Mediating (in)securities

 

University of Sheffield, Wednesday 27 September 2017

 

The European migration crisis raises crucial and difficult questions in its mediation. How the media represents crises fundamentally impacts how the public understand the complex drivers and consequences of different forms of mobility. The communication of needs, problems and solutions within the crisis is essential to garner public support for the allocation of resources or the implementation of policy.

How the powerful and the powerless are being represented shapes discourses about these needs, creates categories of ‘us’ and ‘them’, enables integration or segregation, and raises debates important for how we understand identity and citizenship in our modern world. These are questions of importance for a range of state and non-state actors, corporations, NGO’s and communities across Europe whose needs, identities, activities and relationships are intertwined with migration. Moreover, mediation refers to the practices of advocates, agencies and authorities engaged in multiple (complementary and conflicting) forms of representation.

The digital age raises questions about the use (and misuse) of information and media technologies for social control and policing borders – from campaigns of disinformation and propaganda to the visualisation of mobility via data. The crisis has also affirmed the power of single iconic images of suffering, death and trauma, as well as individuals’ increasing dependency on the affordances of technologies.

Indeed, individual documentation of perilous journeys via smartphone has brought us closer to understanding lived realities within the crisis. At issue here is authorisation within a contested economy of mediation.

This workshop is concerned to examine the politics of mediation at play within the current
crisis, and the way in which new forms of documentation, representation and visualisation are proliferating within the migration crisis. Questions to be explored will include (but are not limited to):

• How are dominant forms of media challenged (and complemented) by new mediations?

• How do visual and other media artefacts circulate within the crisis, and with what
effect?

• How do technologies enhance (and impede) vulnerable subjects’ strategies for survival?

We invite paper proposals (abstracts of 200 words) addressing these and related questions in different areas from a theoretical, empirical, and/or normative perspective.

The workshop is particularly interested in papers that examine the social, political and ethical dynamics of mediating knowledge about (and for) mobile subjects within the contemporary crisis.

Please send abstracts to Emma Briant (e.briant@sheffield.ac.uk) by Friday 28 July 2017.