about the possibilities of more fundamental transformation of universities. What, if anything, should we aim to preserve of the value of education as it was established in universities in the 1960s? Is there resistance already going on in the interstices of the ‘audit culture’, and what form does it take? Does the rhetoric of ‘widening participation’ offer any possibilities to challenge some of the ongoing inequalities in universities – around issues of diversity, for example? Does it only ever re-instate inequalities? And what ideas do we have for a radical transformation of universities? What are our ideas about what we want universities to become?
Speakers include: Des Freedman (Media and Communications, Goldsmiths); David Graeber (Anthropology, LSE); Jo Littler (Sociology, City); Vik Loveday (Sociology, Goldsmiths); Andrew McGettigan; Mao Mollona (Anthropology, Goldsmiths); Kate Nash (Sociology, Goldsmiths); Mollie Neath (Students’ Union, Goldsmiths); Dan Neyland (Sociology, Goldsmiths); The ResSisters (Feminist Collective); Robbie Shilliam (Politics and International Relations, QMUL); Brett St Louis (Sociology, Goldsmiths).
Event is free and open to everyone, please RSVP
Anti-Austerity and Media Activism - an IAMCR 2016 pre-conference hosted by the Centre for Global Media and Democracy, Goldsmiths
The conference will seek to highlight the connections between austerity and the media and, in particular, to highlight the role of communications in fostering anti-austerity movements. Papers in the conference will consider how:
- Media outlets have helped to construct contemporary narratives of austerity
- Mainstream media have related to discourses of austerity
- Non-mainstream media have attempted to counter austerity narratives
- Activists and campaigners have sought to mobilise against both media and political elites in order to press for media reform, to secure democratic gains and to protect public spaces.
Location: The preconference will be held at Goldsmiths, University of London, PSH 302
Date and Time: Saturday 23 July 2016, 10-5pm
Registration is free but must be booked on the Anti-Austerity and Media Activism EventBrite.
Media Technologies and Social Movements: Present Challenges and Future Developments ESRC seminar series
The Social Movements and Media Technologies: Present Challenges and Future Developments Seminar Series is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and jointly organised by the Centre for Global Media and Democracy (CGMD) at Goldsmiths University of London and the Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS), European University Institute Florence. The series was designed to establish a ground of collaboration between these two centres, which are internationally renowned for their research excellence and engagement with the field. The aim of the series is to tackle and critically understand one of the crucial societal changes of our times: the relationship between political participation and media technologies.
Lead by Veronica Barassi, Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications, and Alice Mattoni, Research Associate at the COSMOS, Centre on Social Movement Studies, European University Institute
The fourth event in this series, The Missing Actor: The Meaning of Political Cultures for Media/Movements Interactions, will take place at the Insitute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Scuola Normale Superiore in Florence, on 21 and 22 of April 2016.
A report of the first year of the ESRC Social Movement and Media Technologies seminars, has been published on the RE.FRAMING ACTIVISM blog.
Recognition Re-visited: Transforming The Representation of Gender Violence Through Ethical Witnessing
Co-hosted by the
María-José Gámez-Fuentes Universitat Jaume I (Castellón, Spain)
The concern about eradicating violence against women is not new in the global agenda. From grassroots movements to institutionalized feminist policies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), women’s organizations and initiatives have sought not only to address direct violence, but also to transform the conceptual frameworks that sustain it (Gámez Fuentes, 2013).
In this context, specialized literature coincides in indicating how media have contributed to the visibility of the problem, signaling a commitment to raise awareness. However such visibility has not implied a real transformation of the hegemonic framework related to women as victims. Butler and Athanasiou (2013) assert that the normative and normalizing powers that regulate the distribution of vulnerability, favor discourses of victimhood over discourses of political claims and confrontations.
Our aim is to explore which kind of communication can overcome that hegemonic frame of recognition. For this purpose we rely on the concept of “ethical witnessing” proposed by Oliver (2001 & 2004) and Kaplan (2005). They emphasize the need to address the other as a speaking subject (Butler & Athanasiou, 2013) and not simply recognize and attempt to understand him/her. This approach, thus, focuses on our response-ability towards others, this being understood as a capacity, and as a responsibility, to respond. This relation, between our responsiveness and our responsibility constitutes the threshold of our enquiry into how discourses can articulate the role of the witness.
Butler, J. y Athanasiou, A. (2013): Dispossession: The performative in the political, New York: Wiley.
Gámez Fuentes, M. J. (2013): “Re-framing the subject(s) of gender violence”, Peace Review, 25:3, 398-405.
Kaplan, A. (2005): Trauma Culture. The Politics of Terror and Loss in Media and Literature, New Brunswick, New Jersey, and London: Rutgers University Press.
Oliver, K. (2001): Witnessing beyond Recognition, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
- (2004): “Witnessing and Testimony”, Parallax, 10:1, 79-88.
Location: 302 PSH
Date and Time: 2 June 2016, 5-7pm
Expectations of Openness: From Cold War to a 'Right to Know' in U.S. Politics, Media, and Culture
Professor Michael Schudson, Columbia University.
In an age of Edward Snowden, it may seem odd to argue that there are greater expectations of openness in democracies than ever before, but that is the case. Government agencies, laws, civil society guardians of openness, practices of disclosure in health care, advertising, food packaging and labeling, all reinforce ideals of transparency as never before.
In the U.S. case, the focal point of this lecture, little of this goes back to the early days of the Republic, but almost all of it precedes the Internet. The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (1966) grew out of 1950s struggles inside government related to the Cold War and other advances in openness owe much to the rise of a new generation of political leadership coming to power some years before mass demonstrations and the cultural revolution of the late 1960s. This history should help us rethink the role of transparency -- and its limits -- today.
Michael Schudson is Professor of Journalism and Adjunct Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, he is the author of seven books and co-editor of three others. His works include Discovering the News: A Social History of American Newspapers (1978), Why Democracies Need an Unlovable Press (2008), The Sociology of News (2011) and The Rise of the Right to Know (2015).
Date and Time: 13th January 2016, 12-1.30
Location: Professor Stuart Hall Building, LG02