Social networking platforms, mobile phone technology, and ubiquitous data-gathering software have become enmeshed with daily life for most people in developed, western nations. Part of this stems from the fact that communication technologies have afforded users with considerable benefits and luxuries. Indeed, social applications exist to monitor health and weight, to aid with study and research, and to help users share information about restaurants, nightspots, and other social venues. However, these benefits manifest only through the collection of data into constant and ever-expanding archives of behaviors and lifestyles. These archives facilitate how social platforms and software work autonomously to offer users suggestions regarding health choices, friendships, and professional contacts, or what Jörgen Skågsby (2012) calls “serendipitous” suggestions. Whether through the click of a mouse, a keystroke, or a press of a touchscreen, our activities can be (and often are) tracked by hundreds of companies, organizations, governments, and individuals. Log into Facebook and you receive customized advertisements from your web searches. Google offers personalized search results based upon complex algorithms. Without question, companies like Facebook, Google, BlueKai, DoubleClick, and ScoreCard Research know our web habits and attitudes.
Because of this, we have seemingly grown comfortable to the point of sharing our personal identities, habits, and attitudes with companies in exchange for “free” or customized services and benefits (Carey and Burkell, 2009). However, with recent news events about the National Security Agency’s position on collecting data from Internet companies, along with the events surrounding NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden (and the subsequent media frenzy), the problematic nature of “dataveillance,” or the surveillance of the aforementioned archives of data, becomes apparent. Indeed, scholarship and research in the field of surveillance studies has enabled inter- and multidisciplinary work engaged with extending Michel Foucault’s metaphor of the panopticon (Elmer, 2012; Bogard, 2012; Elden, 2003; Lyon, 2001), researching surveillance connected with health and legal professions (Raab, 2012; French, 2009) and more recently covering ground with big data. The truth of the matter, however, is that questions of dataveillance and privacy extend across fields such as computer and information science, rhetoric, media studies and cultural studies in such a way that each new vantage provided by different disciplinary perspectives will grant access to unexplored questions of privacy, security, online identity, and how these tie into the construction of subjectivity and agency. With the understanding that further interdisciplinary work from scholars is needed to address the aforementioned questions, Itineration: Cross-Disciplinary Studies in Rhetoric, Media, and Culture invites projects that engage questions of data collection and dataveillance. Some possible areas of inquiry may include, but are not limited to:
Interested parties are invited to submit multimedia projects of varying style, form, and content. We are especially interested in projects that push the boundaries in their composition and presentation. In short, please experiment. Play. Learn a new trick. To that end, please note that Itineration no longer publishes text-based articles (“traditional” essay format). Please send any questions concerning project design, format, technical specifications, etc. to Senior Editor and Technical Specialist, Gerald Jackson, at geraldsjackson at gmail dot com.
Submissions should be emailed directly to Special Edition editor, Estee Beck, at esteenbeck at gmail dot com. Deadline for submissions is February 1st, 2014. Submission accepted for publication will be published on a rolling basis upon completing the editorial process.