M/C Journal 'obsolete' Issue

full name / name of organization: 
M/C Journal (http://journal.media-culture.org.au)


M/C - Media and Culture
is calling for contributors to the 'obsolete' issue of

M/C Journal

M/C Journal is looking for new contributors. Founded in 1998, M/C is a crossover journal between the popular and the academic, and a blind- and peer-reviewed journal.

To see what M/C Journal is all about, check out our Website, which contains all the issues released so far, at . To find out how and in what format to contribute your work, visit .

Call for Papers: 'obsolete'
Edited by Jason Jacobs and Jason Wilson

"Obsolescence is the leading product of our national infatuation with technology."
-- Jonathan Franzen, in "Scavenging"

Since digital technologies have emerged as a focus for media and cultural studies, so too has an overwhelming concern with the new. New media scholarship often veers between utopian, pessimistic and "revolutionary" accounts of the "newest" media and practices. But newness is relative, and must be seen in relation to its opposite, obsolescence.

Specific technologies' passages to obsolescence are not sudden, but stealthy and gradual – Sterne and other scholars point out that obsolescence comes after extended periods where newness fades in the historical life of technologies, and the obsolete can be redeemed. Obsolescence is usually reversible, as nostalgia industries work to resuscitate the cultural value of faded technologies (for example, seeking out the "analogue" as a marker of distinction). Obsolescence can mean the supersession of the technological capacities of a technology – as in the replacement of analogue phone networks – or the phasing out of particular uses of a technology – as in the earliest videogames' demonstration to audiences of the potential of television beyond its uses as a channel for broadcasting. Observing persistent use of obsolescent technologies can reveal social divides, or determined resistance to the onward march of technology. In a world increasingly preoccupied with environmental concerns, technologies' structural obsolescence has broader ramifications.

This issue of M/C Journal seeks accounts of how old technologies survive, how and why people preserve or make do with them, and tales of the shadings and gradations between the latest thing and yesterday's gadget, between retro-chic and junk.

The concept of the obsolete raises a range of questions. In aesthetics: how do technologies and texts pass from the sublime "new", to the ugliness of obsolescence, to the recovered beauty of the collectable and the antique. In policy terms, what of the large numbers of people struggling on with obsolete communication technologies, on obsolete networks? Is policy and scholarship biased to early adopters? More critically, how does the constant contemporary production of obsolescence square with an ethics of waste? Does the distinction struggled over by early adopters reveal something about other divides – the city and the country, class, gender?

Contact the editors at obsolete@journal.media-culture.org.au, and submit articles of 3,000 words in length through our Website at http://journal.media-culture.org.au/

Article deadline: 8 May 2009
Issue release date: 1 July 2009

M/C Journal was founded (as "M/C - A Journal of Media and Culture") in 1998 as a place of public intellectualism analysing and critiquing the meeting of media and culture. Contributors are directed to past issues of M/C Journal for examples of style and content, and to the submissions page for comprehensive article submission guidelines. M/C Journal articles are blind peer-reviewed.

Further M/C Journal issues scheduled for 2009:

'deaf': article deadline 3 July 2009, release date 26 Aug. 2009
'climate': article deadline 28 Aug. 2009, release date 21 Oct. 2009
'disclose': article deadline 23 Oct. 2009, release date 16 Dec. 2009
M/C - Media and Culture is located at .
M/C Journal is online at http://journal.media-culture.org.au/.
All past issues of M/C Journal on various topics are available there.


Dr Axel Bruns

General Editor editor@media-culture.org.au
M/C - Media and Culture http://www.media-culture.org.au/