Building: Dearing Building Room: Room A34
The proposed workshop explores and theorizes how the rise of online platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr, is affecting the spatial configuration of public contention. The goal is to create a cross-disciplinary network of scholars to develop a new dynamic conception of publicness. Rather than simply situating contentious politics within a specific ‘sphere’ that serves as their container, we are interested in examining how contentious politics unfolds across different geographical, cultural, political and material configurations. The workshop specifically calls for papers that investigate and conceptualize how in contemporary protests relations of publicness are constantly redrawn across the ‘local’, ‘national’, and ‘transnational’. Moreover, it aims to stimulate research on how the technological infrastructures of the emerging hybrid media system, in which digital platforms, broadcast media, and face-to-face communication are deeply entangled, shape the spatial trajectories of public contention. Finally, the workshop hopes to attract papers that critically examine how the intense use of digital media in public contestation, often in combination with alternative media, further confuses the traditional distinction between ‘public’ and ‘commercial’ space. In combination, the papers should enable a lively debate on how to research and theorize public contention in the new communication environment. Do we have to revise or even abandon dominant conceptualizations of publicness, like the public sphere, which are very much predicated on the nation state? And if so, what new concepts do we need to understand how the rapid development of digital platforms is transforming the spaces of public contestation?