Looking for Contributors: “Imagining Social Justice Online” at IR16 (Phoenix)
A handful of us AoIR folks are working on submitting a series of social justice-related sessions for IR16, including a panel of papers centering on the idea of “Imagining Social Justice Online.” We’ve put together a brief “call” for proposals, included below. If you’re interested in submitting something – or working with us in general! – please let me know.
From scholarly discussions to mainstream publications, there is a growing understanding that theoretical, largely academic conceptions of social justice are in many ways disconnected from the people, practices, and projects actively pursuing justice today. At the same time, concepts with rich theoretical histories have emerged as key terms and battleground ideas for discussions of social justice online—including, for example, renewed discussions of feminism, social and economic class, intersectionality, and familiar liberal ideals of liberty and equality.
Resisting a simple scholarly versus non-scholarly dichotomy, this panel seeks to critically engage the relationship between theory and practice both within and across different online contexts and activities. It is intended as both an exploration and complication of the apparent “detachment” (as Charles Mills has put it) between social justice as a target of scholarly inquiry and the real concerns of social justice movements.
While proposals may be grounded in particular research projects, they should also—in some more or less broad way—speak to meta-level issues and critical reflection on the role of theory for practice, either as limited in particular ways or as opening up new possibilities for envisioning social justice (or neither or both). Such reflections might touch on (but are not limited to) the following:
How might theoretical or philosophical investigations open up new or fruitful terrain for thinking about social justice with regard to online platforms, communities, or practices?
How do broader online conversations or movements—for example, those oriented around #BlackLivesMatter, #YesAllWomen, or GamerGate—challenge or force us to revise our understanding of values relevant to social justice, like fairness or equality?
How might established or emergent sociotechnical practices open up new concerns over social justice, like algorithmic insensitivity, “Big Data” and privacy concerns, or filter bubbles? What role might different theoretical perspectives play in helping to make sense of these practices from a social justice perspective
Broadly, what are some implications of a detachment of theory from practice (and vice versa) for both conceiving of and pursuing justice, online and off?
It should be noted that while this panel is articulated in a way that is familiar to those of us embedded in an academic or research-intensive context, any conversation about social justice issues online is incomplete without the inclusion of a wider range of voices, from activists to organizers to advocates. To that end, we intend this panel as one part of a larger series of sessions engaging social justice issues and the Internet, some of which propose the inclusion of non-academics. It is our position that more conversations—within and across various contexts—are better than fewer when confronting pressing issues of discrimination, bias, fairness, and equality.
We’re hoping to put together 3-5 papers (papers are subject to the extended abstract style – 1200 word maximum including references – as stipulated by the submission guidelines) to submit by the March 1 deadline. If you want to contribute in some way or if you’re interested in submitting something for this panel, please contact me!
16 Feb 2015 / Anna Lauren