Mobile Digital Practices: Situating People, Things and Data
Edited by: Anna Lisa Ramella, Asko Lehmuskallio, Tristan Thielmann and Pablo Abend
The fifth issue of Digital Culture & Society will address
particular, situated forms of movement of people, things and data
through the lens of practices. Practice-based approaches have
concomitantly become pivotal for describing how people, things and data
are interrelated in what can be called digital practices. While
discussions surrounding the “practice turn” (Schatzki et al. 2006) in
social theory have found their way into other disciplines including
media studies, it has yet to be clearly identified how practices can be
deciphered in terms of scale and order (Swidler 2010) and how the
specifics of digital practices can be best spelled out (Couldry 2012). A
number of scholars in media and anthropology have worked towards
describing the various settings of “what people do with media” (Couldry
2004) in terms of media practices (Bräuchler/Postill 2010). Almost
simultaneously, a mobilities turn has been identified, framing subjects
of the social sciences through the lens of movement and networks
(Sheller/Urry 2006). We aim to apply these approaches to a mobile
digital realm; hence, we invite to discuss how particularly digital
practices can be described, framed and researched and how they produce
and are produced by the mobility of people, data and devices (Morley
We invite theoretical and/or empirical contributions discussing digital
practices and the relationship of humans, things and data from a
situated perspective: whether as phenomena to be studied in and of
themselves, or as part of innovative research designs. Disciplinary
approaches may be rooted in (digital) media and cultural studies, media
or digital anthropology, among other social sciences. Interdisciplinary
contributions, such as those from science and technology studies or the
digital humanities, are particularly encouraged.
Paper proposals may relate to, but are not limited to, the following
questions concerning mobile digital practices. When submitting an
abstract, authors should make explicit to which of the following
categories they would like to submit their paper:
Field Research and Case Studies (full paper: max. 8.000 wordsWe invite
articles that discuss empirical findings from studies that approach the
relationships between humans and data. These may include practices of
circulating or collecting data as well processes of production and
evaluation. Studies may also trace the flow of data by paying attention
to the practices involved, or follow the practices to gain insight into
the movement of data.
Methodological Reflection (full paper: max. 8.000 words)
We invite contributions that reflect on the methodologies employed when
researching mobile digital practices. These may include, for example,
the specificities of ethnographic fieldwork in online/offline
environments; challenges and opportunities faced when qualitatively
researching quantifiable data and vice versa; approaches using mixed
methods; discussions of mobile and circulative methods; and reflections
of experimental forms of research.
Conceptual/Theoretical Reflection (full paper: max. 8.000 words)We
encourage contributions that reflect on the conceptual and/or
theoretical dimension of mobile digital practices, and discuss or
question how the digital can be defined, what it can describe, and how
it can be differentiated. We also invite articles that interrogate terms
such as digital or practice and call for alternatives in the
conceptualization of data and “what people do” with it.
Entering the Field (2.000-3.000 words; experimental formats welcome)
This experimental section presents initial and ongoing empirical work in
digital media studies. The editors have created this section to provide
a platform for researchers who would like to initiate a discussion
concerning their emerging (yet perhaps incomplete) research material and
plans as well as methodological insights.
Deadlines and contact information
Expressions of interest/Initial abstracts (max. 300 words) and short biographical note (max. 100 words) are due on: Feb 19, 2017.
Authors will be notified by Feb 26, 2017, whether they are invited to submit a full paper.
Full papers are due on: May 1, 2017.
Notifications to authors of referee decisions: July 1, 2017
Final versions due: August 1, 2017
Please send your abstract and short biographical note to Anna Lisa Ramella: ramella[at]locatingmedia.uni-siegen.de <http://locatingmedia.uni-siegen.de/>.