January 24, 2014, by ajzeg

Extended CFP: Friction!


An interdisciplinary conference on technology & resistance

University of Nottingham

Thursday 8th May & Friday 9th May, 2014


Keynote talks by Pollyanna Ruiz (LSE) and Kimberley Peters (Aberystwyth)

 With workshops led by: Matthew Fuller and Andrew Goffey; University of Leicester Technology Group; Jen Birks and John Downey; and Rachel Jacobs (Active Ingredient). 

 Current workshop themes include: evil media; data, digital leaks and political activism; hacklabs and artistic uses of data.

Workshop and talk abstracts, and information about speakers will be appearing on our blog in the forthcoming weeks: https://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/criticalmoment/




[mass noun]

The resistance that one surface or object encounters when moving over another:

  • the action of one surface or object rubbing against another
  • conflict or animosity caused by a clash of wills, temperaments, or opinions

Oxford English Dictionary, 2013


We are now living in a frictionless economy in which money, jobs and products can move around the world in the blink of an eye. And yet we have not moved to a frictionless society. Rather, many of the technologies that support the frictionless economy create various forms of friction in society. Taking a lead from the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Critical Theory’s Technology and Resistance research strand, we are interested in proposals for papers and workshops that explore  the concept/metaphor of ‘friction’ as a starting point for exploring the relationship between everyday technologies and resistance;  with resistance understood in both a politically empowering and an inhibitory sense. On the one hand, we’re interested in modes of organised resistance: of activist movements making use of, or reacting against, technological developments. However we’re concerned with resistance in a second sense: of technologies resisting their intended function, breaking down, being exploited by hackers or triggering unexpected socio-economic complications.

We invite people to use the concept of ‘friction’ as a route into exploring these themes, with potential topics for discussion including (but not limited to):

  •  Data and ethics
  • Cultural shifts relating to the capture of data
  • The vulnerability of software to hacking and surveillance
  • Resistance to  surveillance and data harvesting
  • Activist uses of data, particularly the circulation of leaked material
  • The politics of hacking
  • The exploitation of ambiguity in software design by hackers
  • Activist and everyday contestations of technological developments
  • The sociological and cultural factors required for technologies to ‘work’
  • Everyday and/or activist reappropriations of technology
  • Tensions between new technologies and existing infrastructures

We are an interdisciplinary group of researchers, including academics from Geography, Business, Critical Theory, Cultural Studies and Media & Communications: so we welcome a diverse range of perspectives and approaches to this theme.

Further workshops and keynotes to be confirmed

We encourage interactive presentation formats, and will allocate longer time-slots to workshops to accommodate these, but also have space for shorter 20 minute position papers.

Extended deadline for proposals: 1st March 2014

 If you are interested in participating please submit a 250 word proposal for a workshop or paper, along with your name and current email address, to centreforcriticaltheory@gmail.com

Please also feel free to contact us with more general enquiries, follow the Centre for Critical Theory’s Twitter account @criticaltheory

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