Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies
Special Issue on Expertise and Engagement with/in Digital Media’
Vo1 21, no. 3 (August 2015)
Editors: Caroline Bassett, University of Sussex; Edgar Gómez Cruz, University of Leeds; Helen Thornham, University of Leeds
In an digitally saturated environment digital media users of all kinds, engaged in diverse areas of activity, are increasingly categorized in terms of their ability to use – they are regarded as natives, non-users, experts, literates, for instance. In these contexts the question (1) of how various forms of digital expertise develop, and (2) of how understandings of expertise come into being and come to operate, become increasingly important. Digital expertise might appear to be simply descriptive (of a particular capacity to use), or unproblematically normative (indicating an elevated level of engagement that may be viewed as desirable), however there are multiple understandings of what digital expertise ‘is’ (what kind of skilled engagement with digital materials it delineates/demands/entails), and multiple ways in which it is judged and valued. Our contention is that these conceptions of expertise are contextually produced; they intersect with various social categories and discourses, and they come to operate in social contexts with some force. Our starting point is that digital expertise is at once material and a social construction.
The focus of the special issue is motivated by conceptual and critical questions around the values and qualities and activities increasingly claimed and collate with ‘expertise’: the recourse to authoritative voices as embodying particular forms of knowledge, the claims made around data and information, the valuing of particular modes of expression, mediation or participation over others: all of these locate and conceptualise expertise – and consequently, knowledge, literacy, mediation, participation – in particular ways. Who – or what – is a digital expert and what is evidenced in the name of expertise, and who can be an expert and who cannot; these issues signal new power relations that are emerging around use, and for instance gender, knowledge, data and materials. As expertise becomes increasingly conflated with experience, literacy or knowledge; as expertise is seemingly evidenced in online co-created or curated content; and as statements and mined data are used and claimed in new ways as expert, what we mean by ‘expertise’ clearly needs investigation.
This special issue of Convergence seeks to bring together innovative theoretical and methodological frameworks that explore the conception, practice and creation of expertise in relation to digital technologies. We invite contributions that engage with expertise addressing themes including (but not confined to):
- What is expertise in a digital environment and what does it look like?
- What new modes and practices of expertise are emerging, and what kinds of cultural
- products result?
- What are the implications of these new forms of cultural products for communities and
- How do cultures and communities become better enabled to engage with, use, make sense of and even make digital media?
- What is the relationship between expertise, experience, literacy and knowledge?
- How do digital transformations reconfigure expertise and what are the implications of this for knowledge, literacy, use and experience?
- Where is expertise located – i.e. is it bound up in the conception of the user, or created and claimed alongside new data configurations, and to what extent do such locations matter?
We are accepting abstracts for research articles of between 6000-7000 words and for positional papers of between 1500-2000 words in length. Abstracts should be of 300 words in length. Email abstracts to Edgar Gomez Cruz e.gomez(at)leeds.ac.uk. The deadline for abstracts is January 17th 2014, and the deadline for full submissions is 25th July 2014. Submissions should follow the formatting guide of the journal Convergence (see here)
All research articles will be peer reviewed.
Abstract Deadline: 17th January 2014 e.gomez(at)leeds.ac.uk
Decision on Abstracts: 7th February 2014
Article Submission deadline: 25th July 2014 e.gomez(at)leeds.ac.uk
Final submission deadline/review process complete: December 2014
For publication in August 2015