[iDC] The California Ideology Redux

Bruce Sterling bruces at well.com
Mon Aug 6 02:06:28 UTC 2007

From: Julian Bleecker  (julian at techkwondo.com)
Subject: Convergence: Special Issue on Digital Cultures of California
Date: July 13, 2007 10:58:54 AM PDT

Colleagues and Friends,

I am editing an upcoming special issue of Convergence: The  
International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. If you  
would, please  consider contributing. Inquiries or questions can be  
directed to me.

We are particularly interested in articles that have a practice-based  
approach to their topic, or are explications of digital culture as  
seen through new kinds of interaction rituals brought to us courtesy  
of California's peculiar ways of making and circulating culture.

Thanks. Hope to hear from you.

Julian Bleecker

Julian Bleecker, Ph.D.
julian at techkwondo.com

Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media  

Call for Papers – Special Issue on ‘Digital Cultures of California
Vol 15 no 1. February 2009

Guest editor:
Julian Bleecker (julian [at] techkwondo [dot] com and bleeckerj [at]  
gmail [dot] com)
(Near Future Laboratory and University of Southern California)

The deadline for submission of research articles is 1 February 2008.

This call invites submissions for a special issue related to digital  
cultures of California. Internationally, California is a phenomenon  
in terms of its relationship to creating, consuming and analyzing the  
era of digital technologies. From the legendary garage entrepreneurs,  
to the multi-billion dollar culture of venture capital, to stock back- 
dating scandals, to the epic exodus of California’s IT support staff  
during the Burning Man festival, this territory plays an important  
role in the political, cultural and economic underpinnings of  
digitally and network-mediated lives on a global scale.

The Bay Area of California (often referred to somewhat incorrectly as  
Northern California) is perceived as a hot-bed of technology  
activity. Nearby Silicon Valley serves as a marker for the massive  
funding of enterprises that shape many aspects of digital culture.  
The new interaction rituals that have come to define what social life  
has become in many parts of the world can often be traced back to  
this part of California. New, popular and curious forms of presence  
awareness and digital communication such as Twitter and Flickr have  
found a comfortable home here. Lifestyles of the Northern California  
digerati have enveloped the cultural milieu, often changing the  
social landscape to such a degree that it become unrecognizable and  
unpalatable to those less engaged in creating and consuming digital  
cultures. Complimenting the Bay Area’s technology production  
activities is Southern California – the greater Los Angeles basin in  
particular – where Hollywood sensibilities bring together  
entertainment with technology through such things as video games,  
mobile content distribution, digital video and 3D cinema.

California is also the home of several colleges and universities  
where digital technologies are developed in engineering departments  
and reflected upon from social science and humanities departments.  
This curious relationship between production and analysis creates the  
promise of insightful interdisciplinary approaches to making new  
kinds of digital networked cultures. Many institutions have made  
efforts to combine engineering and social science practices to  
bolster technology design. Xerox PARC probably stands as the  
canonical example of interdisciplinary approaches to digital  
technology design. Similarly, combining arts practices with  
technology as a kind of exploratory research and development has  
important precedent at places like Intel Berkeley Labs and PARC and  
at the practice-based events such as the San Jose California-based  
Zero One festival.

In this special issue we welcome submissions which investigate,  
provoke and explicate the California digital cultures from a variety  
of perspectives. We are interested in papers that approach this  
phenomenon in scholarly and, particularly, approaches that emphasize  
practice-based analysis and knowledge production.

* What are the ways that social networks have been shaped by digital  

* How has the phenomenon of the digital entrepreneur evolved in the  
age of DIY sensibilities?

* What are the ways that ‘new ideas’ succeed or fail based on their  
dissemination amongst the elite, connected digerati, as opposed to  
their dissemination amongst less more quotidian communities?

* What is the nature of the matrix of relationships between Hollywood  
entertainment, the military, industry and digital technology?

* Can the DIY culture explored in the pages of Make magazine produce  
its own markets?

* How does the Apple Inc. culture of product design and development  
shape and inform popular culture?

* How have the various interdisciplinary approaches undertaken at  
corporate research centers connected to universities such as Intel  
Berkeley Labs shaped digital cultures?

* What does ‘Silicon Valley’ mean in other geographies? How has the  
model of associations between innovation, research and funding been  
transplanted elsewhere and to what measures of success?

The deadline for submission of research articles is 1 February 2008.

Submissions/proposals for papers should be directed to the guest  
editor. The special issue will be published (by SAGE) in February  
2009.  For full details of house style and submission format, please  
consult www.beds.ac.uk/Convergence

(For all other submissions/inquiries, please contact  
convergence at beds.ac.uk)

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