Dr. Anne Kaun will be Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Institute of Media Studies 2018, July 1 to August 1.
Anne Kaun is Associate Professor at the Department for Media and Communication Studies at Södertörn University, Stockholm. Her research combines archival research with interviews and participant observation to better understand changes in how activists have used media technologies and how technologies shape activism in terms of temporality and space. She is currently implementing her new project on prison media tracing the media practices and media work since the inception of the modern prison system.
Media at the Margins: Studying Media Practices in Heterotopian Contexts
Media are studied through diverse frameworks ranging from large scale changes in specific cultural and political contexts captured by notions such as mediatization to micro-investigations of everyday engagement with media formats such as memes and selfies. A smaller strand of media and communication studies has also always demanded a shift beyond mainstream practices. It pushed for considering forms of mediated identity practices as resistance, social groups that are normally excluded and geographic locations outside of the Western realm. Linking to this strand of research, I suggest to also consider heterotopian spaces such as prisons, detention centers and protest camps more explicitly in our analysis of media. Heterotopian spaces are spaces of otherness that are outside the social world. At the same time, they are crucial for sustaining the idea and realization of “the good society”. They, for example, confine people, behavior, and characteristics that run counter to the utopian ideas of the good society, but they are also places where the rules and norms for good society are negotiated and implemented. Following the spatial turn in media and communication studies and drawing on theoretical notions such as social imaginaries, I argue that we can learn about values, norms and the structure of feeling of society as well as crucial media-related change by considering heterotopian spaces as parts and constitutive of society. The talk draws on six years of my research on protest movements as well as a recently started project on media practices in the context of prisons.
Digital Media and Participation: The Case of Media Activism
With digital media gaining importance in all spheres of society and everyday life, a growing interest in changing dynamics related to media technologies for civic engagement and political participation has emerged.
The seminar discusses the nexus of digital media and participation from the vantage point of media activism that is currently studied within diverse disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, political science, media and communication studies as well as art and design studies. Traditionally media activism research has been considering the engagement with media for mobilization, organization and purposes of identification. Increasingly media practices become forms of protest itself, e.g. data activism performed by Anonymous or the Chaos Computer Club. Hence, media activism increasingly captures media not only as platform or arena, but as political practice as such.
Central notions discussed during the seminar are
- Political agency
- (Media) participation
- Media activism as political activism
- Media criticism
- Time and spatial regimes of media