Acting (on) the text: the case of new media Synthesis 7 (2014) (Deadline 15/01/2013)

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Synthesis 7 (2014) Call for Papers
Acting (on) the text: the case of new media

There is a tendency with new media technologies towards information exchange via interaction. With applications such as hypertexts, pervasive games, and social network sites, new media are characterised by flexibility in data morphology and manipulation, including generating, structuring, storing, and sharing data. While the reader becomes user (and often co-author) rather than recipient, new technologies not only transform the materiality of the text as a container of information, but also the activity of reading and writing and its theorisation in new (meta)spaces.
The rise of new media calls for reconsiderations of binaries such as author/reader, producer/consumer, and source centre/periphery, the role of the participating audience, and the nature of information exchange. Such re-articulation(s) could further be situated in relation to the political impetus of technological developments and the new ways of engaging and performing the world that these enable. Put differently, new media alter the material applications and critical potential of the networks of production and dissemination of information, as well as the communities within which these operate and help create. As such, the activity of reading/writing in new media becomes a particular material and social practice that can open up and create new, more democratic spaces.
This guest issue of Synthesis invites a critical discussion of new media aiming to re-examine the relations across information, user, and medium under a new paradigm of interactivity, and the pressing questions of ethics and responsibility as a digital divide persists in our globalised age. What is the social value of these new reading/writing activities and the spaces that they create? What is the role of the user from literary, cultural, and sociological perspectives? How does the dialectic between materiality and virtuality affect our conceptualisation of literary and artistic practice? With special focus on cultural, societal, and political implications, we invite reflections on the modes, effects, and theorisations of acting (on) the text in new media. As a practice, this leads to a new kind of collective: from collective production to the enhancing and shaping of communities, and to collective action.
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
• Digital cultures: reading/writing as a social activity and the rhetoric of participation
• Who owns the open text? Co-authoring, appropriation, and activism
• The multimodal text: trans-media adaptations, sociological approaches to the performativity of the text, cognition, and perception
• Hybrid spaces across the private and public sphere: from information exchange to social interaction
• Pervasive games, augmented reality, and the societal impact of new technologies
• Art's social practices, community projects, and formulations of identity
• Re-articulation(s) of the audience, medium, and the space of information exchange, and their critical and political potential
• The power of new media technologies as instruments of propaganda and control, and the centre/periphery binary
• Neoliberal virtualisation of 'choice': how real are the end-user's choices?
Article proposals of 800-1000 words, including a biographical note of 300 words, should be sent to the issue editors Eve Kalyva ( and Christos Physentzides ( by 15 January 2013. Authors will be notified by 1 March 2013, and full articles of 6000-7000 words should be submitted by 15 October 2013. For further information, including submission guidelines, see the Synthesis website,