I’ve updated the Papers page with a couple of works in progress regarding the affective and phenomenological dimensions of digital surveillance.
Print Issue coming… soon, I think?
Notably, I failed to include acknowledgments after planning to do so at the proofreading stage – perhaps because there were about 120 things to actually proofread. So here is at least an obscure, ghostly imprint in thanks to: Carolyn Marvin, José van Dijck, Deborah Lubken.
This article analyses mediated invocations of ‘the people’ or ‘the public’ in the Dreyfus Affair, and orients this historical analysis towards contemporary debates on public spheres and digital media. If the ideal Habermasian public sphere never historically existed, how did the ‘imperfect’ public spheres of the past nevertheless contribute to democratic political participation? The late 19th century is a particularly salient point of comparison, being a time of transition from one set of media technologies and notions of publics to another. Focusing on newspapers, posters and other print-based communicative practices, I identify two general and consistent modes by which the ‘other-public’ is produced: (1) the ‘other’ audience as the target of persuasion, influence and commentary, and (2) the speaker as a distinct ‘other’ from the crowd. This othering was not a pathological barrier to ‘full participation’, but a constitutive part of publicity in an age of nascent mass media.
I presented at Being With…: Affinities, Attachments, Assemblages, hosted by IKKM Weimar, Germany, in April this year. The paper is in progress, but the first few minutes of the presentation is available here in text form.
Next time I do this, I’m getting a haircut.
Other lectures from the conference can be found here.
I am a doctoral student at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.
My current research involves the ‘infra-phenomenal’ in digital life. The way we experience digital interfaces and platforms is distinct from the developers or analysts’ specifications of them, and also from society’s own discourse about how such media reportedly work. This phenomenological dimension is strongly modulated by the affordances and obligations digital objects levy upon our perception, attention and habit. All this feeds into internalised impressions and conceptualisations of the digital world – folk understandings of trust and risk, transparency and privacy, connectivity and creativity.
Specifically, current projects include (1) everyday discourse and how communication relies on ‘uncertain’ and semantically negative techniques; (2) the ability of objects to levy ‘obligations’ on their environments and subjects; (3)how crowdfunding participants navigate conceptualisations of trust and risk. I draw on writers including Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Pierre Bourdieu and Slavoj Žižek.