On theory & practice: why I left academia.edu

In the course of reducing my free labour and data provision to shady companies, I deleted my academia.edu account today. It had been on my mind for a while already, and reading “Should This Be the Last Thing You Read on Academia.edu?” by Gary Hall only gave the final push to do so.

I do not know much about this company that managed in only a few years to lock-in millions of university workers into their walled garden, applying, of course, all kinds of data analytics on what we all publish and selling it to the highest bidder.

I have never been particularly active on this honey pot site. The reasons I initially joined were rather mundane: being in the loop with latest papers on subjects I am interested in. But soon I noticed that this site is basically run with the same devasting social logics that all neoliberal trajectories entail: who is following whom, who is important, etc.

University workers seem to be particulary receptive for these social logics of digital cultures as we all are constantly reminded that if we don’t publish (of course at Elsevier!), our careers might not develop properly. University worker to large extends have internalized in the best (or worst) Foucauldian sense the gouvernementality of neoliberal subjects in an economy that is based on competition and kissing a.

This is so much more of a problem when the same authors that spent time and thought into critizing this matrix act in total conformity to it.

Well, at least one soul less is now captured by Richard Price’s profit machine.

Maybe you want to do the same? There a lots of other possibilities to publish and network. Starting with a simple blog like this. We really should practically be on the side of the open internet and stop contributing to its further closure and privatization. Think about it, fellow academians! Public space is scarce already. Why are we so stupid to enforce the privatization of the online space, too?

A true noblog

This is not a blog, but a noblog. As such not much happens here. I only update the CV from time to time. And if there is big news to share, I will. But this is rather unlikely.

Information scarcity could be a concept for the future, don’t you think?


Now available: “Critical Perspectives on Social Media and Protest”, edited by Lina Dencik and Oliver Leistert

Our collected volume “Critical Perspectives on Social Media and Protest. Between Control and Emancipation“, published by Rowman & Littlefield, is now available:

From the publisher’s website:
“This book critically interrogates the relationship between social media and protest from an interdisciplinary perspective, examining the multiple ways in which we need to politicize and contextualise commercial social media platforms, in particular with regards to their use for the purposes of anti-systemic and progressive protest movements.”

We got some great endorsements:

“At last, a collection on social media and protest that is genuinely critical, spanning both the nature of the technological tools the political-economic environment they are part of, the organisational responses these formations then lend themselves to and the political consequences they reap. Rich in detail, broad in remit, interrogatory by design this will be my ‘turn to’ book on this subject for years to come.” Natalie Fenton, Professor of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths University of London

“Refusing simple explanations and traversing protest movements from around the globe, this collection is essential reading for academics and activists alike. The volume interrogates the power and systemic shortcomings of corporate-based social media as deployed during moments of revolution, rupture, and dissent. Operating simultaneously as an authoritative force that regiments social relations and a fetishistic object that congeals desires, these media are shot through with a series of contradictions.” Gabriella Coleman, Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy Department of Art History & Communication Studies, McGill University

“This collection provides a much-needed antidote to the ready equation of social media and political empowerment. It counters the cyber-hype with a truly critical collection of readings that explore the political limits and potentials of social media. This is a crucial volume for anyone interested in the key political question of our time: the relationship between media technology and activism.” Mark Andrejevic, Associate Professor of Media Studies, Pomona College

1. Promise and Practice in Studies of Social Media and Movements. Sebastian Haunss
Part I: Algorithmic Control and Visibility / 2. The Revolution Will Not Be Liked: On the Systemic Constraints of Corporate Social Media Platforms for Protests, Oliver Leistert / 3. Mobilizing in Times of Social Media: From a Politics of Identity to a Politics of Visibility, Stefania Milan
Part II: Temporal Alienation and Redefining Spaces / 4. Social Media, Immediacy and the Time for Democracy: Critical Reflections on Social Media as ‘Temporalising Practices’, Veronica Barassi / 5. “This Space Belongs to Us!”: Protest Spaces in Times of Accelerating Capitalism, Anne Kaun
Part III: Surveillance, Censorship and Political Economy / 6. Social Media Censorship, Privatised Regulation, and New Restrictions to Protest and Dissent, Arne Hintz / 7. Social Media Protest in Context: Surveillance, Information Management, and Neoliberal Governance in Canada, Joanna Redden / 8. Pre-empting Dissent: From Participatory Policing to Collaborative Filmmaking, Greg Elmer
Part IV: Dissent and Fragmentation From Within / 9. The Struggle Within: Discord, Conflict and Paranoia in Social Media Protest, Emiliano Treré / 10. Social Media and the 2013 Protests in Brazil: The Contradictory Nature of Political Mobilization in the Digital Era, Mauro P. Porto and João Brant
Part V: Myths and Organisational Trajectories / 11. Social Media and the ‘New Authenticity’ of Protest. Lina Dencik / 12. Network Cultures and the Architecture of Decision. Geert Lovink and Ned Rossiter

Julia Oschatz shows her work and has a new catalog out

On the occasion of her receiving the Hannah-Höch-Förderpreises (Hannah Höch Advancement Award) of the State of Berlin 2014, Julia Oschatz (born 1970 in Darmstadt) is showing an exhibition of her work in the cabinet room of the painting gallery. She conceived the exhibition specifically for this location by taking, for example, the painting “Netherlandish Proverbs” (1559) by Pieter Bruegel as the starting point for pictorial and medial reflexions for individual scenes and figures.

Her new catalog gives a detailed impression of her works. It contains three written pieces,  by Ursula Panhans-Bühler,  Frank Raddatz, and one by me.

“Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society” website up and running

The project “Digital Citizenship and Surveillance Society” at University Cardiff now has its website up and running. The project  explores the nature, opportunities and challenges of digital citizenship in light of the governmental surveillance measures revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Solidarity Protest with Edward Snowden in front of German ChancelleryThe leaks initially published by The Guardian and the Washington Post provide unprecedented insights into the workings of digital surveillance programmes and thus a unique historical opportunity for this research. The project analyses digital citizenship along four central themes that all shape and manifest contemporary structures of governance in ‘surveillance society’: policy, technology, civil society, and news media.