Bodo Balazs on Sat, 16 Apr 2005 06:23:56 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Conference on new media and activism


The Budapest University of Technology and Economics, the Central
European University, the Open Society Institute, and the Annenberg
School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania invite
submissions for a conference on 

RE:activism: Re-drawing the boundaries of activism in a new media

which is to take place in Budapest, October 14-15, 2005

Deadline for submission of abstracts: June 14, 2005



The emergence of the internet and other information technologies gave
birth to a plethora of new social and communicative activities. Cheap,
decentralized and horizontal communication channels have been exploited
by a wide spectrum of actors from antiglobalization activists and users
of file-sharing networks to creative commons licensees and locative
guerilla artists. As new media technologies have triggered various forms
of activities, the New Left hopes about emancipatory social agency have
also been resuscitated.
In spite of the undeniable democratic potential inscribed in new
information and communication technologies, there seems to be little
agreement as to what consequences new media bring on existing structures
of cultural, economic and political power. Those analysts and activists
envisioning a more democratic, equitable and culturally diverse society
have maintained high hopes concerning the progressive potential of new
media. Meanwhile, skeptical voices can also be heard: research focus has
been reoriented towards threats and uncertainties concerned with new
technologies. Many analysts have addressed various aspects of the
commercialization of new media, the possibilities of digital
surveillance and states' and corporations' constant efforts to limit, by
means of regulation, the liberatory potential of new technologies.

Addressing the above hopes and disappointments, the conference
RE:activism serves as a large scale, international social and academic
event which brings together academics, activists and artists to explore
and discuss some of the most important aspects of transforming cultural
and political practices in the context of new media. The organizers are
particularly interested in the following problems:

- How the boundaries separating center (accepted/valuable) and periphery
(illicit/worthless) are redrawn through the negotiations of new media
actors, be they individual music consumers, expert groups, creative
commons licensees, social movements, nation states or corporate

- Does the enabling potential of new technologies trigger, in reality,
new forms of social and communicative activities? What turns new media
enabled activities into "activism"? What does activism mean in the
context of new media?

- Under what conditions do unusual uses of new media induce social
change and subvert old structures of the production and the distribution
of loyalties, identities, culture and knowledge?

Participants of the conference are invited to explore the promises and
limitations of new media along the above broad themes of
"center/periphery", "activism" and "change". 


The list of confirmed participants is regularly refreshed at our
website. At the moment (4/14/2005) the following academics and activists
confirmed their attendance:

Yochai Benkler (Yale Law School), Douglas Kellner (UCLA), Saskia Sassen
(Univ. of Chicago), Nicholas Jankowski (Univ. of Nijmegen), Michael X.
Delli Carpini (Annenberg School for Communication, Univ. of
Pennsylvania), Henry Perritt (Kent College of Law), Kembrew McLeod
(Univ. of Iowa), Barbie Zelizer, (Annenberg), Andy Bichlbaum
(, Dr. Richard Barbrook (School of Media, Arts & Design,
University of Westminster), Giles Lane (, Michael Keith
(Boston College), Alexander H. Trechsel, (European University
Institute), Jonathan Zittrain (Berkman Center for Internet & Society),
Martin Cloonan (index on censorship)


The RE:activism conference offers eight panels, each of them
representing an important approach from which the transformative
potential of new media can be meaningfully addressed. We invite academic
participants to present papers and take part in round table discussions
with activists in one of the following panels:

- Political economy of peer production networks 
- State intervention and regulatory issues in the Information Age 
- Digital culture jamming 
- Digitalized memory: new forms of archiving and journalism
- Civic uses of new media technologies 
- New media and global civil society
- New media and democratic elections 
- New media activism and the urban fabric

For more information about the eight panels, please, visit the
conference website:

Organizers of the conference invite submissions of graduate students,
scholars, researchers mainly from the fields of anthropology, media
studies, law sciences, sociology, art theory and political science.


We invite members of activist groups of all kinds (from the smallest DIY
community to transnational movements) and artists working with new media
technologies to present their projects connected to any of the above
conference panels and to take part in round table discussions with


- Academic paper (abstract max. 750 words) 
Single or multi-author submissions of a single paper 
Participants are expected to submit full papers to the conference
organizers by September 30, 2005.

- Aesthetic presentation (abstract max of 750 words, audiovisual
Presentation of old or new media based artistic projects or performances
related to activism.

- Presentation of activist projects (abstract max of 750 words)
Presentation of activist projects exploring activist uses of the


Budapest is the dynamically developing capital of Hungary, a
not-too-long-ago communist state and a very recent member of the
European Union. Budapest, with its recent history marked by the process
of system change, with its population aiming to leave behind the city's
almost-a-century-long periphericity and with its vibrant civic and
cultural life feeding various forms social and cultural activism is the
par excellence site embodying the main theoretical challenges faced by
activists and addressed by the RE:activism conference. Budapest offers a
very hospitable environment for the community of conference
participants. Among the city's most appealing aspects for new media
researchers we could mention the surprisingly high number of researchers
interested in new media technologies, an uniquely viable Budapest based
on-line community (see, or the Hungarian capital's coffee house
and thermal bath culture, maintaining sites for public discussion. 

A longer presentation of the political and media system in Hungary is
available on the conference site.


The organizing institutions contribute to the travel and housing
expenses of invited participants.


Please contact Balazs Bodo, at

Please feel free to forward this call!

Balazs Bodo
assistant lecturer

Budapest University of Technology, 
Department of Sociology and Communications
Center for Media Research and Education

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