Learning Infrastructures in the Social Sciences

The final issue of the journal learning inquiry has been published.

The topic was Learning Infrastructures in the Social Sciences.

The contributions are:

Introducing learning infrastructures: invisibility, context, and governance
Jeremy Hunsinger

Virtual office hours as cyberinfrastructure: the case study of instant messaging
Jeren Balayeva and Anabel Quan-Haase

Transforming learning infrastructures in the social sciences through flexible and interactive technology-enhanced learning
Philipp Budka and Claudia Schallert

The Brisbane Media Map: participatory design and authentic learning to link students and industry
Christy Collis, Marcus Foth and Ronald Schroeter

Learning to succeed in a flat world: information and communication technologies for a new generation of business students
Alex Ramirez, Michael J. Hine, Shaobo Ji, Frank Ulbrich and Rob Riordan

And one article not in the special issue, but included in the final issue:

The educational (im)possibility for dietetics: a poststructural discourse analysis
Jacqui Gingras

Jason Nolan and I wish to thank you for your interest and submissions over the last few years.

Dissertation conferred December 17, 2009; title and abstract below

Constructing a Politics of Knowledge in the Age of the  Internet

The politics of knowledge in the age of the internet is concerned with many overlapping elements.  From the reimagining of research in relation to the new infrastructures to the development of new technologies and their social, cultural, ontological, and epistemological implications, here the politics of knowledge centers around questions of information technology infrastructures in late capitalism, the control society, and reflexive modernization.   As these social and political theories operate across academic disciplines and organizational systems, new formulations of knowledge production arise such as transdisciplinary research.  Transdisciplinary research can be considered as a model for knowledge production that is still capable of recognizing the shared and processual nature of knowledge that operates contrarily to the objectified and commodified understanding of knowledge in late capitalism.  Using critical analysis centered in considerations of reflexivity and the control society, I argue for the possibility of alternative cyberinfrastructures for the e-sciences and virtual learning environments as systems of cultural reproduction.  These alternatives privilege constructions of science understood as creative, social, and processual following the findings of actor-network theory and the theories of Deleuze and Guattari.  Finally, I argue that we are co-constructing a politics of knowledge within and through the infrastructures that we are building, and within these politics there is a conception of the practices of science and research that could be informed by a reconsideration of social theories of technology and our contemporary social and political theory in relation to the development of future technologies and future ways of understanding those technologies.

Internet Research 11.0 – Sustainability, Participation, Action

Call for Papers
Internet Research 11.0 – Sustainability, Participation, Action

The 11th Annual International and Interdisciplinary Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR)
October 21-23, 2010 University of Gothenburg/Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

The challenge of this conference is to find multiple avenues for participation and action towards a sustainable future. In a society increasingly aware of social and ecological imbalance, many people now see information and communication technologies as key technologies for solving problems associated with an unsustainable future. However, while information technology may solve some problems, it can magnify others. As pointed out by world forums such as the United Nations and the European Commission, use of ICTs contributes to the unsustainable consumption of energy and resources. Similarly, unequal access and exploitative practices remind us that IT is not a utopian answer to complex social problems. A sustainable future is not only about greening processes and products at any cost, but also entails social responsibility, cultural protection and economic growth. Therefore the conference has a multi-dimensional focus, where the Internet is seen as a possible liberating, empowering and greening tool.

The conference will focus on how the Internet can function as a conduit for the development of greater global equality and understanding, a training ground for participation in debates and cross-cultural projects and a tool for mutual action; in short a technology of empowerment. The flip-side of the internet as a tool for empowerment is the issue of exploitation. Exploitation of resources and people is what has led to the current crisis, and issues of exploitation are highly relevant online, from abuse of the commons to censorship, fraud and loss of privacy and the protection of the rights of the individual.

Sustainability, Participation, Action invites scholars to consider issues concerning empowerment and/or exploitation in relation to the Internet. We ask scholars to specifically consider issues concerning integrity, knowledge production, and ethics in relation to the Internet and sustainable development. How do we, as Internet researchers, regard our work in relation to the unsustainable current situation and the possibilities of a sustainable future? How far can we take the Internet, and with it, people, individuals, groups and societies in order to create an arena for participation and action, all key elements in imagining a sustainable future? How can we apply previous knowledge to serve future solutions?

To this end, we call for papers, panel proposals, and presentations from any discipline, methodology, and community, and from conjunctions of multiple disciplines, methodologies and academic communities that address the conference themes, including papers that intersect and/or interconnect the following:

Internet and an equal and balanced society
Internet as an arena for participation
Internet as a tool and arena for action
Internet and an informed knowledge society
Internet and a green society
Internet and e‐commerce, dematerialization and transportation
Internet and security, integrity and surveillance
Internet and a healthy society
Internet as an arena for cultural expressions, and source of a culture of its own.

Sessions at the conference will be established that specifically address the conference themes, and we welcome innovative, exciting, and unexpected takes on those themes. We also welcome submissions on topics that address social, cultural, political, legal, aesthetic, economic, and/or philosophical aspects of the Internet beyond the conference themes. In all cases, we welcome disciplinary and interdisciplinary submissions as well as international collaborations from both AoIR and non‐AoIR members.

We seek proposals for several different kinds of contributions. We welcome proposals for traditional academic conference PAPERS and we also welcome proposals for ROUNDTABLE SESSIONS that will focus on discussion and interaction among conference delegates, as well as organized PANEL PROPOSALS that present a coherent group of papers on a single theme.

Call for Papers Released: 24 November 2009
Submissions Due: 21 February 2010 (Details here)
Notification: 21 April 2010
Full papers due: 21 August 2010

All papers and presentations in this session will be evaluated in a standard blind peer review.

PAPERS (individual or multi-author) – submit abstract of 600-800 words
FULL PAPERS (OPTIONAL): For submitters requiring peer review of full papers, manuscripts of up to 8,000 words will be accepted for review. These will be reviewed and judged separately from abstract submissions
PANEL PROPOSALS – submit a 600-800 word description of the panel theme, plus 250-500 word abstract for each paper or presentation
ROUNDTABLE PROPOSALS – submit a statement indicating the nature of the roundtable discussion and interaction
Papers, presentations and panels will be selected from the submitted proposals on the basis of multiple blind peer review, coordinated and overseen by the Program Chair. Each individual is invited to submit a proposal for 1 paper or 1 presentation. A person may also propose a panel session, which may include a second paper that they are presenting. An individual may also submit a roundtable proposal. You may be listed as co-author on additional papers as long as you are not presenting them.

Selected papers from the conference will be published in a special issue of the journal Information, Communication & Society, edited by Caroline Haythornthwaite and Lori Kendall. Authors selected for consideration for submission to this issue will be contacted prior to the conference.

All papers submitted to the conference system will be available to AoIR members after the conference.

On October 20, 2010, there will be a limited number of pre-conference workshops which will provide participants with in-depth, hands-on and/or creative opportunities. We invite proposals for these pre-conference workshops. Local presenters are encouraged to propose workshops that will invite visiting researchers into their labs or studios or locales. Proposals should be no more than 1000 words, and should clearly outline the purpose, methodology, structure, costs, equipment and minimal attendance required, as well as explaining relevance to the conference as a whole. Proposals will be accepted if they demonstrate that the workshop will add significantly to the overall program in terms of thematic depth, hands on experience, or local opportunities for scholarly or artistic connections. These proposals and all inquiries regarding pre-conference proposals should be submitted as soon as possible to both the Conference Chair and Program Chair and no later than March 31, 2010.

In order to increase the diversity of participation in the AoIR annual Internet Research (IR) conferences, the Association of Internet Researchers will make available up to three conference fee waivers per year. The number of fee waivers will depend first of all upon the ability of the conference budget to sustain such waivers (a judgment to be made by the AoIR Executive Committee upon the advice of the AoIR Treasurer and the local organizing committee) as well as upon the quality of the applications for fee waivers.

Applications for fee waivers are invited from student or faculty authors whose paper or panel proposals have already been accepted via the AoIR IR conference reviewing process. All applications should be directed to the Vice-President of AoIR, and must be received by June 30 of the conference year. Late applications cannot be considered. More information and submission guidelines will be published in a separate announcement.

Program Chair: Torill Elvira Mortensen, Volda University College, Norway. torill.mortensen@gmail.com
Conference Co-Chairs and Coordinators: Ann-Sofie Axelsson, Chalmers University of Technology and Ylva Hård af Segerstad, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Important Dates

Submissions Due 21 February 2010

Notifications of Acceptance 21 Apr 2010

Abstract Revisions Due7 May 2010

Full Papers Due 21 August 2010

Pre-Conference Workshops 20 Oct 2010

Main Conference 21-23 Oct 2010

call for panelists: Discourses of Legitimation in Knowledge, Cultural and Information Policy

I’m putting a panel for Interpretive Policy Analysis: Politic, Legitimacy and Power in Grenoble  France July 23-25 2010
Keynotes this year are:  Frank Fischer,  Bruno Latour, Bruno Jobert, Patrick Le Galés and Vivien Schmidt.

I need 200-300 word proposals from the panelists.
I need the proposals by 18 November 2009.

The topic of the panel will will be:  Discourses of Legitimation in Knowledge, Cultural and Information Policy.  I am looking for at least 3 more participants for the panel.

The idea is that in using interpretive methods, we find certain discourses that aim to legitimize certain policies related to knowledge and cultural policy in our society.  The papers should describe these discourses so that in the panel we can present them and discuss the similarities and differences.   For my perspective, I tend to be most closely allied with Habermasian and Lyotardian issues of legitimation and the issues of justification described by Boltanski and Thévenot in On Justification.  However, any model of  a discourse that legitimizes, justifies a policy will be considered for the panel.

I’d like to see papers for the panel of around 20-30 pages eventually, but the panel will minimally need to have presentations of 15-20 minutes.    If I get the papers, I’ll try to get them placed in a journal special issue or similar project.

Living with the everyday life of digital archives: The techno-social ambulations of 3… or more… online archives.

This is fundamentally a paper about the movement of techno-socialobjects which we call digital archives.  It is about the effects of those movements considered transversally.    The Center for Digital Discourse and Culture hosts several archives that are changing, becoming, and revising the relations between themselves, their users, and other communities. The archives that we host are to some people  unknown, but to others world reknowned. They include the Feminist  Theory Online archive http://www.cddc.vt.edu/feminism/, the Situationists International Online Archive http://www.cddc.vt.edu/SIOnline/ , the April16archive http://april16archive.org/, a mirror of The  Marxist Archive http://www.marxists.org/, and a mirror of the the  Bureau of Public Secrets. Those are just the more major archives   These archives are in part alive and in part dead, some are constantly updated and upgraded by their communities, others have not been  updated for ages. However the knowledge and meanings of these  archives construct relations to moving beings and their artifacts. This paper attempts to tell some of the stories of time, place, and movement of these archives within and through the beings and artifacts  in which they become embedded.  In doing that, the paper describes the  everyday life of the archives themselves as they are ambulant in  everyday life.

Using short narratives, this paper center several events and relationships that changed the archives and mobilized them in some relation to everyday life. The stories used will deal with the ambulations of the Marxists archive in 2007 when it was attacked by computers in China, the movements of Feminist theory websites as it becomes embedded in and migrates through textbooks and academic papers  becoming something new, while remaining unchanged, the Tragedy of  April16archive and its relationship to the Northern Illinois  University shooting, and possibly the trials and tribulations of  Situationists International and the Bureau of Public Secrets in  relation to their original print existences.

Through telling the stories of these techno-social ambulants as archives in everyday life, I hope to show their movements and embeddedness in everyday life; their capacity for change and becoming  in relation to all varieties of institutions and communities, from  local users to nation states and to show how their existence allows  for a transversal analysis of cultural relations in relation to the  archives as they migrate through and among those institutions and  communities.


The Center for Digital Discourse and Culture(CDDC) is announcing an expanded call for proposal for our Research E-ditions, Hosting Services, and our new Digital Originals publishing series.

CDDC in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University is accepting new manuscripts for digital modes of publication in its Research E-ditions series. The CDDC ( http://www.cddc.vt.edu ) has been in operation for nearly two years, and it publishes hypertext journals, hosts digital research archives, and cooperates with many international cyberculture organizations.

As an entirely digital point-of-publication, the CDDC will review and then produce professional academic research works–either single-authored or edited collections–in a digital format. Proposals could take the form of an “e-book” that simply makes available a scholarly monograph in online format, or a collection of academic papers organized around a central theme, or a fully hypertextual experiment with new forms of digital discourse. Arrangements can be made for “print on demand” (POD) paper versions of these works, but the main focus of the CDDC is to explore the new communicative potentials of hypertext, hypermedia, and web-centered publication. The review processes will be as extensive and rigorous as those experienced in print academic communication, but it too will be conducted in a fully on-line format.

Research E-ditions

All topics are potentially of interest in the Research E-ditions series, however, we are particularly interested in manuscripts, digital archives, and hypertexts from the humanities and social sciences relating to the areas of cyberculture, social theory, literary studies, digital art, and cultural studies. In addition, the CDDC is committed to proposals from applied and natural sciences that relate directly to the fields of bioinformatics, energy and environmental studies, and information technology and communications.


All topics and projects of academic interest that require hosting are solicited for the Hosting@CDDC project. We host and mirror several major projects and have space for many more. We host projects serving a broad set of communities. We provide basic facilities of web hosting and listserv hosting. Any requirements beyond basic hosting should be outlined in the proposal. Hosting is frequently used in conjuction with various forms of community software, e-journal software, or related software to support artistic, academic, and related content.

Digital Originals

Digital Originals is open access publishing for book-like digital projects. We are soliciting submissions from people who have materials that originate in the digital arena, and want them to be released either under a Creative Commons license or under an Open Content License. The original documents will be peer-reviewed, edited, and published with an ISBN assigned and made freely downloadable on the CDDC Website.


Initial proposals should take the form of a 1 page description of the project, including a description of the services requested, a description of the project’s audience, and provide current examples of the work (URLS) that is to be hosted or published. All proposals will be peer reviewed with at least two reviewers and further information may be requested. The review process is as rigorous as any academic publisher.

Proposals should be sent to CDDC@vt.edu

The Political Economy of Information in an Age of Speed and Excess

When information explodes, systems fail. In our current age, the ability to govern is predicated on the control and distribution of information. This paper confronts the inability to do that, it examines the techniques and systems of informational governance, notes some their defects, demonstrates the incapacities and draws the conclusion parallel to Virilio’s Information Bomb, we are due for a failure.

Informational power is a power of control, control of distribution, control of origination. It is a power of establishing borders, territories, and limiting access. It is predicated on assumptions of normality, and when the normal becomes too fast, too informationally productive, and generates enormous surpluses of capacity, like a bomb, the excessive power; the excessive information explodes. It breaks the boundaries, overwhelms the territory, and forces humans to develop new tactics for management, for governance. I argue that this is the state we are in, a state of excess, of being overwhelmed by information and power, because we have built an informational infrastructure based on speed and power.

There is no end in sight for the progressive development of this infrastructure. With terabit/sec speeds already in place, it is likely already beyond the limits of real human understanding, and we are beginning to see how it manifests itself as a tool of transformation or weapon of destruction of the institutions built on fordist and post-fordist understandings of information, such as music, movies, banking, which have strong informational ties, but this is just the start of a more pervasive creative destruction.

Faced with these issues and their immanent explosion, I look at the proposals for governance, for creating a sustainable political economy that governments are using around the world, such as defining information as artifacts and allowing patents, redefining copyrights, and developing international trade regimes surrounding information. I contrast the governmental systems with the growing cultural awareness of the issue and introduce the question: what if governments fail? how does society reterritorialize information, and what cultural toolkits seem to be arising in the face of speed and excess, such as open source, open content, and related movements that arise out of and restructure the excess into new cultural systems.