Without Sin: Taboo and Freedom within Digital Media, Leonardo Electronic Almanac
This special edition will explore the notion of the moral economy of human activity and how this is translates (or not) within digital media. John Turner (1982), a key figure in social identity theory, discussed how vital being a member within a social group is in developing a concept of self. A current hypothesis (Turkle 2011) is that technology has introduced mechanisms that bypass traditional concepts of both community and identity. If we consider that contemporary social technologies have significantly changed our practical reality, a reality where human experience and technical artifact have become beyond intertwined, but for many interwoven, inseparable – then the media anxiety over the usage of social networking websites (Greenfield 2009) is predictable, an indicator of the maturity and pervasive nature of the media in question.
Moral panics have peppered popular culture throughout the ages, however the nature of human activity facilitated by digital media remains difficult to witness, describe or evidence given the rate of technological change and the volumes of ‘dark’ Net (Bergman 2001). This (current) unchartable characteristic provides rich opportunity to exercise freedom, desire and explore the taboo. Do a priori regulative rules govern social behavior online? If not what/whom guides our behavior? These questions are especially pertinent to the fields of Law, Sociology, Media Theory, Ethics and Philosophy. Using a multidisciplinary perspective, this edition will provide a critical impression/description of contemporary human activity within digital media, an analysis of the media ‘fears’ and explore any implications for existing concepts of social identity.
Proposals are invited from the humanities, social scientists, artists and any researchers or professionals that work with issues related to media law and ethics. Proposals that utilize primary experience from a ‘born digital’ perspective, critical practice or papers that cite new empirical data would be particularly welcome. We also welcome proposals that contain provocative, radical or ‘taboo’ propositions.
The articles can take the form of traditional academic papers that will be refereed or more creative approaches to the proposed theme.