[iDC] introductions

niels van doorn nielsvandoorn at gmail.com
Wed Jun 11 17:39:25 UTC 2014

Hi everyone,

I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and my research:

My name is Niels van Doorn and I'm an Assistant Professor in New Media &
Digital Culture at the University of Amsterdam (Department of Media
Studies). My PhD dissertation (completed in 2009 at the Amsterdam School of
Communication Research- ASCoR) focused on the digital mediation of gender,
sexuality, and embodiment, as well as the unstable relationship between the
intimate and public forms of sociality produced through these mediations.
After obtaining my PhD I received a grant from the Netherlands Organisation
for Scientific Research (NWO), which enabled me to conduct a two-year
postdoctoral research project at Johns Hopkins University, where I worked
in the Department of Political Science.

This project (which ran from August 2010 until September 2012) followed up
on some of the themes of my dissertation – such as the articulation of
nonheteronormative gender and sexuality, and the affective networks that
develop around these practices – while also expanding their scope beyond
the realm of digital media and introducing a new problematic: the complex
relationship between intimacy and citizenship. One of the goals was to
rethink citizenship *through intimacy* as a ‘practice of composition’; a
collective process of constructing a common world through intimate
relationships between people (queers, people of color, the poor) who have
been largely abandoned by conventional institutions of citizenship and
public life.  Through an ethnography of various collectives that make up
Baltimore’s LGBT community, I attended to the ways in which their intimate
practices and performances create an opening for reimagining a better, more
joyful civic life based on alternative conceptions of kinship, propriety,
and solidarity. I am currently in the process of finishing a monograph
based on this research project.

At the same time, I am also starting up a new research project, this time
on the intimate economies of contemporary digital culture. Since I started
my current position, in September 2012, I have become increasingly
fascinated by the multiple ways in which monetary/financial and moral
economies converge in the notion of value - particularly as it is being
continually questioned, shored up, and reassembled through networked
digital devices. How is value constructed online and how do the new
measures that proliferate on the web inform how we take stock of our
self-worth and the worth of others? How are economic rationales (such as
those informed by financialization of employability) permeating the
intimate connections we establish and cultivate daily? Conversely, how can
articulations of intimacy be translated into popular measures for
(e)valuating companies and/or judging the value of their 'intangible

I the paper I will be presenting in New York is a first attempt to find
answers to some of these questions, in this case focusing on what happens
to (free) labor in our so-called information economy, where Marx's labor
theory of value seems to have been rendered obsolete and relegated to the
Trash folder of our laptops and iPads. Yet we continue to work, even if it
often doesn't feel like work - let alone 'labor'. I propose that we take a
closer look at how particular web devices (in this case Klout) produce what
a call a "neoliberal subject of value", in order to get some grip on the
radical reorganization of labor, value, and subjectivity accomplished by
neoliberal reason and its theory of human capital.

I look forward to meeting you in November!


On Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 1:15 PM, Mark Graham <mark.graham at oii.ox.ac.uk>

> Hi everyone,
> I’d like to introduce myself (Mark Graham) and three of my colleagues
> (Isis Hjorth, Helena Barnard, and Vili Lehdonvirta).
> Dr Isis Hjorth <http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/?id=169> is a cultural
> sociologist focusing on emerging practices associated with networked
> technologies. In her PhD thesis - “Networked Cultural Production:
> Filmmaking in the Wreckamovie Community" (Hjorth, 2014) - Isis examined the
> conventions guiding the division of digital labour in crowdsourced films,
> and developed a typology of labour orientations. She is now engaged with
> research on paid crowdsourcing and online work in low-income countries,
> working as as one of four researchers on the project "Microwork and Virtual
> Production Networks in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia”.
> Since obtaining her PhD in Management from Rutgers University, Prof Helena
> Barnard
> <http://www.gibs.co.za/faculty-and-research/faculty-and-research_1/faculty/dr-helena-barnard-.aspx>
> has been working at GIBS, University of Pretoria, in South Africa. Her
> research interests are in how knowledge (and with it technology,
> organisational practices and innovation) moves from more to less developed
> countries. She focuses both on organisational mechanisms (notably emerging
> multinationals) and individual mechanisms, especially the diaspora and
> scientific collaborations. The digital world is transforming how
> cross-national contact at both the organisational and individual levels
> takes place, and she is increasingly investigating how digitally-enabled
> processes and labour change engagement between high, middle and low income
> countries.
> Dr *Vili Lehdonvirta* <http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/?id=320> is an
> economic sociologist and Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute.
> His research focuses on the social, technical, and institutional
> underpinnings of digitally mediated markets, especially markets for online
> games, virtual currencies, and digital labour, and also on the social
> consequences of these markets. His book, *Virtual Economies: Design and
> Analysis* <http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/virtual-economies> (with Edward
> Castronova) has just been published by MIT Press. His earlier publications
> include a report on the *market for microwork and game labour*
> <http://www.infodev.org/infodev-files/resource/InfodevDocuments_1056.pdf> and
> a qualitative study of *microworkers' occupational identity*
> <http://dynamicsofvirtualwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/COST-Action-IS1202-Working-Paper-12.pdf>.
> In terms of research approach, Lehdonvirta likes to mix observation and
> interviews with quantitative analyses of survey and log data.
> I'm <http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/?id=165> an Associate Professor at
> the Oxford Internet Institute and a geographer whose work is broadly trying
> to understand the difference that connectivity makes at the world’s
> economic margins. I have previously studied topics like the geographies of
> voice, participation, and representation on Wikipedia (e.g. in *this
> paper*
> <http://www.zerogeography.net/2014/01/uneven-geographies-of-user-generated.html>),
> the *role of changing connectivity*
> <http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/research/projects/?id=59> in the BPO sectors of
> Kenya and Rwanda, and the *broader geographies of digital and augmented
> content* <http://geography.oii.ox.ac.uk/?page=home> (here is a *link to a
> recent BBC talk* <http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0435j93> I gave on the
> topic). At the moment, I’m working on two broad projects. First, a three
> year project on “*microwork and virtual production networks*
> <http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/research/projects/?id=119>” (this is what we’ll
> be speaking about in the New York conference). Second, a *five-year
> project on ‘knowledge economies’ in Sub-Saharan Africa.*
> <http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/research/projects/?id=120> Here we plan to look
> at both micro tasks like call centres and microwork and rise of the
> quaternary sector as it is manifested through activities like
> web-development and mediated through institutions like ’innovation hubs.’
> The ultimate point of all of this work is to better understand who benefits
> and who doesn’t from changing affordances and practices of
> digitally-mediated connectivity.
> Looking forward to continuing in New York.
> Mark (and Isis, Helena, and Vili)
> ------------------------------------------
> Dr Mark Graham
> Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow
> Oxford Internet Institute
> University of Oxford
> Research Fellow
> Green Templeton College
> University of Oxford
> Visiting Research Associate
> School of Geography and the Environment
> University of Oxford
> oii.ox.ac.uk/people/graham <http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/graham> |
> geospace.co.uk <http://www.geospace.co.uk> | Information Geographies
> <http://geography.oii.ox.ac.uk> | wikichains.org
> <http://www.wikichains.org> | @geoplace <http://twitter.com/geoplace> | zerogeography
> blog <http://www.zerogeography.net/>
>  <http://twitter.com/geoplace>
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