Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
Session
RN18_01b: Online disconnection, Resistance and Refusal in the Post-digital Age
Time:
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Tatiana Mazali, Politecnico di Torino
Location: UP.4.210
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road

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Presentations

Cool Refusal: Rejecting Digital Technology in Late Capitalism

Magdalena Kania-Lundholm

Uppsala University, Sweden

This paper explores the notions of online disconnection and media refusal in the context of cool capitalism (McGuigan, 2009) which constitutes the front region of neoliberal culture. It argues that the transition from the organized capitalism to the global neoliberal capitalism can be understood in terms of the changing role between technology and society and shifting relationship between humans and technology. In this context, technology receives an important status framed by the techno-rational and techno-deterministic discourse supporting an understanding of technology not only as beneficial, but also inevitable and desired. This paper aims to contribute to the body of research that makes an attempt to understand online disconnection and media refusal as an inherent element of media (dis)engagement in the digital age. It proposes the notion of the logic of cool refusal which is incorporated in the capitalist modus operandi. The logic encompasses three main aspects, including lifestyle choices, workplace strategies and consumption patterns. I argue that in a similar manner as the notion of cool became incorporated into everyday life and capitalist mainstream, also cool refusal is an ideology not necessarily about resistance, but rather one which defines culturally and historically specific moment of individual coping in the era of hyperconnectivity.



Digital Is Not A Technology! Exploring Digital Resistance And Meaningful Technological Encounters In The Post-Digital Society

Claes Thorén

Uppsala university, Sweden

Recent years have witnessed an intense “analog vs. digital”, and digital technology refusal debate among electronic musicians, with analog enthusiasts dismissing digital technology and software simulations as lifeless, fake and cold, instead preferring the characteristically organic and authentic sound of analogue synthesizers. The trenches seemed firmly dug by 2015: analog synthesizers are serious business; software synthesizers are for impatient utilitarians. In October of 2017, renowned musical synthesizer manufacturer Roland launched a hardware recreation of their 1987 instrument “Roland D-50”, using the headline “Vintage Digital” and describing it as “unabashedly digital” (Roland, 2017) The very idea of a “vintage” or “unique” digital technology is controversial; and alludes to distinctions made between old and new digital, much like the already established vintage and neo-analogue terminologies. This paper problematizes the relevance of analog and digital as significant concepts by exploring the idea of a revived, reconfigured or even historic “digital” by asking: What are the material and expressive negotiations that underpin what constitutes meaningful analogue and digital experiences?

Drawing on a perspective of post-digital aesthetics (eg. Berry, 2015; Cramer, 2015), and Manuel DeLanda’s (2016) concept of assemblage, this paper presents a qualitative case study of terminology use with findings from empirical data collected from a prominent online discussion forum to elucidate how the terms digital and analogue are evolving. Results indicate that the meanings of the terms “digital” and “analogue” are shifting from having been primarily grounded in technology and materiality to having become the expression of an aesthetic, giving new meaning to the word "digitization".



All Online, All Differently? Digital and Print Media Activity among Older Internet Users in Finland

Sakari Taipale, Sanna Kuoppamäki, Joonas Karhinen

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Older people are increasingly engaged with digital media technology, but as media users they constitute a highly heterogeneous group. Their media use is influenced by multiple factors such as ageing, changes in health status, life stage transitions, availability of social and technical support, and personal motivation. In this presentation, we study the differences and similarities in digital and print media activity among younger (ages 61 to 74) and older (ages 75 to 91) internet users in Finland. We present preliminary findings from the ACT cross-national longitudinal data ‘Older audiences in digital media environment’ collected among internet users aged 62 to 91 in Finland (N=1520) in later 2018 (other countries included: Austria, Canada, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands, Romania, and Spain). Findings suggest that in Finland internet users aged 75 to 91 spend more time on reading printed newspapers, magazines and books and, conversely, use less frequently a TV with internet access and Wi-Fi radio than those aged 61 to 74. This younger age group uses mobile technology for almost all media, communication and entertainment activities more frequently than 75 to 91 year-olds. The age differences are most pronounced in mobile-based activities with an audio or video content, such as sending videos or images, watching TVs or videos or using phone as a music player. Moreover, we found that the time spent on using the internet for getting news is the highest among the oldest respondents, which may reflect their greater generational attachment to news contents. Lastly, we provide insights into cultural and geographical differences that explain digital and print media activity among older people.



Media, Truth and Expertise in a Changing Europe: Lessons from Central Europe’s “Disinformationists”

Zoltan Dujisin

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands, The

This paper touches upon two timely issues: the decline of traditional media and discussions on post-truth as part of an increasingly visible collision between Russia and the West. Using in-depth interviews with journalists, scholars and experts in Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia, I examine the crisis of Europe and the media through the lenses of the “Russian disinformation” challenge.

My research reassesses how journalistic identities, understood as journalistic constructions of truth and expertise, are shaped by their embedding in distinct networks of Russia expertise. It thus puts forth a networked, interprofessional and transnational understanding of journalistic practices. I reveal the emergence of a new class of highly-networked experts called “disinformationists”, a coalition of journalists, think tank experts, scholars and state officials that share a commitment to countering Russian influence in the EU and have successfully gained a footing in its public sphere and policy making. Most prominently, disinformationists have been pivotal in establishing the Russian disinformation news-beat in Central Europe, as well as in setting up the EUvsDisinfo initiative, run by the European External Action Service East Stratcom Task Force. There are however limits to their successes. The legitimation of the “Russian disinformation” theme in the media coexists with resistance form state and EU officials, as well as with skepticism from leading Russia scholars who question the empirical soundness of disinformation studies. I argue that the above tensions can activate journalistic identities in ways that allow us to explore how news practitioners grapple with their own conceptions of truth and expertise in a changing Europe.



 
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