Showing posts with label saskia sassen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label saskia sassen. Show all posts

Friday, September 14, 2018

Appointed Editor for the Communication and Media Section in the new University of California Press Journal-Global Perspectives


Global Perspectives (GP) is an online-only, peer-reviewed, transdisciplinary journal seeking to advance social science research and debates in a globalizing world, specifically in terms of concepts, theories, methodologies, and evidence bases. GP is devoted to the study of global patterns and developments across a wide range of topics and fields, among them trade and markets, security and sustainability, communication and media, justice and law, governance and regulation, culture and value systems, identities, environmental interfaces, technology-society interfaces, shifting geographies and migration.

I will be leading the Communication and media section with Helmut K. Anheier from the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany serving as the Editor-in-Chief. 

GP sets out to help overcome national and disciplinary fragmentation and isolation.  GP starts from the premise that the world that gave rise to the social sciences in their present form is no more. The national and disciplinary approaches that developed over the last century are increasingly insufficient to capture the complexities of the global realities of a world that has changed significantly in a relatively short period of time.  New concepts, approaches and forms of academic discourse may be called for. GP has been organized by subject sections carrying equal weight, which are informed by major conceptual or empirical issues or grounded in traditional disciplines, while always inviting significant interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches.

I have an amazing board of global and renowned scholars to work with for the launch of this new endeavor. The members are as follows:

-          Lina Dencik, Cardiff University, UK
-          Terry Flew, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
-          Mark Graham, University of Oxford, UK
-          MinJiang, UNC Charlotte, USA
-          KoenLeurs, Utrecht University, Netherlands
-          Cornelius Puschmann, Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research, Germany
-          Nimmi Rangaswamy, IIIT Hyderabad, India
-          Anita Say Chan, University of Illinois, USA
-          Fabro Steibel, Institute for Technology and Society, Brazil
-          Wendy Willems, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
-          Guobin Yang, University of Pennsylvania, USA

I have written a brief theoretical launching point for this section:

The ‘global turn’ in media and communication demands new ways of conceptualizing relations and boundaries between the local, the national and the transnational. In recent years, ubiquitous computing, mobile technologies and social media have amplified the urgency to unpack the globalizing of media platforms, communication patterns and processes as well as their underlying politics and policies.
While the media continues to be implicated in the “disjunctures between economy, culture, and politics” as Arjun Appadurai astutely observed a quarter century ago, their digital cultures have created new opportunities and discontinuities at a global scale that require a prolonged and thoughtful investigation.
Speculations about the fate of traditional mass media like print, radio and television continue to be of rising concern in academic and industrial research. The rise of user-generated content has challenged conventional framings of media producers and audiences bound by the nation state. For example, bloggers, podcasters, online celebrities, digital activists and citizen journalists can shape global public opinion and the media landscape at large.

As a few digital platforms control the vast amount of data generated through everyday communicative practices worldwide, scholars across disciplines are rightfully concerned about who gets to collect, curate, store and moderate such media content. What is driving the expansions in media infrastructures and policies and is there a unified and shared logic to their organization? What are the implications of new media technologies for politics and governance at national and international levels?  

We have witnessed a significant shift in discourses surrounding globalization and media, from a celebratory to a more critical stance. Only a decade ago, studies were tethered to the notion of the “networked society” of collective intelligence, participatory knowledge-making, community-building and activism. Today, we appear less optimistic, as scholars sound the alarm on new forms of discrimination, alienation, and victimization through uninterrupted datafication, predictive analytics and automation of the “surveillance society.”
While big data did not reify into an “end of theory” as prematurely envisioned, we hesitate to ask the big questions that can best encapsulate the interconnectedness of information flows and the intersectionality of their datasets. It remains a challenge to “decenter” and “decolonize” the global to stay clear of a singular and universal logic to explain the social order of global media. This endeavour beseeches a re-examination of past formulations of information/media systems, as well as a critical assessment with the velocity, variety and volume and other such rubrics posited to define new media architectures and practices.

Global Perspectives invite scholars across disciplines and fields to submit their empirical and theoretical studies that are at the fulcrum of deliberations on the “global” in media and communication networks. We find ourselves at an important juncture that requires moving beyond staid dualities, traditional framings, and descriptive media comparative work.

How do we transcend the binaries of the online-offline, the public-private media sphere, “data rich” and “data poor,” producer and consumer, homogenization and heterogenization, media convergence and divergence, disembodiments and the situated materiality of media imaginaries to the contextual integrity of the media event? What alternative frameworks, systems, etymologies and ontologies are on offer to reconfigure our understandings of how global media are organizing the power relations in society?

In this context, we invite papers to propose methodological innovations and conceptual alternatives to the approach of the dialect between media and the global. Should we continue to use the nation state as a central unit of analysis or push for a provincializing or translocating of the global in Media studies? Are we giving too much primacy to data in untangling global digital cultures and overestimating their influence? How do we conceptualize the global transformations of the traditional media without being too medium or user centric? These are some of the many issues contributor to the Global Perspectives are welcome to address.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

New Book out! The Leisure Commons: A Spatial History of Web 2.0 (Routledge)




About the book: There is much excitement about Web 2.0 as an unprecedented, novel, community-building space for experiencing, producing, and consuming leisure, particularly through social network sites. What is needed is a perspective that is invested in neither a utopian or dystopian posture but sees historical continuity to this cyberleisure geography. This book investigates the digital public sphere by drawing parallels to another leisure space that shares its rhetoric of being open, democratic, and free for all: the urban park. It makes the case that the history and politics of public parks as an urban commons provides fresh insight into contemporary debates on corporatization, democratization and privatization of the digital commons. This book takes the reader on a metaphorical journey through multiple forms of public parks such as Protest Parks, Walled Gardens, Corporate Parks, Fantasy Parks, and Global Parks, addressing issues such as virtual activism, online privacy/surveillance, digital labor, branding, and globalization of digital networks. Ranging from the 19th century British factory garden to Tokyo Disneyland, this book offers numerous spatial metaphors to bring to life aspects of new media spaces. Readers looking for an interdisciplinary, historical and spatial approach to staid Web 2.0 discourses will undoubtedly benefit from this text.

 --------------------------------------------
So, I had the idea for this book way back in my student days at Columbia and it even reached a point of crisis. I was torn between two topics as some of you may have experienced as a doctorate student- of staying with my topic and conducting ethnographic fieldwork on social computing in the Himalayas or taking on this new topic which required a more sociological/ interdisciplinary lens and an extra 2 years.Changing mentors, methods, plans!! I chose the former and thankfully I did as it was an amazing and unforgettable experience in the field. It got published by Ashgate titled, 'Dot Com Mantra: Social Computing in the Central Himalayas.' 

When I came to Holland, the idea still persisted; hovered in the back of my mind constantly, so I decided to pursue it. After all, if an idea nags you this much and stays with you for years, then you owe it! You need to see it through and so that's what I did. I wrote a couple of grants for it and was super happy when I learnt that I had won the EUR Fellowship that would give me two years of funding to just write this book! What a rare luxury in academia. So I guess persistence pays :) 

 It has been tremendous fun working on this as it has taken me to such different disciplines and scarily, made me an expert on every possible type of park you can think of :) It took me to the field of architecture, urban planning, cultural geography and law. What a trip!

So yes, this book is definitely interdisciplinary. People love to encourage it. The challenge though about pursuing this track is that often you get punished for it. You have no one home that you can be truly loyal to and somehow academia demands loyalty; academia is all about territoriality. And not to forget that you are encroaching on fields and pastures that you are unfamiliar with and then demanding  from yourself something thoughtful and reflective of that field. That was by far the hardest part of this book but also the most rewarding!

So when it came to reviewers for the book, of course I chose diverse disciplines as I could not commit to one- it just would not reflect the efforts of this book: top scholars  such as Saskia Sassen (sociologist), Paul Adams (geographer), Arjun Appadurai (anthropologist), and Zizi Papacharissi (media scholar) volunteered to review this book. I have to admit, it was nerve-wrecking but am so happy that when the reviews came out, they were positive! So perhaps interdisciplinary work can work sometimes :-) 

Here are the Reviews! 
"Arora offers us another invitation, which is a refreshing departure from the breathlessness of many studies of the new technologies, and that is the chance to slow down, to pause, to contemplate our surroundings, to smell a possibly political rose. That she finds this potential in the very heart of digitality is one of the many surprises of this thoughtful and wide-ranging book." - From the Foreword by Arjun Appadurai,Paulette Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New YorkUniversity

"This is a brilliant navigation of worlds that are not usually brought in conversation: digital space and thick situated struggles engaged in claim-making in the urban sphere. Payal Arora has deep knowledge and experience of both these worlds. Out of this encounter comes a concept the author deploys in diverse ways to mark digital space: the leisure commons." - Saskia Sassen, Columbia University and author ofExpulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy

"In this engaging volume, Arora applies the rich metaphor of the public park to explicate the many ways in which net-based technologies facilitate, but also converge activities of a social, political, cultural and economic nature. Technology as architecture invites, amplifies, but also conceals or discourages. It disrupts and it sustains our daily endeavors into sociality, work, play and fantasy. Arora uses the metaphor of public parks to tell the story of how digital media support us through our daily lives. Through lively writing and layers of intriguing analogies, she compels the reader to think with her, as she explores what technology does to space. Arora lays out an intriguing vision of online environments as technology supported meta-parks that facilitate not just limitless connection, but, better living." - Zizi Papacharissi, Professor and Head of Communications,University of Illinois at Chicago


"Payal Arora offers the insight that social media are the latest chapter in a long history of spaces including city parks, walled gardens, office parks, fantasy theme parks and other semi-public, leisure-oriented environments. By framing new technological trends in terms of a 'leisure commons,' her work fills a gap that remained between the spatial metaphors that have proven helpful to make sense of new technologies, and a nuanced realization of how thoroughly leisure practices have permeated daily life." - Paul C. Adams, Associate Professor of Geography andDirector of Urban Studies, University of Texas at Austin