The StoryLab Research Institute at Anglia Ruskin University and the ERC-funded Project “Situating Free Speech: European Parrhesia in Comparative Perspective” at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, are hosting a workshop on the topic of “media manipulation”.
Manipulation—of attention, opinion, action—has been a salient concern in the recent Euro-American takes on digital media and their role in politics. While the question of media and power is by no means new, attending to how manipulation is imagined and organised at various scales in diverse historical and geographical contexts promises a fresh perspective. We therefore invite contributions that explore the relationship between ve...rnacular ideologies of mediated influence and political economies of manipulative interventions both in and beyond Western democracies.
Focusing on ideologies, we propose to examine the various ways in which people imagine agents, objects, mechanisms and media of manipulation. What cultural assumptions about agency and autonomy, freedom and constraint, causation and responsibility inform understandings of manipulation? How do cultural ideas of action frame manipulation as practice; what narratives and technologies of control do they inform? And what forms does manipulation take in response to these ideologies in the context of political orders other than contemporary liberal democracies?
The focus on political economies brings attention to the role of manipulation in capitalism, opening a view on power and profit as manipulation. How is manipulation, as an exercise of power, organised and mediated in various technological, cultural, and social settings? Who manipulates, by what means, and to what effect? What modes of manipulation do specific media technologies afford? Finally, how is manipulation articulated in relation to digital media practices and economies in non-liberal regimes, for instance, in Russia or China?
The Workshop will take place at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge Campus, Lord Ashcroft Building, LAB 309.