***Opting Out of Pandemic Digitalities: DigitalDisengagement and Covid-19*** Edited by Adi Kuntsman, Sam Martin and EsperanzaMiyake Under consideration by Bristol University Press

 Call for Contributions

Emerging from the concept of “digital disengagement” – aframework developed by the editors to examine digital media from the point ofdisconnection, refusal,  and opting out –this book brings into interdisciplinary dialogue two critical key areas ofconcern in the context of COVID-19. The first one is what we call “pandemicdigitalities” – the rapid and extensive increase, reliance and shifts inmeaning of digital technologies in the age of COVID-19 and post-COVIDfuturities across various spheres in science, technology and society: frompublic health, to education, to politics, to everyday life. The second concernsthe politics of refusal, the right and even the viability to opt out of digitaltechnologies, networks, tracing surveillance, and databases.

 At this unique moment in time, both have global spreadand significance: the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every society globally; sodo digital technologies and networked communication. Crucially, “global” shouldnot be mistaken for “universal” – while both the virus and digital technologiesare spread around the world, their adoption, use and impact are profoundlydifferent both across, and within different countries, societies andcommunities. Within the growing field of Disconnection Studies, research onopting out and digital refusal has focused almost exclusively on “theWest”/“global North”. To this date, no literature addresses in great depth theimplications, consequences and (im)possibilities of opt out in the quicklychanging digital landscape and lived realities of the COVID-19 pandemic whichhas forced a rapid and sudden digitisation in times of crisis.

 Taking a critical global perspective, this timely editedcollection thus has two key aims: firstly, to explore digital disengagement andopt out through the lens of the global pandemic; and secondly, to explorepandemic digitalities through the critical perspective of digitaldisengagement. As we are arguing elsewhere, digital disengagement is acontinuum, rather than a dichotomy, containing a range of individual andinstitutional practices, legal frameworks, and technologies, as well as degreesof disengagement that shrink and expand elastically across time and space. Anddigital disengagement is also a matter of justice, operating within andvis-à-vis political forces and forms of structural injustice. How do thesetimes and spaces of digital disengagement open and close in the era of COVID-19and post-COVID futurities? What does digital justice look like at the time ofthe pandemic?

Looking at digital disengagement through the lens ofCOVID-19 and at the pandemic through the lens of the pandemic, we invitecontributions that would take a variety of perspectives: legal, social,cultural, political, and economic. We seek contributions that address, but arenot limited to, the following in the context of digital disengagement and thepandemic:

 • Inequalities (e.g. race, gender, sexuality, class,ability) • Individual versus collective concerns (e.g. individual data rightsversus collective data justice, individual freedoms versus social responsibility,collective good or herd needs) • Health and wellbeing (e.g. Zoom fatigue, LongCovid, lockdown) • Digital economies • Key workers, home-schooling and digitallabour • Spaces, times (e.g. lockdown, social-distancing) • Increasedsurveillance (e.g. track-and-trace, digital health apps, WFH/remote working) •New spaces of digital disengagement • Environment (e.g. extractive economies,regeneration and sustainability) • Social Media (e.g. misinformation and fakenews, media saturation)

 Format: contributions of up to 5,000 words length, in avariety of formats (creative and academic, autoethnographic, reports, criticalcommentary and more).

Please send a 500 words abstract to [log in to unmask]  by May 10th 2021. Authors will be notified byMay 31st, with full submissions due by end of December 2021.

Dr Adi Kuntsman, Reader in Digital Politics
Programme Leader, MA in International Relations and Global Communications 
Coordinator, PhD pathway in Digital Politics
Department of Politics | Manchester Metropolitan University
Geoffrey Manton Building|  Manchester | M15 6LL| Web|
Online office hours (term time only):
Thursday 1-2pm and Friday 4-5pm on Teams (chat or call).

Latest publications:
--“Reverberation,Affect and Digital Politics of Responsibility”,
in Boler and Davis, AffectivePolitics of Digital Media:
Propaganda by Other Means, Routledge.
--“Environmentalmedia amidst the COVID-19 pandemic”,
rapid response special issue of Journal of Environmental Media
(co-edited with Becky Alexis-Martin and Liu Xin)

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Journal of Environmental Media: Ingenta Connect Table Of Contents




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