Friday, December 01, 2006

Let's talk play.

Y'all, I am thinking of putting together a panel submission for AoIR 8.0 in Vancouver (Oct 18-20, 2007). The theme is Let's Play!, and I think this theme in particular lends itself to some good, innovative sociolinguistic work. There's so much that hasn't been touched (or at least published :) with verbal art online, linguistic strategies of play online (um, I would love for someone to do a "Meditations on Emoticons" sort of piece?), humor/irony/sarcasm online, humor as a valued genre particularly in textual talk (like social network sites), virtual flirting, etc etc. This is of course in addition to any work (here is where there HAS been some work) people have on language in gaming or playful *environments*. Maybe it would be nice even to have one meta or methodological paper, like, "What can linguistics tell us about identity/play/interaction/socialization online?" Because people at AoIR, most of whom aren't at all linguists, are usually interested to know how our work can inform theirs.

Anyone game? (so to speak) If yes, I guess we could use this as an organizing/brainstorming platform, though I'd rather do it via email. I will post the CFP below for those who haven't seen it or have forgotten about it. Note that panel submissions require a 500-750 word description of the panel theme, plus 200-word mini-descriptions of each paper (I would expect that 3-5 papers would be ideal), and submission deadline is Feb 1. Also note that if you were planning to submit your own paper, you'd want to think about the value of having it in a panel v. individual submission: if the panel isn't accepted, neither are any of the included individual papers. Soooo it's kind of a group risk-taking thing.
Internet Research 8.0: Let's Play!
International and Interdisciplinary Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Workshops: October 17, 2007
AoIR conference: October 18 20, 2007
Deadline for submissions: February 1, 2007

Let's Play

The Internet better, internet/s - is at once part of the background hum of the developed world and an exotic realm of fantasy and play. It is an essential, mundane part of daily life, and simultaneously radical, revolutionary, profane, and fun. Internet/s invite us to play. We surf, blog, role play, and chat in the interest of work, learning, and play. Serious technologies and applications invite playing around as a way to learn how to use them. Playful applications take root in serious business,
as online chat becomes a business communication tool. Games find applications in education, business, and war. Playful blogging evolves into a social and political force to be reckoned with. We play with our identity online, shaping current and future roles offline. The play goes on.

Our conference theme of play invites empirical research and theoretical reflection on how human beings 'seriously play' with one another on, via and through internet/s, on local, regional, and global scales. We call for papers that explore the intersection of the serious and the playful, the sacred and the profane, the revolutionary and the mundane, and fantasy and
the reality.


We call for papers, panel proposals, and presentations from any discipline, methodology, and community, and from conjunctions of multiple disciplines, methodologies and communities, that address the (playful) blurring of
boundaries online. The following TOPICS are suggestions simply intended to spark initial reflection and creativity:

- Mundanity implies normalcy, and thereby, the efforts to understand and regulate online interactions in ways that are analogous to and consistent with offline practices and norms (e.g., privacy protection, norms for community interaction, efforts to regulate information flows involving pornography, hate speech, etc.). As internet/s become interwoven with
ordinary life on multiple levels, in what ways do these alter ordinary life, and/or how do prevailing community and cultural practices reshape and 'tame' such internet/s and the interactions they facilitate?

- Global diffusion: how do internet/s, as they exponentially diffuse throughout the globe facilitate flows of information, capital, labor, immigration and play and what are the implications of these new flows for life offline?

- eLearning: how can such practices as distance learning and serious games utilize the liminal domain (the threshold world of dream and myth, in which important new skills, insights, and abilities are gained in the process of growing up) to go beyond traditional ways of learning? Are they necessarily better, or easier, to use or to learn from?

- Identity, community, and global communications: how will processes of identity play and development continue, and/or change as the role and place of the Internet in peoples lives shift in new ways including the expansion of mobile access to internet/s?

- E-health: what do new developments in sharing medical information online and expanding telemedicine technologies into new domains imply for traditional physician-centered medicine, patient privacy, etc.?

- Digital art: from downloading commercially-offered ringtones to facilitating cross-cultural / cross-disciplinary collaborations in the creation of art, internet/s expand familiar aesthetic experiences and open up new possibilities for aesthetic creativity: how are traditional understandings of aesthetic experience affected and how do new creative /
aesthetic / playful possibilities affect human 'users' of art?

- Games and gaming: the average gamer in North America is now a twenty-something whose lifestyle is more mainstream than adolescent. As games and gamers 'grow up' and as games continue their diffusion into new demographic categories while they simultaneously continue to push the envelopes of Internet and computer technologies what can we discern of new
possibilities for identity play, community building, and so forth?

Sessions at the conference will be established that specifically address the conference theme, and we welcome innovative, exciting, and unexpected takes on that theme. We also welcome submissions on topics that address social, cultural, political, economic, and/or aesthetic aspects of the Internet beyond the conference theme - e.g., in CSCW and other forms of online
collaboration, distance learning, etc. In all cases, we welcome disciplinary and interdisciplinary submissions as well as international collaborations from both AoIR and non-AoIR members.

We seek proposals for several different kinds of contributions. We welcome proposals for traditional academic conference papers, but we also encourage proposals for creative or aesthetic presentations that are distinct from a traditional written 'paper.'

We also welcome proposals for roundtable sessions that will focus on discussion and interaction among conference delegates, as well as organized panel proposals that present a coherent group of papers on a single theme.
- PAPERS (individual or multi-author) - submit abstract of 500-750 words
- CREATIVE OR AESTHETIC PRESENTATIONS - submit abstract of 500-750 words
- PANELS - submit a 500-750 word description of the panel theme, plus 250-500 word abstract for each paper or presentation
- ROUNDTABLE PROPOSALS - submit a statement indicating the nature of the
roundtable discussion and interaction

Papers, presentations and panels will be selected from the submitted proposals on the basis of multiple blind peer review, coordinated and overseen by the Program Chair. Each individual is invited to submit a proposal for 1 paper or 1 presentation. A person may also propose a panel session, which may include a second paper that they are presenting OR submit a roundtable proposal. You may be listed as co-author on additional papers as long as you are not presenting them.

i'm always down with the idea of a group panel, and i think the conference theme for this year kind of screams out for work on language and interaction. most conferences that allow for panel submissions will also consider the individual papers from panels that don't get accepted, so submitting as a panel rather than individually is really a sound idea. i may have a large potential conflict* with the conference date, but if not, i'll submit an abstract of the following paper:

to briefly sum it up, i've been participating in a polyamory message board community over the past few months. this was mostly out of interest in the discursive enactment of poly identity, since work on language and sexuality is primarily focused on gay/lesbian identity and secondarily focused on straight identity and really doesn't consider any other type of practice, identity, or desire from a sociolinguistic standpoint. what i've become interested in, though, is how the members of the community use romanticized and sexualized forms of verbal play to make relevant a poly identity. the research that i've seen on verbal play as 'flirting' has typically focused on straight heterosexual interactions that are very much reproductions of straight desire and identity, though, to my knowledge, they're not usually framed as such (being framed instead within the context of play within an informal medium or in terms of gendered power relations). to that end, i want to use the examples of play used within the online poly community to illustrate not only how the specific types of play used there function interactionally (to make relevant an identity, to adopt a specific stance, to authenticate a speaker), but how romanticized and sexualized verbal play in general can be seen as sites for enacting and reproducing various gender and sexual norms and/or identities. more detailed examples and discussion will be provided in the actual abstract. thoughts and comments are, of course, totally welcomed.

*as i've briefly mentioned to lauren, colorado is organizing its first interdisciplinary conference on culture, langage, and social practice next fall, and the date will either be the same as the aoir conference or two weeks prior to it. for those of you travel nuts, due to our selection of plenary speakers and our own faculty interests, the conference will be notably cmd-friendly.
idea of group panel sounds may count on me.

joshua! can u post the link for the conference that colorado is organizing. it sounds a like an intersting conferenc. who knows i may think of submitting one paper.
the official conference site doesn't drop until next year, but you can get the gist of it at the under-construction site. looks like a promising conference...who knows i may submit a paper to the conference :)
Hi guys! I'm definitely interested in helping put together a panel (though technically I'm not a linguist, I'm definitely linguist-friendly). I'm not quite sure what to write about, though I am intrigued by this "meditations on emoticons" idea...can you say more about what you meant by that, Lauren? Anyway, I'm sure I can come up with something.
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