CfP Special Issue of Convergence: The International Journal of Research Into New Media Technologies

Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies

Call for Papers – Special Issue on ‘Digital Cultures of California
Vol 15 no 1. February 2009

Guest editor:
Julian Bleecker (julian [at] techkwondo [dot] com and bleeckerj [at] gmail [dot] com)
(Near Future Laboratory and University of Southern California)

Please post and circulate

Download Convergence Call for Papers PDF

The deadline for submission of research articles is 1 February 2008.

This call invites submissions for a special issue related to digital cultures of California. Internationally, California is a phenomenon in terms of its relationship to creating, consuming and analyzing the era of digital technologies. From the legendary garage entrepreneurs, to the multi-billion dollar culture of venture capital, to stock back-dating scandals, to the epic exodus of California’s IT support staff during the Burning Man festival, this territory plays an important role in the political, cultural and economic underpinnings of digitally and network-mediated lives on a global scale.

The Bay Area of California (often referred to somewhat incorrectly as Northern California) is perceived as a hot-bed of technology activity. Nearby Silicon Valley serves as a marker for the massive funding of enterprises that shape many aspects of digital culture. The new interaction rituals that have come to define what social life has become in many parts of the world can often be traced back to this part of California. New, popular and curious forms of presence awareness and digital communication such as Twitter and Flickr have found a comfortable home here. Lifestyles of the Northern California digerati have enveloped the cultural milieu, often changing the social landscape to such a degree that it become unrecognizable and unpalatable to those less engaged in creating and consuming digital cultures. Complimenting the Bay Area’s technology production activities is Southern California – the greater Los Angeles basin in particular – where Hollywood sensibilities bring together entertainment with technology through such things as video games, mobile content distribution, digital video and 3D cinema.

California is also the home of several colleges and universities where digital technologies are developed in engineering departments and reflected upon from social science and humanities departments. This curious relationship between production and analysis creates the promise of insightful interdisciplinary approaches to making new kinds of digital networked cultures. Many institutions have made efforts to combine engineering and social science practices to bolster technology design. Xerox PARC probably stands as the canonical example of interdisciplinary approaches to digital technology design. Similarly, combining arts practices with technology as a kind of exploratory research and development has important precedent at places like Intel Berkeley Labs and PARC and at the practice-based events such as the San Jose California-based Zero One festival.

In this special issue we welcome submissions which investigate, provoke and explicate the California digital cultures from a variety of perspectives. We are interested in papers that approach this phenomenon in scholarly and, particularly, approaches that emphasize practice-based analysis and knowledge production.

* What are the ways that social networks have been shaped by digital techniques?

* How has the phenomenon of the digital entrepreneur evolved in the age of DIY sensibilities?

* What are the ways that ‘new ideas’ succeed or fail based on their dissemination amongst the elite, connected digerati, as opposed to their dissemination amongst less more quotidian communities?

* What is the nature of the matrix of relationships between Hollywood entertainment, the military, industry and digital technology?

* Can the DIY culture explored in the pages of Make magazine produce its own markets?

* How does the Apple Inc. culture of product design and development shape and inform popular culture?

* How have the various interdisciplinary approaches undertaken at corporate research centers connected to universities such as Intel Berkeley Labs shaped digital cultures?

* What does ‘Silicon Valley’ mean in other geographies? How has the model of associations between innovation, research and funding been transplanted elsewhere and to what measures of success?

The deadline for submission of research articles is 1 February 2008.

Submissions/proposals for papers should be directed to the guest editor. The special issue will be published (by SAGE) in February 2009. For full details of house style and submission format, please consult

(For all other submissions/inquiries, please contact convergence [at]

Download Convergence Call for Papers PDF