Oficina CEER
Research Workshop Digital Culture: New Forms of Living and Organizing?

Ben Light, University of Salford.
Steve Sawyer, Pennsylvania State University and University of Salford.

Confirmed Speakers
Elisabeth Davenport. Professor of Information Management, Centre for Social Informatics, Napier University.
William H. Dutton. Director of the Oxford Internet Institute, Professor of Internet Studies, University of Oxford.
Michael D. Myers. Professor of Information Systems, University of Auckland Business School/University of Salford.

While access to digital technologies remains variable, it is clear their presence and uses are increasingly important features of contemporary life. Where historically, one might argue that digital Technologies Have had more influence in work organizations it appears that in recent times we are witnessing a change to this. That is, the uptake of digital technology into our domestic lives is shaping our experiences at work. Moreover, the list of these digital technologies grows longer and more varied. Therefore, beyond the massive levels of interest, as manifested in the number of people using these digital technologies, lie questions of their roles in supporting new forms of organizing and their effects upon our everyday experiences. Such experiences, of course, happen within the world of work and more generally in society – we can see this as ‘digital culture’.

More broadly, digital technologies are merging into physical infrastructures – at home, in transport, at work and school, and even walking ‘alone’ while texting. This suggests that these technologies are playing an evermore important role in helping us construct and carry our identity and engage with places in an evolving society. Given this, there is a need to attend to the potential reshaping of the boundaries and structures of existing social organization, and the altering of the ways in which people learn to experience life. Digital technologies raise issues related to:

- shaping and supporting collaboration through sites such as MySpace;
collective action as evident in blogging activities;
decision-making in spaces such as World of Warcraft and other MMORPGs;
- expertise location using sites such as Twitter;
- managing work/domestic boundaries, using mobile phones and texting for example;
- the locus and nature of social engagements such as those enacted in Second Life;
- the translucence among work, community and private life that applications like Facebook have the capacity to generate;
- the nature of organizing that all these examples have the potential to exemplify.

Describing forms, uses and effects of digital technology challenges current conceptualizations of what it jeans to be ‘doing computing’. For example, is Facebook a development environment (there are more than 8300 applications available for use)? Is Amazon a library? Put simply, the convergence of media, technology, applications, development mechanisms, and social engagements challenge the notion of systems just as it invites us to question our notions of organizing.

Conceptualizing our lives in digital culture terms demonstrates the vibrancy of the scope of information and communications technologies, organizations and society. Doing this destabilises common notions that portray the field of computing as struggling and, in particular, that information technology’s uses in organizations is about managerial control or industrial age models of economic production. Scholars of computing, IT, media, organization, and society are each able to contribute to this burgeoning socio-technical transformation – bringing complimentary skills, perspectives and insights.

Important Dates:
Abstract Submission Date: 25 April 2008
Notification of Acceptance: 2 May 2008
Workshop Dates: 16 and 17 June 2008

Workshop Arrangements:
The fee for presentation/attendance at the workshop is £40 for academic staff. This will cover refreshments and meals throughout the workshop and a workshop dinner to be held on the evening of the 16th of June.

There is no fee for PhD students, however they still need to register for the workshop. PhD student registration includes refreshments during the workshop but excludes attendance at the workshop dinner (This is subject to a £15 fee, payable upon registration).

From the 1 May 2008, staff and students will be able to register for the workshop at: https://www.shop.salford.ac.uk

Further details regarding the location of the workshop, accommodation and travel will be posted in the near future at: http://www.iris.salford.ac.uk

Abstracts should be submitted to Nathalie Audren-Howarth at: n.audren@salford.ac.uk.