Call for Papers: ‘The Politics of Digital Technology’
Panel Proposal for the International Studies Association 57th Annual Conference, Atlanta Georgia, 16-19 March 2016
Convenors: Linda Monsees and David Chandler
The importance of technology, especially digital technologies, for world politics has increasingly caught the attention of IR-scholars. The so-called digital revolution asks us to rethink the role of technology in our current times and to consider how its specific characteristics might challenge traditional political ontologies. It is now widely acknowledged that technology is more than a residual category for theorizing world politics but in the centre of ongoing transformations. These transformations can be observed in real-world political debates and policy-making (Wikileaks and data gathering, the rule of the algorithm, digital humanitarianism, Big Data and the Internet of Things) and also in a growing theoretical interest in science and technology studies (STS) and the ‘material-turn’.
Contributing to this debate, this panel seeks to rethink the possibilities for theorizing the relationship between technology and politics. The current challenge lies in meaningfully conceptualizing technology and its relation to politics in a way that does not reduce technology to just another variable determining the outcome of policies. However, assuming that all technology is always already political might hinder us from understanding the specific linkages between technology and politics or the distinct characteristics enabling technology to be political. Insights from science and technology studies might help to engage with the social role of technology, but the question of how technology is political remains open. Adapting STS to political science might need additional tools for thoroughly engaging with the political aspects of technology. That is why we would like to bring scholars together who work from different theoretical perspectives and use a variety of approaches.
We welcome contributions that ask how we can grasp the distinct characteristics of the relationship between politics and technology. Theoretical and/or empirical contributions that aim at understanding the above outlined questions are welcomed. Possible contributions might ask about the politics of certain technologies, the specificities of digital technologies or how technologies might challenge traditional categories of International Relations.
Please send proposals with a title (limited to 50 words) and an abstract (limited to 200 words), three tags, and at least one author to Linda Monsees (email@example.com) and David Chandler (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15 May 2015.