Saturday, June 19, 2004

Space and cultural geography

Surveillance & Society - Call for Papers

Issue 2(3): People Watching People

Deadline for submissions: July 31st 2004

The Editors are calling for papers on the theme of 'People Watching People.' This theme is intended to bring back to the centre of discussion the specifically human aspects of surveillance, a subject that is too often centred around discussion of technological development. Contributions are therefore welcomed on all aspects of surveillance centred around the 'human'.

We particularly welcome work that reflects on everyday experience, and encourage contributions that move beyond conventional Foucauldian theoretical perspectives. As usual, in addition to top quality academic work, we strongly encourage non-academic forms of submission including fiction, poetry, photography, film and video, and multimedia.

I dig the journal that supports passionate thinking beyond Foucault. To make a gross overstatement: I find most discussions on surveillance and privacy really boring. And lacking critical, cross-cultural and historical perspective. The S&S journal was created as part of the Urban Technology Design and Development research group at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, which is where Steve Graham and journal editor, David Wood are. They presented Permeable Boundaries and the Software-Sorted Society (.doc) at Lancaster's Centre for Mobilities Research Alternative Mobility Futures Conference in January - making an interesting case for the "tendency towards technological lock-in which threatens to divide contemporary societies into high-speed, high-mobility, connected and low-speed, low-mobility, disconnected, classes." I think their ideas can be pushed further, but I'm convinced that Telecommunications and the City and Splintering Urbanisms are way stronger than City of Bits and Me++. And the Cybercities Reader is the best introduction to the topic of cities and technologies I can think of. See also General Cybercity Web Links.

(Actually, more than once I've wondered how MIT's impressive PR efforts have contributed to the seemingly greater familiarity among designers and technologists with the work of certain architects and urban planners than with, say, cultural geographers. Perhaps it also has something to do with historical divisions between the practices of craft and intellectual inquiry. I still struggle to articulate how I understand the popularity of systems-thinking (reductionist and holistic), but I keep pushing its history back: before cybernetics to industrialisation.)

I also think of Rob Kitchin, co-author (with Martin Dodge) of Mapping Cyberspace and The Atlas of Cyberspace. If you're more interested in spatial cognition, then The Cognition of Geographic Space and Cognitive Mapping: Past, Present and Future are good ones. And I really enjoyed some of the papers in Lost in Space: Geographies of Science Fiction.

(Every once in awhile I realise how much I have read in eleven years of university. It's absurd really.)

Reminder to self: post annotated bibliographies on mobilities research (ontological mobility, mobile ontologies, cultural mobilities, object mobilities)


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