5th ICTs and Society-Conference: The Internet and Social Media at a
Crossroads: Capitalism or Commonism? Perspectives for Critical Political
Economy and Critical Theory.
Part of the ISIS Summit Vienna 2015: Information Society at the
Crossroads: Response and Responsibility of the Sciences of Information.
Vienna University of Technology.
June 3-7, 2015.
The information society has come with the promise to restore
information as a commons. The promise has not yet proven true. Instead,
we face trends towards the commercialisation and commoditisation of all
information; towards the totalisation of surveillance and the extension
of the battlefield to civil society through information warfare; towards
disinfotainment overflow; towards a collapse of the technological
The Vienna Summit is a multi-conference and is at the same time the 5th
ICTs and Society-Conference: The Internet and Social Media at a
Crossroads: Capitalism or Commonism? Perspectives for Critical Political
Economy and Critical Theory.
Given that the information society and the study of information face a
world of crisis today and are at a crossroads, also the future of the
Internet and social media are in question. The 5th ICTs and Society
Conference therefore wants to focus on the questions: What are the main
challenges that the Internet and social media are facing in capitalism
today? What potentials for an alternative, commonist Internet are there?
What are existing hindrances for such an Internet? What is the
relationship of power structures, protest movements, societal
developments, struggles, radical reforms, etc. to the Internet? How can
critical political economy and critical theory best study the Internet
and social media today?
Presentations and submissions are organised in the form of 23 panel
topics (ICT&S1-ICT&S23; please indicate the panel identification number
to which you submit in your submisison):
* ICT&S1 The Internet and Critical Theory:
What does it mean to study the Internet, social media and society today
in a critical way? What are Critical Internet Studies, Critical
Political Economy and Critical Theories of Social Media?
* ICT&S2 The Internet, Karl Marx, and Marxist Theory:
How can classical forms of critical theory and critical political
economy – e.g. the works of e.g. Karl Marx, the Frankfurt School,
Critical Political Economy of the Media and Communication, Critical and
Marxist Cultural Studies, Socialist Feminism, Theories of Imperialism,
Raymond Williams’ cultural materialism, etc – be used for understanding
the Internet and social media today?
* ICT&S3 The Internet, Commodities and Capitalism:
What is the role of the Internet and social media in the context of the
commodity logic in contemporary capitalism?
* ICT&S4 The Political Economy of Online Advertising
How can we best critically understand, analyse and combat the role of
advertising on the Internet and the role of online advertising in
capitalism? What are the problems of online advertising culture? How
would a world without advertising and an advertising-free Internet look
* ICT&S5 The Internet and Power:
How do power structures, exploitation, domination, class, digital
labour, commodification of the communication commons, ideology, and
audience/user commodification, and surveillance shape the Internet and
social media? What is the relationship of exploitation and domination on
* ICT&S6 Raymond Williams’ Cultural Materialism and the Internet:
How can we use theoretical insights from Raymond Williams’ cultural
materialism for critically understanding the Internet and social media
* ICT&S7 Dallas Smythe and the Internet:
How can we use insights from Dallas Smythe’s political economy of
communication for critically understanding the Internet and social media
* ICT&S8 Critical Cultural Studies Today: Stuart Hall, Richard Hoggart
and the Internet:
What is the legacy of Stuart Hall and Richard Hoggart’s versions of
cultural studies for critically understanding the Internet? What kind of
cultural studies do we need in the 21st century? And what is in this
context the relationship of culture and capitalism and the relationship
of critical cultural studies to Marxist theory?
* ICT&S9 The Frankfurt School and the Internet:
How can insights of various generations of the Frankfurt School be used
for critically theorising the Internet? What are commonalities and
differences between a Frankfurt School approach and other forms of
critical theory for understanding the Internet?
* ICT&S10 Marxist Semiotics, Marxist Linguistics, Critical Psychology,
Marxism and the Internet:
How can Marxist semiotics and Marxist theories of language, information,
psychology and communication (e.g. Ferruccio Rossi-Landi, Valentin
Voloshinov, Klaus Holzkamp, Georg Klaus, Lev Vygotsky, Aleksei Leontiev,
Mikhail Bakhtin, etc.) be used today for critically understanding the
* ICT&S11 The Internet and Global Capitalism:
What is the role of the Internet and social media in contemporary global
capitalism? What is the role of developing countries, especially Africa,
and emerging economies such as China and India in the world of the
Internet and social media?
* ICT&S12 The Internet and Neoliberalism with Chinese Characteristics:
Chinese WWW platforms such as Baidu, Taobao, Qq, Sina, Weibo, etc. are
besides Californian platforms the most prominent ones on the web. What
is the role of social media in Chinese capitalism? What is the role of
the Internet in networked working class struggles in China?
* ICT&S13 The Political Economy of Digital Labour:
What is digital labour and how do exploitation and surplus-value
generation work on the Internet? Which forms of exploitation and class
structuration do we find on the Internet, how do they work, what are
their commonalities and differences? How does the relation between toil
and play change in a digital world? How do classes and class struggles
look like in 21st century informational capitalism?
* ICT&S14 The Political Economy of the Internet and the Capitalist State
How does the relationship of capitalism, state power, and the Internet
look like today? What is the role of state surveillance and surveillance
ideologies in policing the crisis of capitalism? How does the
relationship of the Internet and state power’s various forms of
regulation, control, repression, violence and surveillance look like and
what is the influence of capitalism on state power and vice versa in the
context of the Internet?
* ICT&S15 Ideology Critique 2.0: Ideologies of and on the Internet:
What are ideologies of and on the Internet, web 2.0, and social media,
how do they work, and how can they be deconstructed and criticised?
* ICT&S16 Hegel 2.0: Dialectical Philosophy and the Internet:
What contradictions, conflicts, ambiguities, and dialectics shape 21st
century information society and social media? How can we use Hegel and
Marxist interpretations of Hegel for critically understanding Internet
* ICT&S17 Capitalism and Open Access Publishing:
What changes has academic publishing been undergoing in contemporary
capitalism? What are the potentials of academic open access publishing
for the re-organisation of the publishing world ? What problems do
non-commercial open access publishing face in capitalism and capitalist
academia? How can these problems be overcome? What are the problems of
capitalist forms of open access publishing? What progressive political
measures and demands should be made in order to foster non-commercial
open access publishing?
* ICT&S18 Class Struggles, Social Struggles and the Internet:
What is the role of counter-power, resistance, struggles, social
movements, civil society, rebellions, uproars, riots, revolutions, and
political transformations in 21st century information society and how
(if at all) are they connected to social media? What struggles are
needed in order to establish a commonist Internet and a 21st century
democratic-commonist society? How can we use critical theory for
interpreting phenomena such as online leaking, Edward Snowden,
WikiLeaks, Wikipedia, federated social networks, Anonymous, hacktivism,
Pirate Parties, privacy advocates, the free/libre/open source (FLOSS)
movement, the open source, open hardware and open content movement,
etc., and what is the relationships of such political expressions to
capitalism, anti-capitalism, liberalism, and socialism?
* ICT&S19 Critical/Radical Internet Studies, the University and Academia
What are the challenges and problems for teaching and conducting
research about the Internet a critical and radical perspective? What can
be done to overcome existing limits and problems?
* ICT&S20 The Internet and the Left:
How could a 21st century Left best look like and what is the role of the
Internet for such a Left? What is the historical, contemporary, and
possible future relationship of Critical Internet Studies and the Left?
What is the role of the Internet in left-wing movements? What problems
do such movements face in relation to the media, communications, the
Internet, and social media?
* ICT&S21 Anti-Capitalist Feminism and the Internet Today:
What is the role of and relationship of identity politics and
anti-capitalism for feminist studies of the Internet today? How can we
best study capitalist patriarchy in the context of the Internet and
* ICT&S22 The Internet, Right-Wing Extremism and Fascism Today:
How do far-right movements and parties use the Internet and social
media? How should a left-wing anti-fascist strategy that combats online
right-wing extremism look like?
* ICT&S23 An Alternative Internet:
What is a commonist/communist Internet? What is an alternative Internet?
What are alternative social media? How do they relate to the commons and
commonism as a 21st century form of communism? Which problems do
alternative Internet platforms face? What needs to be done in order to
overcome these problems?
Please submit an extended abstract of 750-2000 words:
First register and then select the conference “ISIS Summit Vienna 2015”
and the conference stream “ICTS 2015”
Only one submission per person will be considered
Please indicate the number/ID of the panel to which you are submitting
at the start of your abstract (ICTSxx). Submissions without panel
identifier or that fall outside the topics covered by the 23 panels will
not be further considered.
February 27, 2015
120 Euros (early bird registration in the ICTs and Society conference
stream, registration no later than April 3, 2015)