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<nettime> CfP Journal of Peer Production: Alternative Internets
Johan SÃderberg on Tue, 9 Dec 2014 16:54:12 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> CfP Journal of Peer Production: Alternative Internets

   States are attempting to consolidate their control over the
   Internet, turning it into an instrument for minute surveillance,
   whilst a handful of tech-corporations seek to use it as a means
   to manipulate human behaviour toward their own objectives and
   siphon off the wealth from local and national markets. In
   response, alternative technologies have arisen, aiming to restore
   the Internet's initial values of net neutrality, distributed
   control, freedom of speech, and self-organization. Community
   networks, offline networks, darknets, peer-to-peer systems,
   encryption, anonymization overlays, digital currencies, and
   distributed online social networks appear today as examples of
   alternative technologies aiming at emancipation, redistribution,
   and maximal autonomy. However, these tools are as ambiguous as the
   contradictory values and claims that have been invested in them. We
   can therefore expect alternative infrastructures to be appropriated
   for ends deemed illegitimate, such as tax evasion or arms trading,
   thus renewing the calls for restoring "law and order" on the

   Can we learn from the past and avoid the transformation of the
   utopian promises of these technologies into a dystopian future as,
   arguably, is happening to the promises of the early Internet?

   In order to address such concerns, this special Journal of Peer
   Production issue seeks to document and critically assess past
   and ongoing efforts to alter the commercial development process
   of mainstream Internet technologies in order to build viable
   alternatives. What are the futures awaiting these alternatives,
   which contradictions and ambiguities will they undergo, and which
   steps can be taken today to avoid failures and disappointments?

   Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

   o Technical, social, political, economic and legal hurdles faced by
   alternative projects.
   o The evolution of utopian imaginaries when mediated through
   socio-technical artifacts and the conflicting interests of multiple
   o The strategic trade-off between "voice and exit": going off-grid,
   developing offline and online alternative networks, or engaging in the
   public sphere on mainstream platforms.
   o The politics of self-organization: actors, local and global
   institutions, trust, design, regulation, ambiguities. What is an
   "alternative" imagined to be, how is it concretely realised?
   o Lessons learned from the history of the Internet and other
   communcation networks.
   o Utopias, dystopias, and pragmatic imaginaries of the future Internet
   and its role in society.
   o How market or state actors develop their own visions of alternative
   Internets to foster business interests (e.g. the proposition for a
   tiered Internet by dominant telecom operators) or facilitate social
   control (e.g. Iran's "halalnet").
   o Hijackings and détournements of existing infrastructures to serve
   purposes other than those first intended.
   o The environmental challenges raised by communications technologies
   and possible responses for ensuring their sustainability and resilience
   in the face of the mounting ecological crisis.

   Submission abstracts of 300-500 words are due by February 8,
   2015 and should be sent to alternets {AT} peerproduction.net. All
   peer reviewed papers will be reviewed according to Journal of
   Peer Production guidelines. Full papers and materials (peer
   reviewed papers around 8,000 words; testimonies, self-portraits and
   experimental formats up to 4,000 words) are due by June 31st, 2015
   for review.

   While the issue will be mainly comprised of academic papers, we
   also welcome 1-page poster-like "visual", more or less artistic,
   submissions, without format restrictions, on stories from the
   past (alternatives to the current Internet that didn't survive),
   today's alternative technologies, real-life experiences and case
   studies, as well as future imaginaries. These contributions which
   could range from diagrams and cognitive maps to paintings, photos,
   installations, even poems, will be included as an appendix to the
   main volume. The deadline for submission is June 31st, 2015.

   Editors: Félix Tréguer (EHESS), Panayotis Antoniadis (ETH Zurich),
   Johan Söderberg (Göteborgs Universitet)

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