23/01/2006

CULTURAL ATTITUDES TOWARDS TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATION

International Conference on
CULTURAL ATTITUDES TOWARDS TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATION (CATaC'06)

28 June - 1 July 2006
University of Tartu, Estonia
http://www.catacconference.org

Conference theme:
Neither Global Village nor Homogenizing Commodification:
Diverse Cultural, Ethnic, Gender and Economic Environments

The biennial CATaC conference series continues to provide an 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 1990s' hopes for an "electronic global village" have largely been shunted
aside by the Internet's explosive diffusion. This diffusion was well described
by Marx - all that is solid melts into air - and was predicted by
postmodernists. The diffusion of CMC technologies quickly led to many and
diverse internets. A single "Internet", whose identity and characteristics
might be examined as a single unity, has not materialised. An initially
culturally and gender homogenous Internet came more and more to resemble an
urban metropolis. Along the way, in the commercialization of the Internet and
the Web, "cultural diversity" gets watered down and exchanges strong diversity
for a homogenous interchangeability. Such diversity thereby becomes commodified
and serves a global capitalism that tends to foster cultural homogenization.

CATaC'06 continues our focus on the intersections of culture, technology, and
communication, beginning with an emphasis on continued critique of the
assumptions, categories, methodologies, and theories frequently used to analyse
these. At the same time, CATaC'06 takes up our characteristic focus on ethics
and justice in the design and deployment of CMC technologies. We particularly
focus on developing countries facilitated by "on the ground" approaches in the
work of NGOs, governmental agencies, etc., in ways that preserve and foster
cultural identity and diversity. By simultaneously critiquing and perhaps
complexifying our theories and assumptions, on the one hand, and featuring
"best practices" approaches to CMC in development work, on the other hand,
CATaC'06 aims towards a middle ground between a putative "global village" and
homogenizing commodification. Such middle ground fosters cultural diversity,
economic and social development, and more successful cross-cultural co!
mmunication online.

Original full papers (especially those which connect theoretical frameworks with
specific examples of cultural values, practices, etc.: 10-20 pages) and short
papers (e.g. describing current research projects and preliminary results: 3-5
pages) are invited.

Topics of particular interest include but are not limited to:
- Culture isn't 'culture' anymore
- The Internet isn't the 'Internet' anymore
- Gender, culture, empowerment and CMC
- CMC and cultural diversity
- Ethics and justice
- Free/Open technology and communication
- Internet research ethics
- Cultural diversity and e-learning

SUBMISSIONS
All submissions will be peer reviewed by an international panel of scholars and
researchers and accepted papers will appear in the conference proceedings.
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.

Full papers (10-20 formatted pages) - 13 February 2006
Short papers (3-5 formatted pages) - 20 February 2006
Workshop submissions - 20 February 2006
Notification of acceptance - mid March 2006
Final formatted papers - 29 March 2006

There will be the opportunity for selected papers from this 2006 conference to
appear in special issues of journals. 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 and 2004 conference from
www.it.murdoch.edu.au/catac.

CONFERENCE CO-CHAIRS
Charles Ess, Drury University, USA, catac@it.murdoch.edu.au
Fay Sudweeks, Murdoch University, Australia, catac@it.murdoch.edu.au
PROGRAM CHAIR
Herbert Hrachovec, University of Vienna, Austria
CONFERENCE CO-VICE-CHAIRS
Pille Runnel, Tartu University, Estonia

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