If you’re working on a relevant project, submit a title and a 200-250 word abstract (anything over 250 words will not be accepted) here. I’ll review the submissions on October 1st and see if we have enough to make a proposal. Feel free to submit you papers through the ESS general submissions process as well if you plan to attend regardless of whether we are able to get a panel into the program. (more…)
Cyborgology Editors Nathan and PJ have teamed up with Dr. Chris Donoghue to organize a session (or sessions, or perhaps a mini-conference, depending on the number of quality submissions) on social media at the Eastern Sociological Society Meetings, February 23-26, 2012 in New York City.
If you follow Cyborgology, Theorizing the Web, or know anyone who wants to present on social media at a Sociology conference, please see our Call for Abstracts. All we need is a title and a 200-250 word abstract (anything over 250 words will not be accepted). Papers will be competitively chosen.
I’m currently doing field work in Kumasi, Ghana and will be back next week with some really great original content. Until then, I am sharing a piece of media that I have been looking forward to, but currently have absolutely no time to watch. Amy Goodman moderates a discussion between Lacanian Philosopher and pop-culture critic Slavoj Zizek and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. This is the first interview Assange has given since being put under house arrest without charges filed against him by Sweden or the UK. Zizek considers operations like Wikileaks are the “harbingers for the end of global capitalism as we know it.” Again, I haven’t watched this yet, but I go into it with the following questions in mind: Can we make this kind of conclusion? Or is this a matter of digital dualism mixing with the cautious optimism of the far left? Are we fetishizing information technology to such a degree that we conflate its revolutionary capacity to disrupt technological systems, with its ability to tear apart similar social systems? Technological and social systems can and do follow isomorphic and parallel organizational structures but that does not mean that a technology’s ability to disrupt one, is on par with its ability to disrupt the other.
The SMS service will be advertised using an ad campaign that is based on field work from the previous year by Dr. Audrey Bennett of RPI's Language Literature and Communication Department..
Next month I’ll be in Kumasi, Ghana doing field research and I thought I’d share what I hope to accomplish over there, since my work is informed by much of what I write about on this blog. (I will be blogging over here.) We hope to set up an information system by which Ghanaians can find condom sellers nearby. The primary interface will be text messaging using a fantastic open-source project called FrontLineSMS. By texting a certain number, the user will be asked to send their district and a list of nearby landmarks. The database will send back a list of condom sellers within a reasonable walking distance. We also hope to have several other front-end access points that are already becoming popular places to socialize. Our aim is to increase access to condoms in order to reduce the infection rate of HIV/AIDS. As of 2009, according to UNICEF, 230,000 people (about 2% of the population) live with HIV in Ghana. I should also note that cell phones are not a luxury item in Ghana. Adoption has exploded over the past several years, and it is estimated that about 67% of Ghanians own a cell phone.
In a sort of 21st century version of Radio Free Europe, the US State Department has sponsored a project that develops suitcase-sized kits that set up cell-phone based mesh networks. These private networks are to be deployed in countries that have totalitarian governments (with anti-American sentiment).
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s statement that “Facebook is the most appalling spying machine ever invented” reveals that there is a lack of consensus among the leading social media developers regarding the relationship between transparency and social justice. Implicitly, Assange is asserting that transparency is good when imposed on governments but bad when imposed on individuals. Moreover, he is, arguably drawing a distinction, here, between cyber-libertarianism (which he rejects as, ironically, facilitating state surveillance and control) and cyber-anarchism (which uses the same tools to affect grassroots surveillance or “sousveillance” on the state and, thereby, diminishing its capacity to engage in covert, extralegal activities, potentially directed at its own citizens). (more…)
We live in a cyborg society. Technology has infiltrated the most fundamental aspects of our lives: social organization, the body, even our self-concepts. This blog chronicles our new, augmented reality.