With Mark Graham and Jim Thatcher, I’m convening four sessions at the annual conference of the Association of American Geographers, which will be held in Boston, 5-9 April 2017. The tile of the sessions is digital \\ human \\ labour, and here is the call for papers (with thanks to Mark for the gifs):
The proposed Digital Geographies Working Group of the RGS/IBG and the proposed Digital Geographies Specialty Group of the AAG would like to invite submissions to a series of paper sessions and panels for the 2017 meeting of the American Association of Geographers in Boston, MA. Reflecting the shared interests of these groups, and their mutual desire to facilitate conversations between a wide range of geographical scholarship, this call is for papers exploring specifically the various intersections of ‘digital’, ‘human’ and ‘labour’.
We will also convene a concluding panel session, and encourage interested participants to submit abstracts for any of these three paper sessions:
1 the human labour of digital work
Discussant: Mark Graham
The spread of the internet to three and a half billion people around the world has significant implications for the human labour. It is now relatively straightforward to outsource business processes to anyone, anywhere, that has a digital connection. This session aims to bring together scholarship that explores the human labour of this digital work. Who carries it out? How does it affect the livelihoods of workers? What sorts of political and organisational governance regimes bring it into being? And what are the ethical, spatial, social, and economic implications of a world in which human labour is increasing disembedded into digital networks.
2 the digital labour of being human
Discussant: Gillian Rose
Digital technologies are now embedded in many aspects of everyday life in many places, mediating everyday experiences of embodiment, mobility, and communication. It is clear that many of these mediations are reproducing existing ways and forms of ‘being human’, but it is also clear that new forms of (post)humanities are emerging, co-produced with, for example, VR headsets, big data, and social media platforms. This session aims to bring together scholarship that addresses these monadic emergences. What new forms of distributed agency, performative gestures and navigational orientations could and should be mapped, and in what ways? What are their temporalities and spatialities, and what geometries of power and difference do they enact?
3 the algorithmic labour of being
Discussant: Jim Thatcher
Alongside the rise in access to internet technologies and their everyday usage, has come an entwined rise in the analysis and manipulation of digital information through algorithms. Just as new technologies introduce interfaces, mediations, and affordances to (re)produce representations of self, so too do the algorithms which sort, select, and present information constrain what can be done and known through the use of said devices. Similarly, even as the very real geography of the labor of digital work shifts and extends across the globe, algorithms increasingly insert themselves betwixt and between laborers, customers, and corporate interests, altering traditional employment relations through the mediation of technology. Building from the themes of the previous two sessions, this session aims to bring together research on the many ways in which algorithms and quantification function in the world. Questions of interest include, but are not limited to: What sorts of new spatial relations are possible through the algorithmic mediation of labor relations? Where is the work of algorithms done? What are the historical roots of this process? What new forms of knowledge and power have been enabled (and constrained) by these systems?
For consideration of inclusion, please submit abstract to Jim Thatcher (firstname.lastname@example.org) by October 15th, 2016. Please format your abstract in a text file of no more than 250 words, including a title, your name, institutional affiliation and email address in the document.
If you have any additional questions, please contact Jim Thatcher (email@example.com), Mark Graham (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Gillian Rose (email@example.com).