|Geert Lovink on Mon, 18 Apr 2005 13:35:32 +0200 (CEST)|
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|[Nettime-nl] politiek van nieuwe media in niet-westerse land (conferentie,amsterdam, 15-17 juni)|
(beste nettime-nl, onderstaande informatie is jammergenoeg tot nu toe alleen verkrijgbaar in het engels. het gaat om een conferentie over zaken als de rol van nieuwe media in niet-westerse landen, de relatie tussen nieuwe media en ontwikkelingshup en de rol van NGOs. er zit een open deel in deze werkconferentie die in nauwe samenwerking met de deelnemers wordt samengesteld. in samenwerking met hivos wordt achteraf een publicatie gemaakt die in het kader van de world summit on the information society in geneve zal worden gepresenteerd. zeer binnenkort zal er ook een link worden gepost naar een site waar je je kan aanmelden. groeten, geert) Incommunicado 05: Call for Contributions to Publications and Open Sessions Date: June 15 (Public Event), June 16-17 (Working Conference) Location: De Balie, Amsterdam, Netherlands Organization: Institute of Network Cultures (INC), Waag Society, Sarai. Concept: Geert Lovink & Soenke Zehle See <http://incommunicado.info/conference> for information on program, participants, and registration or contact the INC at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. A Note on this Call This is a call for contributions for TWO publications, a pre-conference reader with short texts (ca. 2,000 words) to be published in June 2005 and a post-conference publication with longer texts (up to ca. 5,000 words) to be presented in cooperation with HIVOS at the WSIS PrepCom3 in September 2005. Deliberately broad, the call intends to encourage contributions that critically engage the overarching conference theme of accountability and representation in an emerging global info-politics. For detailed descriptions of specific issue areas, see below. On all topics listed, we welcome case studies and original research as well as analysis and commentary. Please email complete submissions to <email@example.com> (pre-conference essays by June 01 2005, post-conference essays by August 01). We also encourage participants interested in presenting case studies etc. in one of the open sessions to contact the INC to register specifically for such a session (see online conference program for details). Incommunicado 05: From Info-Development to Info-Politics Incommunicado 05 is a two-day working conference that will attempt to offer a critical survey of the current state of 'info-development', most recently known by its catchy acronym 'ICT4D'. Not too long ago, most computer networks and ICT expertise were located in the North, and info-development seemed to be a rather technical matter of knowledge and technology transfer from North to South. While still popular, the assumption of a 'digital divide' that follows this familiar cartography of development has turned out to be too simple. Instead, a more complex map of actors, networked in a global info-politics, is emerging. Different actors continue to promote different - and competing - visions of 'info-development'. States with emerging info-economies like Brazil, China, and India form south-south alliances that challenge our sense of what 'development' is all about. New grassroot efforts are calling into question the entire regime of intellectual property rights (IPR) and access restrictions on which commercial info-development is based. Commons- or open-source-oriented organizations across the world are more likely to receive support from southern than from northern states, and these coalitions are already challenging northern states on their self-serving commitment to IPR and their dominance of key info-political organizations. Actors no longer follow the simple schema of state, market, or civil society, but engage in cross-sectoral alliances. Following the crisis of older top-down approaches to development, corporations and aid donors are increasingly bypassing states and international agencies to work directly with smaller non-governmental actors. While national and international development agencies now have to defend their activity against their neoliberal critics, info-NGOs participating in public-private partnerships and info-capitalist ventures suddenly find themselves in the midst of a heated controversy over their new role as junior partner of states and corporations. Long considered a marginal policy field dominated by technology experts, info-development is embroiled in a full-fledged info-politics, negotiated in terms of corporate accountability, state transformation, and the role of an international civil society in the creation of a new world information order. NGOs in Info-Development We have become used to thinking of NGOs as 'natural' development actors. But their presence is itself indicative of a fundamental transformation of an originally state-centered development regime, and their growing influence raises difficult issues regarding their relationship to state and corporate actors, but also regarding their self-perception as representatives of civic and grassroots interests. Why should they sit at a table with governments and international agencies, and who is marginalized by such a (multistakeholder) dynamic of 'inclusion' dominated by NGOs? After WSIS: Exploring Multistakeholderism For some, the 2003-5 UN World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) is just another moment in an ongoing series of inter-governmental jamborees, glamorizing disciplinary visions of global ICT governance to distract from other info-political struggles. For others, WSIS revives 'tricontinentalist' hopes for a New International Information and Communication Order whose emphasis on 'civil society actors' may even signal the transformation of a system of inter-governmental organizations. Either way, WSIS continues to encourage the articulation of agendas, positions, and stakes in a new politics of communication and information. Following the effort to actively involve civil society actors in WSIS activities, the idea of an emergent 'multistakeholderism' is already considered one of the key WSIS outcomes, yet many are sobered by what appears to be the consensualist minimalism of incorporating critical positions in ever more encompassing final statements and action plans. Info-Corporations at the United Nations The controversial agreement between Microsoft and the UNDP, issued at a time when open source software is emerging as serious non-proprietary alternative within ICT4D, is just one in a series of public-private partnerships (PPP) between corporations and the UN. As the UN reaches out to Cisco, HP, or Microsoft, many argue that these cooperations are simply an expansion of the PPP approach to international organizations, and should be assessed on their respective terms. Others suggest, however, that these developments are indicative of a much more fundamental transformation of the UN and its member organizations, and point to the sobering outcome of the almost-no-strings-attached Global Compact, widely criticized as multilateral collusion in corporate 'bluewashing', the Cardoso Panel on UN-Civil Society Relations and its controversial definition of civil society, or the ongoing controversy over a new set of international standards for corporate accountability. WIPO and the Friends of Development As the international info-economy has come to revolve around intellectual property rights, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has asserted its status as a key player in matters of info-development. Overseeing the implementation of international IPR regulations, the little-known agency has been calling for an expansion of the dominant IPR regime and generally supports euro-american strategies of bypassing multilateral negotiations through an aggressive 'TRIPS-Plus' bilateralism. But recently, the agency has been targeted by a global campaign, lead by a group of southern states, to change its limited agenda. Aid & Info-Development after 9-11 What is the status of aid in the promotion of ICT4D, and how have ICT4D actors responded to the politicization and securitization of aid, including the sale of security and surveillance technologies in the name of info-development? To what extent does info-development overlap with new info-infrastructures in the field of humanitarian aid (ICT4Peace)? Are global trade justice campaigns a response to classic development schemes? ICT4D and the Critique of Development The critique of development and its institutional arrangements - of its conceptual apparatus as well as the economic and social policies implemented in its name - has always been both a theoretical project and the agenda of a multitude of 'subaltern' social movements. Yet much work in ICT4D shows little awareness of or interest in the history of such development critique. Instead, techno-determinist perspectives have become hegemonic, and even many activists believe that ICT will lead to progress and eventually contribute to poverty reduction. Have development scepticism and the multiplicity of alternative visions it created simply been forgotten? Or have they been actively muted to disconnect current struggles in the area of communication and information from this history, adding legitimacy to new strategies of 'pre-emptive' development that are based on an ever-closer alliance between the politics of aid, development, and security? Are analyses based on the assumption that the internet and its promise of connectivity are 'inherently good' already transcending existing power analyses of global media and communication structures? How can we reflect on the booming ICT-for-Development industry beyond best practice suggestions? New Axes of Info-Capitalism We are witnessing a shift from in the techno-cultural development of the web, from an essentially post-industrialist euro-american affair to a more complexly mapped post-third-worldist network, where new south-south alliances are already upsetting our commonsensical definitions of info-development. Examples include the surprising extent to which a 'multilateral' version of internet governance has been able to muster support, the 'tropicalization' (Gilberto Gil) of open source approaches, and new alliances on the politics of ipr (WIPO Development Agenda). Info-development, that is, has ceased to be a matter of technology transfer and has become a major terrain for the renegotiation of some of the faultlines of geopolitical conflict - with a new set of actors. While the question remains whether such a 'tricontinentalist' shift really affects established dependencies on 'northern' donors, it's certainly time for a first assessment of the agenda and impact of some of the new players and their alliances. FLOSS in ICT4D Pushed by a growing transnational coalition of NGOs and a few allies inside the multilateral system, open source software has moved from margin to center in ICT4D visions of peer-to-peer networks and open knowledge initiatives. But while OSS and its apparent promise of an alternative non-proprietary concept of collaborative creation continues to have much counter-cultural cachet, its idiom can easily be used to support the 'liberalization' of telco markets and cuts in educational subsidies. What is the current status of OSS as idiom and infrastructural alternative within ICT4D? Accountability and the Critique of Representation The decade-long controversy inside the 'NGO community' on issues of accountabilty is also affecting actors in ICT4D. The singularity of network environments and the particular brand of info-politics it has facilitated suggest, however, that common approaches to 'accountability' cannot simply be transferred into the context of the post-representative politics of network(ed) cultures. So beyond embracing stakeholder consultation and participation, what is ICT4D's original contribution to one of the core concepts in the renewal of development as a project? The New Info-Politics of Rights After the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the bilateral order, the discourse of human rights has become an important 'placeholder' for agendas of social change and transformation that are no longer articulated in 'third worldist' or 'tricontinentalist' terms. In the field of communication and information, major NGOs and their network 'campaigns' have also decided to approach WSIS-related issues by calling for 'new rights', paralleling other trends toward a juridification of info-politics more generally. Nuts and Bolts of Internet Governance One of the few areas where WSIS is likely to produce concrete results is internet governance (IG). The IG controversy revolves around the limits of the current regime of root server control (ICANN/US) and possible alternatives, but it is also significant because it signals the repoliticization of a key domain of a technocratic internet culture that long considered itself to be above the fray of ordinary info-politics. Media & Migration Some of the organizations active in the WSIS process lost their accreditation because participants used their visa to say goodby to Africa. Widely reported, the anecdote suggests that media and migration form a nexus that is nevertheless rarely explored in the context of ICT4D.
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