The Moral Economy of Mobile Phones Symposium and Book Launch

Friday 17 August, 3pm – 5.30pm

MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite

The rapid uptake of mobile phones in the Pacific Islands over the last ten years has created a complicated moral economy. We understand the moral economy of mobile phones to imply a field of shifting relations among consumers, companies and state actors, all of whom have their own ideas about what is good, fair and just. These ideas inform the ways in which, for example, consumers acquire and use mobile phones; companies promote and sell voice, SMS and data subscriptions; and state actors regulate both everyday use of mobile phones and market activity around mobile phones. Ambivalence and disagreement about who owes what to whom is thus an integral feature of the moral economy of mobile phones.

This symposium reports on research in Fiji and Papua New Guinea funded by the Australian Research Council, including two documentary films. It concludes with a book launch for The Moral Economy of  Mobile Phones: Pacific Perspectives, an edited volume published in May 2018 by the Australian National University Press and is available for free download here.

Confirmed presenters include: Heather A. Horst (University of Sydney), Robert J. Foster (University of Rochester), Lucas Watt (RMIT University), Wendy Bai Magea (University of Goroka), Romitesh Kant (University of South Pacific/LaTrobe University), and luke gaspard (University of Sydney). The Moral Economy of  Mobile Phones: Pacific Perspectives will be launched by Professor Gerard Goggin (University of Sydney).

Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism and Social Media – Professor Axel Bruns, University of Queensland

Friday 24 August 2018, 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

MECO Seminar Room S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite

Social media users now engage almost instinctively in collective and collaborative gatewatching processes as they respond to major breaking news stories, as well as in their day-to- day sharing of interesting articles with their social media contacts. Meanwhile, existing media outlets are increasingly seeking to maximise the shareability of their sto ries via social media, and a number of new players are fundamentally built around providing ‘viral’ content. This talk shows how this impacts on news industry practices and approaches. It reviews the practices of everyday users as they engage with the news, and highlights how enterprising journalists have come to connect and engage with such users. It traces the conflicted responses of journalists and news outlets from their early dismissals to gradual engagement with social media, and asks whether, as journalism is subsumed into social media, news outlets can remain distinctive enough to survive.

Prof. Axel Bruns is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Professor in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism, Social Media, and the Public Sphere (2018), Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life and Beyond: From Production to Produsage (2008), and Gatewatching: Collaborative Online News Production (2005), and a co -editor of the Routledge Companion to Social Media and Politics (2016), Twitter and Society (2014), A Companion to New Media Dynamics (2012), and Uses of Blogs (2006). His current work focusses on the study of user participation in social media spaces such as Twitter, and its implications for our understanding of the contemporary public sphere, drawing especially on innovative new methods for analysing ‘big social data’.

See Axel’s research blog here and he tweets at @snurb_dot_info. More details on his research into social media can be found here.

Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media – Tarleton Gillespie

Tuesday August 28, 4pm – 6pm

John Woolley Common Room, N480

John Woolley Building, A20

University of Sydney

RSVP via Eventbrite


Most social media users want their chosen platforms free from harassment and porn. But they also want to see the content they choose to see. This means platforms face an irreconcilable contradiction: while platforms promise an open space for participation and community, every one of them imposes rules of some kind.

 

In the early days of social media, content moderation was hidden away, even disavowed. But the illusion of the open platform has, in recent years, begun to crumble. Today, content moderation has never been more important, or more controversial. In Custodians of the Internet, Tarleton Gillespie investigates how social media platforms police what we post online – and the societal impact of these decisions.

 

“I have been writing about the impact of platforms and the digital transformation for fifteen years,” said Gillespie. “This book explains how content moderation works: how the platforms think of their responsibilities, the way they create and articulate the rules, the labor behind the scenes, and recent efforts to automate it all.” Based on interviews with content moderators, creators, and consumers, this book contributes to the current debates about the public responsibilities of platforms, be it about harassment, data privacy, or political propaganda.

 

Gillespie argues that content moderation still receives too little public scrutiny. How and why platforms moderate can shape societal norms and alter the contours of public discourse, cultural production, and the fabric of society.

 

Tarleton Gillespie is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research New England, part of the Social Media Collective research group. He is an affiliated associate professor at Cornell University, in the Department of Communication and the Department of Information Science. He cofounded the blog Culture Digitally.

He is the author of Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (MIT, 2007), the co-editor of Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality, and Society (MIT, 2014); his newest book is Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media (Yale, 2018).

Media@Sydney Seminar Series, Semester 2

We are very pleased to announce our Semester 2 schedule for the  2018 Media@Sydney series in 2018. Events will be held in the John Woolley Building (A20) at the University of Sydney and will be followed by informal drinks.

Friday 3 August: Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage – Dr. Stephen Cushion (Cardiff University)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Friday 17 August: The Moral Economy of Mobile Phones Symposium and Book Launch – Prof. Heather Horst (University of Sydney), Prof. Robert Foster (University of Rochester), Lucas Watt (RMIT University), Wendy Bai Magea (University of Goroka), Romitesh Kant (LaTrobe University/University of the South Pacific), and Dr. lucas gaspard (RMIT University)

3.00pm – 5.30pm*, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Friday 24 August: Gatewatching and News Curation: Journalism and Social Media – Axel Bruns (University of Queensland)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Tuesday 28 August: Custodians of the Internet: Platforms, Content Moderation, and the Hidden Decisions that Shape Social Media – Tarleton Gillespie (Microsoft Research)

4.00pm – 6.00pm* John Woolley Common Room, N480, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Friday 31 August: No Seminar – 4S Conference in Sydney

Friday 14 September: Life in Antarctica: mediations, speculations, ethnographies – Juan Francisco Salazar (Western Sydney University)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Friday 21 September: This changes everything! What “the digital” means for the purposes and practices of education – Julian Sefton-Green (Deakin University)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building A20, University of Sydney

Friday 5 October: Digital Housekeeping: Living with Data – Heather Horst (University of Sydney) and Jolynna Sinanan (University of Sydney) and 

Oversharing, Normative Intimacy, and Gender in ‘Digital Intimate Publics – Amy Dobson (Curtin University)

as part of the Gender and Cultural Studies Seminar Series*, 2.00pm – 4.00pm, The Refectory, Main Quadrangle, University of Sydney 

Friday 12 October: Political Participation on Social, Civic and Computer Networks Francesco Bailo (University of Sydney)

3.00pm – 4.30pm, MECO Seminar Room, S226, John Woolley Building

*Special time or location