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Call for Proposals: Everyday Relationships With Digital Material

Call for Proposals

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Sharing and Storing: Everyday relationships with digital material
Special Issue of New Media & Society

Edited by: 

  • Heather Horst (University of Sydney)
  • Jolynna Sinanan (RMIT University)
  • Larissa Hjorth (RMIT University)

Abstract submission deadline: 15 November 2017
Deadline extended to 25 November 2017
Proposal selection notification: 10 December 2017
Initial article submission deadline: 01 March 2018
Contact email: sharingandstoring@gmail.com

Technologies and technological infrastructures are often associated with social and economic change. Aeroplanes and the shipping containers became mechanisms for the spread of globalisation, reshaping the production processes and the trade and consumption of goods from around the globe. Undersea cables and mobile phone towers are often associated with providing the infrastructure of the digital age, enabling the flow of information, communication, media, technology, commerce and other goods to move at a greater speed than experienced in previous eras.  These possibilities continue to expand with the introduction of solid state drives, bluetooth capabilities, smartphones, ‘the cloud’, and social media platforms that have fundamentally altered the practices of storing, sharing, and circulating digital materials.

Yet, the increasing capabilities for sharing and storing also have consequences for the ways in which we engage with and/or manage our digital data on a day-to-day basis.  Research on digital materials in the home highlight how families and households now grapple with an increasing number of digital photographs, videos and other digital materials that are often stored on a range of outdated or defunct devices, formats and platforms. Memory size in domestic technologies has increased, but so have the number and size of files that host many of the mundane digital materials. These constraints prompt decisions about what digital material should remain, what can be deleted and where certain digital materials should be stored. Such decisions become even more difficult with the increasing infiltration of work into the domestic sphere, syncing and other forms of automation and the increasing number of channels through which digital materials can circulate. For many people the separation of digital materials that move between different domains has become more challenging (and messier) than ever.

This special issue examines our everyday relationships with digital materials and the various platforms, devices, spaces, and formats through which they are stored and shared. We ask contributors to this special issue to consider: How do people manage the proliferation of digital material in their everyday lives? What strategies and rituals do they develop to organise, curate or delete digital materials? How are existing cultural practices of sharing and storing in other domains shaping these strategies? What are the broader infrastructures, platforms, programs and devices that are enabling, hindering, or changing people’s ability to navigate the ways they store and share digital materials?

Papers in this special issue will explore the everyday ways we manage living in a world of digital data and may include the following topics:

  • Data transfer practices (e.g., moving digital materials from old to new devices)
  • Manual vs automatic syncing of digital materials  
  • Temporalities of digital materials (e.g, long-term storage vs transient data storage, changes of storing and sharing practices in relation to life stage)
  • Routines and practices (e.g., organising, cleaning or curating digital materials)
  • Non-sharing
  • Emergent categories of and distinctions between digital materials
  • Historical comparisons of sharing and storing of non-digital and digital materials
  • Specific studies of sharing or storing on or across specific platforms (e.g., WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Dropbox, iCloud, c-Share, Google Drive, etc.)

Please note that the guest editors’ welcome submissions on a wide variety of theoretical and/or empirical contributions to the study of digital material beyond the suggestions identified.


Proposals should include the author’s name and affiliation, title, an abstract of 250–300 words, and 3 to 5 keywords, and should be sent to the email address no later than 15 November 2017: sharingandstoring@gmail.com  (Note: Deadline extended to 25 November 2017). Invited paper submissions will be due 01 March 2018 and will be submitted directly to the submission site for New Media and Societywhere they will undergo peer review following the usual procedures of New Media & Society. Approximately 10–12 papers will be sent out for full review. All other papers will be returned to their authors for submission elsewhere.  Therefore, the invitation to submit a full article does not guarantee acceptance into the special issue. The special issue will be published in 2019. 


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