Videoactivism, culture and participation. Theory and practice of social change in the age of the networks is the title of the proposal for an edited volume with publishing house Gedisa within its series “Comunicación/Comunicología Latina”.
Contributions to this volume will be co-ordinated by Dr. Francisco Sierra Caballero and Dr. David Montero Sánchez, both from the University of Seville.
From different academic positions in the field of new technologies of information and communications (NTIC) it has become a commonplace to speak of the unstoppable emergence of audiovisual content on the net. The figures and forecasts are downright impressive: video downloads reached 20m. terabytes in 2012, which means an increase of over 50% in relation to 2010. It is estimated that, by 2016, 1.2m minutes of video will cross the net every second of the year.1 Also improvements in connectivity on mobile phones already highlight the fact that on-line video will be the fastest growing application at a rate of 75% between 2012 and 2017..2 Further to this, the availability of free editing software, constant bandwidth increases and access to on-line repositories have enriched audiovisual contributions on the net, adding to the phenomenon key social, cultural and political dimensions.
In spite of this, academic analyses devoted to on-line video are scarce and critical approaches virtually non-existent. Techno-economical research has become the norm: market studies, new business models, pros and cons of audiovisual marketing, assessments of the network’s ability to deal with the increasing demands of audiovisual contents, etc. On the other hand, aspects such as on-line video contribution to higher education, its value in relation to political activism or the ways in which it could enliven debates around citizenship still appear blurred and in need of rigorous academic attention.
On the one hand, it has been pointed out that forms of social interaction and reproduction which characterize sites such as YouTube represent a clear example of participatory culture (Burgess y Green, 2009) as they allow for the articulation of communities around creative practices and interests fully integrated in each of their members lifeworlds. Regarding their political potential, these platforms would appear as spaces where new ways of performing citizenship become visible (Van Zoonen, Vis and Mihelj, 2010), with a significant role to play in political campaigning (Thorson, Ekdale, Borah, Namkoong and Shah, 2010) and social protest (for instance as a counter-surveilance strategy in cases of police brutality (Wilson and Serisier, 2010).
Other voices have emphasized the need to frame the sort of participatory culture associated with on-line video in relation to the complex power dynamics which structure the main video-sharing websites. Here, attention is paid to the increasing commercialization of video platforms (Kim, 2012) and the exploitation of user-generated content for financial gain (Andrejevic, 2009). Participatory values and political activism emerge as unintended consequences rather than conscious aims, which underlines the importance of conceiving participation in these platforms from a clear logic of social appropriation (Sierra, 2013)
Nonetheless, these insights pose more questions than they answer. Is participation through on-line video limited to the embodiment of a more participatory conception of culture or does it have a direct impact on the public sphere? Which new forms of sociability do on-line video platforms generate? How is the conflict between commercial interests and citizen participation articulated within them? Which is the actual transforming power of participatory video practices? Which patterns of social appropriation can be observed? Is on-line video transforming traditional forms of protest and political activism in itself? Can it subvert the role played by citizens in relation to all-powerful TV corporations? Does it have any influence in the political articulation of daily life?
The present volume aims sketch the theoretical set up which would allow a sound critical debate over the impact on-line video is having in contemporary societies, placing creative experiences among the different ways of citizenship building and community development promoted by the use of NTIC. Following this, contributions which approach on-line video, in general, and videoactivism on the Internet in particular, from a critical standpoint are specially welcome.
We seek critical contributions around issues such as:
• Netactivism and use of on-line video by social movements
• Digital literacy and audiovisual language
• On-line video, surveillance and control
• Socially transforming experiences based on the use of on-line video
• YouTube and political economy
• Corporative culture in on-line video platforms: censorship, commercial strategies, etc.
• Political satire, propaganda and virality on the Internet (video memes)
• Impact of on-line video practice within the public sphere
• Visibility of minorities
• Copyright, Copyleft and Creative Commons
• First-person narratives on video, lifeworlds and new subjectivities (vlogs)
• Digital video and human rights (witness.org)
• Participatory experiences based on audiovisual technology
• Co-creation and collective intelligence vs. commercial exploitation of user-generated content
Interested authors can send their proposals (400-500 words) and a complete CV to the following e mail address:firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for proposals is 27/01/2014
The deadline for complete articles will be negotiated directly with selected contributors.
Dr. Francisco Sierra Caballero
Professor of Communication Studies / Interdisciplinary Research Group on Communication, Politics and Social Change (COMPOLITICAS)
Facultad de Comunicación (Universidad de Sevilla)
Avda. Américo Vespucio S/N (41092)
Sevilla / Spain
Tel. +34 954559683
ANDREJEVIC, M. (2009) “Exploiting YouTube: Contradictions of User-Generated Labor” in Snickars, P. and Vonderau P. (eds) The YouTube Reader. National Library of Sweden: Stockholm.
BURGESS, Jean and GREEN, Joshua (2009). Youtube. On-line Video and Participatory Culture. Cambridge: Politi Press.
KIM, J. (2012). “The institutionalization of YouTube: From user generated content to professionally generated content”. Media Culture Society. Vol. 34. N. 1
SIERRA, F. (2013) Ciudadanía, Tecnología y Cultura. Nodos conceptuales para pensar la nueva mediación digital. Gedisa: Barcelona.
THORSONA, Kjerstin; EKDALEA, Brian; BORAHA, Porismita; NAMKOONG, Kang and SHAH Chirag (2010), “YouTube and Proposition 8. A case study in video activism” in Information, Communication and Society, Vol. 13, N. 3
VAN ZOONEN, Liesbet; VIS, Farida and MIHELJ, Sabrina (2010). “Performing citizenship on YouTube: activism, satire and on-line debate around the anti-Islam video Fitna”
WILSON, Dean and SERISIER, Tanya (2010), “Video Activism and the ambiguities of counter-surveillance” in Surveillance & Society, Vol. 8, N. 2