Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 414.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
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Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2003 08:09:10 +0000
Subject: Cultural Attitudes towards Technology and Communication
CALL FOR PAPERS
Fourth International Conference on
CULTURAL ATTITUDES TOWARDS TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATION
27 June-1 July 2004
Karlstad University, Sweden
Off the shelf or from the ground up?
ICTs and cultural marginalization, homogenization or hybridization
The biennial CATaC conference series provides a continuously expanding
international forum for the presentation and discussion of current research
on how diverse cultural attitudes shape the implementation and use of
information and communication technologies (ICTs). The conference series
brings together scholars from around the globe who provide diverse
perspectives, both in terms of the specific culture(s) they highlight in
their presentations and discussions, and in terms of the discipline(s)
through which they approach the conference theme. The first conference in
the series was held in London in 1998, the second in Perth in 2000, and the
third in Montreal in 2002.
Beginning with our first conference in 1998, the CATaC conferences
have highlighted theoretical and praxis-oriented scholarship and research
from all parts of the globe, including Asia, Africa, and the Middle-East.
The conferences focus especially on people and communities at the
developing edges of ICT diffusion, including indigenous peoples and those
Understanding the role of culture in how far minority and/or indigenous
cultural groups may succeed - or fail - in taking up ICTs designed for a
majority culture is obviously crucial to the moral and political imperative
of designing ICTs in ways that will not simply reinforce such groups'
marginalization. What is the role of culture in the development of ICTs
"from the ground up" - beginning with the local culture and conditions -
rather than assuming dominant "off the shelf" technologies are appropriate?
Are the empowering potentials of ICTs successfully exploited among minority
and indigenous groups, and/or do they rather engender cultural
marginalization, cultural homogenization or cultural hybridization?
Original full papers (especially those which connect theoretical frameworks
with specific examples of cultural values, practices, etc.) and short
papers (e.g. describing current research projects and preliminary results)
Topics of particular interest include but are not limited to:
- Culture: theory and praxis
- Culture and economy
- Alternative models for ICT diffusion
- Role of governments and activists in culture, technology and communication
- ICTs and cultural hybridity
- ICTs and intercultural communication
- Culture, communication and e-learning
Our conference themes provide a range of approaches to the questions raised.
Nina Wakeford, Foundation Fund Lecturer in Sociology and Social
Methodology. For her DPhil at Nuffield College, Oxford, Dr Wakeford studied
the experiences of mature students using a sociological conception of risk.
Before coming to the University of Surrey in September of 1998, she spent
three years studying "Women's Experiences of Virtual Communities", funded
by an ESRC Post-Doctoral grant. The last two years of this Fellowship she
conducted fieldwork in and around Silicon Valley while based at the
University of California, Berkeley.
CATaC'04 will also feature two particular foci, each chaired by a
distinguished colleague who will oversee paper review and development of
the final panels.
PANEL 1: The Multilingual Internet
Panel Chairs: Susan Herring and Brenda Danet
Expanding on their collective work, including a special issue of the
Computer-Mediated Communication (Vol. 9 (1), November, 2003 - see
http://www.ascusc.org/jcmc/), this thread invites papers with
a specific focus on how the Internet impacts language choice and
linguistic practices in traditionally non-English speaking cultural
contexts. Of particular interest are situations that respond in
various ways to the tension between global English dominance and
local linguistic diversity, e.g., through use of English as an
online lingua franca, the "localization" of global or regional
linguistic influences, translation or code-switching between
different languages, and strategic uses of the Internet to
maintain and invigorate minority languages.
Susan Herring is Professor of Information Science and Linguistics,
Indiana University Bloomington
Brenda Danet is Professor Emerita of Sociology and Communication at the
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
PANEL 2: Utopian Dreams vs. Real-World Conditions: Under what conditions
can ICTs really help worse off communities?
Panel Chair: Michel Minou.
CATaC'04 will likely feature some examples of "best practices" in using
ICTs to aid culturally-appropriate development, especially as pursued
through governmental or NGOs' projects, community informatics endeavours,
etc. At the same time, however, real-world politics and realities - e.g.,
violent oppression, political corruption, gender and ethnic discrimination,
abuse of dominant economic position, structural disasters, worst practices
of all kinds and origins, etc. - can shatter the best-laid plans for using
ICTs to supposedly help especially the poorest of the poor. How far can
ICTs succeed in supporting culturally-appropriate development - and what
appropriate answers to real-world conditions are required in order for our
best efforts to realize the liberatory potentials of these technologies not
be broken down?
Michel Menou, has worked on the development of national information
policies and systems in many countries of the Southern hemisphere since
1966. Since 1992 his work focused on the impact of information and ICT in
development. He is a member of the Community Informatics Research Network
and of the network of Telecentres of Latin America and Caribbean.
All submissions will be peer reviewed by an international panel of
scholars and researchers and accepted papers will appear in the conference
Initial submissions are to be uploaded to the CATaC website according to
the paper guidelines (available at the conference website). Submission of a
paper implies that it has not been submitted or published elsewhere. At
least one author of each accepted paper is expected to present the paper at
There will be the opportunity for selected papers from this 2004 conference
to appear in special issues of journals and a book. Papers in previous
conferences have appeared in journals (Journal of Computer Mediated
Communication, Electronic Journal of Communication/La Revue Electronique de
Communication, AI and Society, Javnost- The Public, and New Media and
Society) and a book (Culture, Technology, Communication: towards an
Intercultural Global Village, 2001, edited by Charles Ess with Fay
Sudweeks, SUNY Press, New York). You may purchase the conference
proceedings from the 2002 conference from www.it.murdoch.edu.au/catac.
Full papers (10-20 pages): 12 January 2004
Short papers (3-5 pages): 26 January 2004
Notification of acceptance: end February 2004
Final formatted papers: 29 March 2004
Charles Ess, Drury University, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Fay Sudweeks, Murdoch University, Australia, email@example.com
Malin Sveningsson, Karlstad University, Sweden, firstname.lastname@example.org
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