Immateriality, mobility and the network (ANTHROMOB)

Jessika Nilsson (University of Leuven)
Start time:
31 July, 2014 at 14:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

By examining mobilities rather than connectivities, the panel serves as an ethnographic and theoretical attempt to challenge and expand notions of network theory and assemblages of belonging

Long abstract:

This panel aims to problematize the static metaphors found within much of network theory. The language of social network theory often casts projects in terms of their connectivity, neglecting material and immaterial mobilities. The increasing proliferation of technologies such as cellular data systems or infrastructure projects which enable new forms of mobility, are just some of the many recent developments that force us to question the conceptual lens through which we view networks. We welcome papers that study the (intimate) relationships and collaborations enabled through technologies and the ways in which they function as a major tool for the re-assembling of networks throughout the world, both "traditional" and otherwise. Panelists are encouraged to critically engage with concepts such as "actor-network theory", "social network analysis" or "assemblages" and papers may expand the framework of network theory or dismiss it altogether. The (potential for) innovations stemming from re-defining, re-configuring and re-purposing of mobile technologies are of particular interest. The panel seeks to challenge notions of modern-day affiliation and association by taking into account societies labelled both "developed" and "backward". Panellists are encouraged to probe possibilities for bringing about new orders of communication and collaboration, ones that break boundaries of tradition, drive innovation, perhaps even spur "revolution" - be it through social media, mobile phones, mobile banking or other technologies. The panel has no geographic focus and papers can either be entirely conceptual, or draw upon particular ethnographic case studies.