Jeremy Hunsinger on Tue, 4 Sep 2018 17:04:33 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> new issue of fastCapitalism

Introduction to Fast Capitalism 15.1
Timothy W. Luke
Since 2005, Fast Capitalism has worked to serve as an academic journal
with a political intent. For now thirteen years, fifteen numbers, and
nineteen issues (with a 1.2 issue in 2005, a 2.2 issue in 2006, a 5.2
issue in 2009, and an 8.2 issue in 2011), we have been publishing
reviewed scholarship and critical essays about the impact of rapidly
changing information and communication technologies on self, society
and culture in the 21st century.
As we announced from the outset, we do not pretend an absolute
objectivity, given that the work we publish is written from many
perspectives with a viewpoint. Our authors examine how heretofore
distinct social institutions, such as work and family, education and
entertainment, have blurred to the point of near identity in an
accelerated, post-Fordist stage of capitalism.  And, we launched this
project before there were the nearly 2 billion smart phones and over a
billion smart tablets operating everyday around the world in 2018.
The scale, scope, and sweep of these means of communication in the
existing mode of information makes it difficult for people to shield
themselves from subordination and surveillance. The working day
continues to expand; there is increasingly less to actually no “down
time” anymore. People can “office” anywhere, using laptops, tablets,
and other personal mobile devices to stay constantly in touch. But
these invasive technologies that tether us to capital and control can
also help us resist these tendencies, as we noted during the Great
Recession, the “Color Revolutions,” the Occupy movements, and Arab
Spring uprisings.  People use the Internet as a public sphere in which
they can express and enlighten themselves as well as organize others;
women, especially, manage their families and nurture children from the
job site and on the road, perhaps even “familizing” traditionally
patriarchal and bureaucratic work relations; information technologies
afford connection, mitigate isolation, and have made way for many new
social movements from Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter to
#MeToo and March for Our Lives.  We are convinced that the best way to
study an accelerated media culture and its various political economies
and existential meanings is dialectically, with nuance, avoiding sheer
condemnation and ebullient celebration. We seek to shape these new
technologies and social structures in democratic ways.
We invite contributions on these and related issues. Some papers will
stick close to the ground of daily life and politics; others will
ascend the heights of theory in order to get the big picture. The work
we publish is both disciplinary and interdisciplinary, bridging the
social sciences and humanities. Culture and capital are keywords. As
we always have been from the beginning, we are also are intensely
interested in cities, the built environment and nature, and we
encourage people who theorize space and place to submit their work.
With 15.1, we continue this project with an eclectic mix of essays,
beginning with Jacobo Bernardini addressing in his “Nomophobia and
Digital Natives” the dark sides of smartphone psychological dependence
in contemporary Italy, especially the strong correlations between
youth apathy and the massive use of new digital technologies.  The
second piece by Daniel Broudy, “Flags, Anthems, and Free Speech: A
Trump White House,” addresses the emergent national populist regime
and nationalist movement being constructed in the United States around
perhaps the world’s first full-blown “reality TV” inspired style of
daily administration in President Donald Trump’s White House. The
third article by Sascha Engel poses the challenge of how to go about
“Writing Circuit Histories” by delving deeply into software coding
practices to contest the predominant linear narrative devices to which
semi-human, semi-machinic assemblages for high technology work are
subject: the narrative of “progress.”
The next essay by Yasmin Ibrahim deals with the complexities of “The
East as a Theatre House of Suffering: ‘Suffering’ Scholarship and the
Orientalist Bind” in contemporary media studies.  For her, “suffering”
is a sustained human predicament, but it has been largely consigned to
the East/Global South as a collective human role.  In turn, the right
to look and serve as the authoritative voyeur of spectatorship is
conferred to the West. She effectively disputes this “East-West”
dichotomy in the oeuvre of suffering scholarship.  On the one hand, it
has created a two-fold humanity where one is the bearer of suffering
and the other the voyeur or the moral spectator who can accord pity
and compassion to the lesser other.  And, on the other hand, she notes
how the West/Global North is now a key locus of suffering with the war
on terror, the plight of displaced populations seeking refuge, and the
impact of rapid climate change. The fifth contribution to the issue
“Social Movement Uses of Capitalist Infotainment” by JL Johnson is a
fascinating evaluation of how different social movements have
mobilized techniques from contemporary social media platforms to
communicate with issue group organizations supporting the causes of
LGBT advancement, food justice, and human rights.  The sixth article
in this issue by Benjamin Taylor carefully investigates “The
Biopolitical Conditions of Sovereign Performativity,” arguing that
sovereignty never disappears as a force to be confronted in the
everyday workings of states and societies.  Instead, the contexts
within which it is expressed are constantly shifting as the collective
practices of spatial mastery change.  In turn, the next piece, Jakob
Norberg’s “The Tragedy of the Commonplace: Clichés in the Age of
Copyright,” plays with the persistent imageries of overuse and
exhaustion, cloaking the concept of the cliché.  He illustrates how
linguistic statements, as they circulate in everyday usage, can suffer
from a “tragedy of the commons,” in which any shared meanings
inevitably will be degraded without constraints on use by the
community that employs them.  Finally, in the concluding article,
Timothy W. Luke’s “Have a Heart for the Holocene: The Politics of Ark
Activism, Collaborative Conservation, and Sponsored Survival at
Museums” explores how the Anthropocene concept is now proliferating
rapidly as a powerful cultural script essentially free from the
geoscience underpinnings binding it to the science of geological deep
time.  As a free-floating narrative that generates its own cause,
effect, and context, the Anthropocene has morphed into a fascinating
intellectual development as well as an event in the planet’s history.
This study explores how a number of museums, zoological preserves, and
exotic expositions have mobilized its flexible rhetoric in displays
about rapid climate change to map out how one might see the interwoven
combined demise of the Holocene, or current epoch in deep time, and
emergence of the Anthropocene in unique new configurations.  Taken
together, they could be regarded as the foundations for a global
exposition about the Anthropocene epoch in human and natural history.
In addition, as we now look to publishing 16.1 in 2019, I will return,
once again, to being “the Co-Editor” of Fast Capitalism at Virginia
Tech in Blacksburg rather than “the Editor.” And, our current
co-editor, David Arditi, in Arlington at the University of Texas (as
his colleagues, academic units, and I planned during 2015 in the
aftermath of our Founding Editor’s, Ben Agger, unexpected and untimely
passing) will be taking on the role of “Editor.”  During the recently
concluded academic year, David successfully stood for tenure and
promotion in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at
Arlington.  One important result of this decision is David now has the
security and seniority of an associate professor to devote more time
and energy to managing Fast Capitalism at its home campus as “the
Editor” of the journal.  Going forward, Fast Capitalism will maintain
its other current editorial positions with Coordinating Editor Beth
Anne Shelton (University of Texas at Arlington); Senior Editor:
Matthew Levy (Portland Community College); Production Editor: Alison
Torres Ramos (Southwestern Adventist University, Keene, Texas), and
Managing Editor: H. Scott Clemens.

Jeremy Hunsinger
Associate Professor
Communication Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University
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