[artinfo] (fwd) Call for Papers: The Ethics of Waste in the
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Call for Papers
Network Ecologies: The Ethics of Waste in the Information Society
Call for Papers for Vol. 11 (02/2009)
by Soenke Zehle, Matthias Feilhauer
Deadline for extended abstracts: May 1, 2009
Notification of acceptance to authors: May 15, 2009
Deadline for full articles: July 15, 2009
Deadline for revised articles: August 15, 2009
Publication: August 2009
The (emergent) transnational network of organizing around
environmental and social justice issues in the global networks of
electronics production is arguably the most vital area of 'network
culture' when it comes to broader ecopolitical concerns. Given the
fetishization of dematerialization-through-technology of an earlier
generation of cyberlibertarian theorizing, we consider these efforts
to have significance beyond the already broad array of issues related
to the toxicity of computers and its implications to workers, users,
and the environment.
The contemporary environmental justice movement has already (and
successfully) criticized conceptual frameworks that consider
environmentalism a post-materialist luxury rather than a matter of
survival, and made visible the 'coloniality' of a wilderness
tradition that had underwritten territorial expansion across the US
and in other parts of the world. Yet while its organizational dynamic
already incolves questions of historial and political epistemology,
few people look to ecopolitics as a vehicle to advance broader causes
of (cultural, economic, political, social) justice. Which is why,
for this issue of IRIE, we would like to invite suggestions on how
our new (and old) networking machines might become the pragmata of a
new ecopolitics, true ?matters of concern? (Bruno Latour) of
With this issue, IRIE, dedicated to the development of information
ethics as reflexive practice and conceptual horizon, aims to engage
the broad range of materialities involved in acts and processes of
communication, information, and knowledge production. This includes,
but is not limited to, the very instruments we employ, use, and
discard in ever-shorter cycles of consumption, outpacing our efforts
to develop appropriate mechanisms of disposal and recycling : from
old television sets to lcd and plasma displays, from old disk drives
to flash cards and rfid chips. Used locally, but designed, produced,
and discarded across the world, the usage of these instruments ?
things - raises a host of questions whose technical and political
questions are increasingly being explored, but whose info-ethical
dimensions deserve greater attention as they may requires us to
revisit cherished assumptions regarding the scope and desirability of
information-societal developments as we know them.
Electronics activism has already defined an agenda of environmental
and social justice, drawing on number of perspectives such as
environmental debt, environmental and resource rights, political and
social ecology, resource efficiency, and occupational health and
safety. In addition to giving rise to concrete initiatives in the
areas of fair production, procurement, and disposal, these activisms
also encourage a reappropriation of notion of sustainability. Since
the UN 'Earth Summit' in 1992, sustainability has featured
prominently in policy initiatives. And while for some, it has been
discredited by its vagueness and widespread subordination to
corporate visisons of self-regulation it might be revitalized to
refer to the outcomes of (inevitable) ecological distribution
conflicts, encouraging ecopolitics to venture beyond
consensus-oriented paradigms of environmental governance. Such
broader ecopolitical perspectives (or network ecologies, the term we
would like to suggest as an umbrella concept) can serve as an
integrative idiom to combine important vectors of inquiry that open
up more general descriptions of the contemporary conjuncture.
We therefore invite contributors to reflect on the question of a
'sustainable' information society from within an ecopolitical,
info-ethical horizon. Suggested topics include:
No single injunction to reuse or reycle will resonate across all
net.cultures. What role do questions of translation, inter- and
transculturality play in the articulation of new ecopolitical
Can info-ethics avoid the conceptual deadend of a culture/nature
divide in its exploration of a politics of nature by way of engaging
process-oriented, procedural perspectives on political ecology? If
so, how does it address questions of agency and accountability?
What is the link between such network ecologies and aesthetic
regimes, from postcolonial analysis of how 'we' have looked at nature
to artists developing an ecopolitical aesthetics of disappearance?
What role might the open, decentralized creation of hard- and
software play in the creation of sustainable ICT infrastructures?
The transnational networks of design, production, and disposal
involve large numbers of migrant workers, often concentrated in
export-orientated economic zones partially exempt from national
(environmental, social) regulation. What role do questions of labor
and the transformation of sovereignty play in the articulation of new
What role do ICTs play in other ecopolitical controversies (climate
change, water, food security)?
Greenpeace. Chemical contamination at e-waste recycling and disposal
sites in Accra and Korforidua, Ghana. 2008.
Grossmann, Elizabeth. High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden
Toxics, and Human Health. Washington et al: Island Press, 2006.
Latour, Bruno, and Peter Weibel, eds. Making Things Public:
Atmospheres of Democracy. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005.
Latour, Bruno. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into
Democracy. Translated by Catherine Porter. Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 2004.
Pellow, David Naguib. The Silicon Valley of Dreams: Environmental
Injustice, Immigrant Workers, and the High-Tech Global Economy. New
York: New York University Press, 2003.
Smith, Ted, et al., eds. Challenging the Chip: Labor Rights and
Environmental Justice in the Global Electronics Industry.
Philadelphia: Temple U niversity Press, 2006.
Stengers, Isabelle. ?Un engagement pour le possible.? Cosmopolitiques
1 (Juin 2002). 27-36.
UNEP-Vital-Graphics. Vital Waste Graphics. E-Waste - The great
e-waste recycling debate. October 2004.
Schauer, Thomas, Markus Neuvonen, Matti Penttilae, eds. Information
Technology, Competitiveness and the Environment.
Schauer, Thomas. The Sustainable Information Society - Vision and
Good Electronics Network <http://goodelectronics.org>
Taiwan Environmental Action Network <http://www.iepanet.org/>
Toxics Link <http://www.toxicslink.org/>
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition <http://www.etoxics.org>
Basel Action Network <http://ban.org/>
Abstracts and Submissions
Potential authors must provide an extended abstract (max. 1500 words)
by May 1, 2009. Abstracts may be submitted in the native language of
the author though an English translation of this abstract must be
included if the chosen language is not English. IRIE will publish
articles in English, French, German, Portuguese or Spanish. The
author(s) of contributions in French, Portuguese, or Spanish must
nominate at least two potential peer reviewers. Abstracts will be
evaluated by the guest editors. The authors will be informed of
acceptance or rejection by May 15, 2009. Deadline for the final
article (usually ca. 3.000 words or 20.000 characters including
blanks) is July 15, 2009. All submissions will be subject to peer
review. Therefore the acceptance of an extended abstract does not
imply the publication of the final text (August 2009) unless the
article has passed the peer review. For more information about the
journal see: <http://www.i-r-i-e.net>.
Please send your abstracts to the guest editors at:
Soenke Zehle <s.zehle at mx.uni-saarland.de>
Matthias Feilhauer <matthi at stdio.info>
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