yet one more paper i have to finish.


Fourth International Conference on
27 June-1 July 2004
Karlstad University, Sweden

Conference theme:
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 outside the English-speaking world.

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) are invited.

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,

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
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (Vol. 9 (1), November, 2003
- see, 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
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 Menou.
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 proceedings.

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 the conference.

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

Important Dates

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,
 Fay Sudweeks, Murdoch University, Australia,
 Malin Sveningsson, Karlstad University, Sweden,