Latest Issue of Dark Matter

There’s a nice article on recent viral events in the latest issue of Dark Matter…

On the Borders of the Political Event in the Age of Hashtags: From #BlackLivesMatter to #JeSuisCharlie by Oana Parvan   

“We choose the faction and unleash our social media gestures, engage in debates and sometimes take to the streets. But what triggers our affiliations and actions? What empathy patterns are activated in the process? How is this empathy constructed from below and above? And how can we build a critical stance around the way events affectively colonize our interiority and possibility of action?”

“What #BlackLivesMatter and #JeSuisCharlie reveal  is an uneasy political truth. No political emergence will be possible without conceiving the possibility of new alliances, and reflecting on privilege polarization. For the political is not locked in the Idea, but surrounds us. Giving a chance for unpredictable connections and yet unimagined possibles, might be a necessary prospect in the years to come, since, as Massumi claims:

What you can do, your potential, is defined by your connectedness, the way you’re connected and how intensely, not your ability to separate off and decide by yourself. Autonomy is always connective, it’s not being apart, it’s being in, being in a situation of belonging that gives you certain degrees of freedom, or powers of becoming, powers of emergence.[38]

About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. He has a PhD in social-cultural-digital contagion theory from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. He is a former art student who re-entered higher education in the UK as a mature student in the mid-1990s after a long stint as a gigging musician. His career in education has moved through various disciplines and departments, including a maths and computing faculty, sociology department and school of digital media and design His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018). He is organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK. As a co-founder and co-director of the public engagement initiatives, Club Critical Theory (CCT) and the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG), Sampson has developed a number of funded research projects and public events that aim to bring impactful critical theories into the community and local political sphere to approach a series of local challenges. These activities have included large conferences co-organized with local authorities looking at a range of policies relating to the revitalization of the Essex costal region, developments in the cultural industries as well as a series of community focused events on food cultures and policy, collaborations with arts groups and informal lectures/workshops in pubs and community centres. Director of the EmotionUX Lab at UEL. He occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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