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Posts from — November 2003

yet one more paper i have to finish.


Fourth International Conference on



27 June-1 July 2004

Karlstad University, Sweden

Conference theme:

Off the shelf or from the ground up?

ICTs and cultural marginalization, homogenization or hybridization

The biennial CATaC conference series provides a continuously expanding

international forum for the presentation and discussion of current

research on how diverse cultural attitudes shape the implementation

and use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The

conference series brings together scholars from around the globe who

provide diverse perspectives, both in terms of the specific culture(s)

they highlight in their presentations and discussions, and in terms of

the discipline(s) through which they approach the conference theme.

The first conference in the series was held in London in 1998, the

second in Perth in 2000, and the third in Montreal in 2002.

Beginning with our first conference in 1998, the CATaC conferences

have highlighted theoretical and praxis-oriented scholarship and

research from all parts of the globe, including Asia, Africa, and the

Middle-East. The conferences focus especially on people and

communities at the developing edges of ICT diffusion, including

indigenous peoples and those outside the English-speaking world.

Understanding the role of culture in how far minority and/or

indigenous cultural groups may succeed - or fail - in taking up ICTs

designed for a majority culture is obviously crucial to the moral and

political imperative of designing ICTs in ways that will not simply

reinforce such groups' marginalization. What is the role of culture in

the development of ICTs "from the ground up" - beginning with the

local culture and conditions - rather than assuming dominant "off the

shelf" technologies are appropriate? Are the empowering potentials of

ICTs successfully exploited among minority and indigenous groups,

and/or do they rather engender cultural marginalization, cultural

homogenization or cultural hybridization?

Original full papers (especially those which connect theoretical

frameworks with specific examples of cultural values, practices, etc.)

and short papers (e.g. describing current research projects and

preliminary results) are invited.

Topics of particular interest include but are not limited to:

- Culture: theory and praxis

- Culture and economy

- Alternative models for ICT diffusion

- Role of governments and activists in culture, technology and communication

- ICTs and cultural hybridity

- ICTs and intercultural communication

- Culture, communication and e-learning

Our conference themes provide a range of approaches to the questions raised.


Nina Wakeford, Foundation Fund Lecturer in Sociology and Social

Methodology. For her DPhil at Nuffield College, Oxford, Dr Wakeford

studied the experiences of mature students using a sociological

conception of risk. Before coming to the University of Surrey in

September of 1998, she spent three years studying "Women's Experiences

of Virtual Communities", funded by an ESRC Post-Doctoral grant. The

last two years of this Fellowship she conducted fieldwork in and

around Silicon Valley while based at the University of California,


CATaC'04 will also feature two particular foci, each chaired by a

distinguished colleague who will oversee paper review and development

of the final panels.

PANEL 1: The Multilingual Internet

Panel Chairs: Susan Herring and Brenda Danet

Expanding on their collective work, including a special issue of the

Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication (Vol. 9 (1), November, 2003

- see, this thread invites papers with a

specific focus on how the Internet impacts language choice and

linguistic practices in traditionally non-English speaking cultural

contexts. Of particular interest are situations that respond in

various ways to the tension between global English dominance and local

linguistic diversity, e.g., through use of English as an online lingua

franca, the "localization" of global or regional linguistic

influences, translation or code-switching between different languages,

and strategic uses of the Internet to maintain and invigorate minority


Susan Herring is Professor of Information Science and Linguistics,

Indiana University Bloomington

Brenda Danet is Professor Emerita of Sociology and Communication at

the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

PANEL 2: Utopian Dreams vs. Real-World Conditions: Under what

conditions can ICTs really help worse off communities?

Panel Chair: Michel Menou.

CATaC'04 will likely feature some examples of "best practices" in

using ICTs to aid culturally-appropriate development, especially as

pursued through governmental or NGOs' projects, community informatics

endeavours, etc. At the same time, however, real-world politics and

realities - e.g., violent oppression, political corruption, gender and

ethnic discrimination, abuse of dominant economic position, structural

disasters, worst practices of all kinds and origins, etc. - can

shatter the best-laid plans for using ICTs to supposedly help

especially the poorest of the poor. How far can ICTs succeed in

supporting culturally-appropriate development - and what appropriate

answers to real-world conditions are required in order for our best

efforts to realize the liberatory potentials of these technologies not

be broken down?

Michel Menou, has worked on the development of national information

policies and systems in many countries of the Southern hemisphere

since 1966. Since 1992 his work focused on the impact of information

and ICT in development. He is a member of the Community Informatics

Research Network and of the network of Telecentres of Latin America

and Caribbean.


All submissions will be peer reviewed by an international panel of

scholars and researchers and accepted papers will appear in the

conference proceedings.

Initial submissions are to be uploaded to the CATaC website according

to the paper guidelines (available at the conference website).

Submission of a paper implies that it has not been submitted or

published elsewhere. At least one author of each accepted paper is

expected to present the paper at the conference.

There will be the opportunity for selected papers from this 2004

conference to appear in special issues of journals and a book. Papers

in previous conferences have appeared in journals (Journal of Computer

Mediated Communication, Electronic Journal of Communication/La Revue

Electronique de Communication, AI and Society, Javnost- The Public,

and New Media and Society) and a book (Culture, Technology,

Communication: towards an Intercultural Global Village, 2001, edited

by Charles Ess with Fay Sudweeks, SUNY Press, New York). You may

purchase the conference proceedings from the 2002 conference from

Important Dates

Full papers (10-20 pages): 12 January 2004

Short papers (3-5 pages): 26 January 2004

Notification of acceptance: end February 2004

Final formatted papers: 29 March 2004


 Charles Ess, Drury University, USA,

 Fay Sudweeks, Murdoch University, Australia,


 Malin Sveningsson, Karlstad University, Sweden,

November 30, 2003   Comments Off

Sun, 30 Nov 2003 13:40:41 GMT

Sharing and stealing. Jessica Litman, Sharing and Stealing, a preprint posted to SSRN. From the abstract: “The purpose of copyright is to encourage the creation and mass dissemination of a wide variety of works. Until recently, most means of mass dissemination required a significant capital investment. The lion's share of the economic proceeds of copyrights were therefore channeled to publishers and distributors, and the law was designed to facilitate that. Digital distribution invites us to reconsider all of the assumptions underlying that model. We are still in the early history of the networked digital environment, but already we've seen experiments with both direct and consumer-to-consumer distribution of works of authorship. One remarkable example of the difference consumer-to-consumer dissemination can make is seen in the astonishing information space that has grown up on the world wide web….This paper…proposes that we adopt a legal architecture that encourages but does not compel copyright owners to make their works available for widespread sharing over digital networks….” (Thanks to C-FIT.) [Open Access News]

November 30, 2003   No Comments

Sat, 29 Nov 2003 22:53:24 GMT

Radio TrackBack monitor. If you're blogging with Radio and have TrackBack enabled, you'll love this service which provides an RSS feed of TrackBacks to your weblog -  I'm kicking myself for missing it when Phil came up with it a few months back. So I now have a TrackBack feed in addition to my comments feed, which means I'll be more aware of feedback on my writing. Thanks Phil!

(…lost in the jargon? Try a glossary)

(found via Al via Google)
[Seb's Open Research]

November 29, 2003   No Comments

Sat, 29 Nov 2003 13:45:22 GMT

history, credit and identity. Like many students of computing, i was inspired by Vannevar Bush from my earliest days. “As We May Think” and follow-up writings on the Memex helped define a century of thought and computational effort. Yet, as Michael Buckland is uncovering,… []

my response over there follows:
Vannevar Bush's fame is not singularly tied to 'as we may think'. he was very much a polymath of sorts, and was a significant figure in several fields, this allowed him more popular press access of course, but if you check out his accomplishments on the wikipedia page here, I think you'll see that his fame is a bit broader based and that some of his other works are foundational in other fields. he was even on the cover of Time magazine for his work in physics

a short biblio includes such works as:
modern arms and free men: a discussion of the role of science in preserving democracy
principles of electrical engineering
science is not enough
pieces of action
endless horizons <--- which was on my ph.d. exam reading list

two codicils:

1. bush cetainly falls into the 'great man' problem of history, he is usually individuated and put forth out of his myriad of contexts, so we have to be careful about what his role really was in regards to certain concepts that he put forth, which could in fact be hinting at another problem in science studies, which is that we traditonally put undo emphasis on the people that do something first, usually singling them out in opposition to others, when they very well may have been aware of the others work and thought they were working in a larger framework. so saying 'goldberg or bush' is problematic, when it could have been that bush was seeking to popularize goldberg or something else.

2. memex has nothing to do with hypertext and everyone knows hypertext is dead (said snarkily) ;)

November 29, 2003   No Comments

Sat, 29 Nov 2003 13:12:49 GMT

New issue of Jekyll. The September issue of Jekyll (”International Journal on Science Communication”) is now online. Here are the OA-related articles.

[Open Access News]

November 29, 2003   No Comments

Sat, 29 Nov 2003 13:11:40 GMT

Down my throat no more. Jim McGee: John Seely Brown on Stolen Knowledge.


Why is it such a
hard step to give up on the notion of control? Or, put another way, why
do organizations and schools insist on forcing certain content down
people's throats? You might want to take a look at Roger Schank's
thoughts about learning in this context. Take a look at Coloring Outside the Lines : Raising a Smarter Kid by Breaking All the Rules or at Designing World-Class E-Learning.

Or if you want things in a real nutshell consider the following bit of wisdom from Calvin and Hobbes:

Calvin and Hobbes for 27 Nov 1992

[Seb's Open Research]

November 29, 2003   No Comments

Fri, 28 Nov 2003 19:04:01 GMT

The Critical Questions. I did this week's reading for my IR&R 2 course. And according to my prof's last 2 sets of comments, I am not allowed/supposed to write reflection papers which are based on my usual critical questions/misgivings with the readings. So… [Flailing in the Surf]

November 28, 2003   No Comments

Fri, 28 Nov 2003 18:50:38 GMT

U.S. funds study of tech monocultures [InfoWar Monitor]

The National Science Foundation has granted $750,000 to two universities to study how diversifying information systems and software could help fend off future cyberattacks, the agency said Tuesday.

The study, proposed by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of New Mexico almost a year ago, will seek to identify commonalities in software that could be used as the basis for attacks. Such common vulnerabilities would point to a computer “monoculture”–a population so homogeneous that a single threat could destroy it.

November 28, 2003   No Comments

Fri, 28 Nov 2003 13:17:04 GMT

GOP Steal Compter Files – No Film at 11. John Moltz brings to our attention a story from Calpundit. A Republican Senate staffer accesed files on a Democratic staffers computer and then leaked them to the press. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said yesterday that a… [Eat Your Vegetables]

November 28, 2003   No Comments

Fri, 28 Nov 2003 13:15:03 GMT

Patent Poet. Ray Kurzweil has been awarded a patent for his AI-based ” target=”_blank”>cybernetic poetry software. (via NYTimes) Kurzweil, a successful developer of AI-based technologies and author of several books including The Age of Spiritual Machines, has an elaborate website promoting AI… []

November 28, 2003   No Comments