Altug Akin (Izmir University of Economics, Turkey) – Tractors, Development and Communication: Marshall Plan Films about Turkey produced by British Filmmakers
This talk is based on the findings of BA-supported research collaboration between University of Westminster and Izmir University of Economics on the films produced as a part of the Marshall Plan (MP) communication campaign, conducted in the US aid-receiving countries, including Turkey, between 1948 and 1952. Focusing on MP films about Turkey produced by a British film unit, the talk answers the questions such as: “How was the discourse of modernization expressed in British films about the Marshal Plan in Turkey; and how this particular discourse was produced?”.
In contrast with the dominant narrative about the MP films – “produced by Europeans for Europeans about Europeans” – the films about Turkey were not produced by Turkish filmmakers, but by their British counterparts. Yet interestingly, no previous research exists on this unusual, international collaboration, either in Turkey, or in Britain. Indeed, the production side of Marshall Plan films in general, is a field of limited scholarly attention, while the Turkish production field of Marshall Plan films has been entirely neglected. Thus, focusing on these films, particularly on their production, this research aims to shed light on the understudied relationship between Turkey and Britain in the context of Marshall Plan, and its communication campaign.
Altug Akin is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Communication of Izmir University of Economics (Turkey), currently on leave and works as a Communication for Development officer at UNICEF. His research focus is mainly about broadly defined communication/media practices that extend beyond the national borders and scales. In this context, Turkish media experience – particularly in relation with Europe and the Middle East – constitutes the core of his research activities. Currently he is working on a book manuscript on Marshall Plan communication/propaganda campaign in Turkey. Altug Akin completed his doctoral studies in audio-visual communication at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Spain; and masters’ studies in journalism studies at the Stockholm University, Sweden. He was a visiting scholar at Annenberg School for Communication of UPENN, between 2015 and 2016. Parallel to his academic career, Altug Akin has been contributing to several communication initiatives and media outlets, including the BBC World Service Turkish Section, where he worked as a journalist.
Are optimists or pessimist correct about the digital future?
Will we have new forms of community, sensing, distributed democracy, digital activism and responsive governance? Or networked exploitation, the surveillance society, technological domination and dehumanization? What is happening with Big Data capitalism in an age of unprecedented autonomous digital activity and how are current forms of technology and economic activity shaping notions of subjectivity and labour?
What are the best academic tools, approaches and theories that can assist in understanding the ‘digital’ of today and tomorrow?
Editors and contributors to a new open access book Digital Objects, Digital Subjects exploring all these controversial issues will discuss these and others arising at an informal roundtable with audience discussion. Confirmed participants include: David Chandler, Christian Fuchs, Joanna Boehnert, Robert Cowley, Paolo Gerbaudo, Anastasia Kavada. All welcome. Drinks and nibbles.
Digital Objects, Digital Subjects: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Capitalism, Labour and Politics in the Age of Big Data will be published open access by the University of Westminster Press on the 30 January. Print copies to be available for purchase at the event.
Wayne Hope (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand) – Time, Global Capitalism and the Anthropocene
Evidence from multiple disciplines suggests that the earth as a system has experienced a historical step-change in the relationship between the human species and the natural world. Human action and earth dynamics have converged; they can no longer be seen as disparate entities. Human inhabitants have perpetrated and are facing unprecedented environmental shifts. It is now evident, in retrospect, that the switch from organic surface energy to underground fossil energy has intertwined the time of the earth with the time of human history. The convergence of these different kinds of historical time was prefigured by the externalisation and instrumentalisation of nature as a resource for humanity. Understanding the capitalist relations of power involved here requires that we rethink industrial capitalism in the historical context of a world system built upon an unequal socio-ecological exchange between core and periphery.
From the preceding insights, Wayne Hope will in this seminar advance the following arguments. First, global capitalism has intensified the anthropogenic feedback loops associated with CO2 emissions and climate change and universalised organisational frameworks of profit extraction and socio-ecological destruction. Second, the growing costs of monetising what Jason Moore calls ‘the Four Cheaps’ (energy, raw materials, food, labour) means that global capitalism cannot continue without destroying the socio-ecological wellsprings of its existence. Third, global-technological mediations of commodity fetishism and associated ideological forms obscure the plutonomy of global capitalism, the materialities of unequal socio-ecological exchange, and the ‘slow violence’ of socio-ecological destruction. Finally, a critique of these developments can be theoretically constructed by giving ecological resonance to four epistemes of time: epochality, time reckoning, temporality and coevalness. From this epistemological framework, one can identify preconditions for the advancement of eco-socialist activism on a global scale.
Wayne Hope is a Professor in the School of Communication Studies at the Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. His specific areas of research include: New Zealand media history and public sphere analysis, the political economy of communication, sport-media relationships and globalisation and time. He is the author of Time, Communication and Global Capitalism (Palgrave, 2016 – described by a reviewer as “a virtuoso work of synthesis, provocative and pathbreaking. It needs to be read by anyone interested in the ways we live now, where we might be headed and how we might arrive at destinations not at the neoliberal route map”). His research has also been published in a range of journals including Media, Culture & Society, the International Journal of Communication and Time & Society. He is founding co-editor of the online journal Political Economy of Communication. Within New Zealand, Wayne has appeared regularly as a media commentator on television and radio when not writing pieces against neoliberalism in The Daily Blog.
China Media Centre 2019 Spring Seminar
Abstract: The first sentence of Chinese classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms says, “This world will separate after long time united. Also, will do the opposite after long time splitting.” Today’s world surfs too much separation: populism, nationalism and extremism…How to achieve unity in diversity? The Belt and Road Initiative and Community of Shared Future for Humankind as two coins of one silver of Chinese traditional he/he (和合, harmony) culture, were put forwarded by Chinese president Xi Jinping in recent years, to go beyond the European approach of high-standard (rigid uniformity; sovereignty transferring), US approach of exclusiveness and modern Human centered doctrine while seeking common or shared values of all nations, NGOs, etc. There are three dimensions to understand Community of Shared Future for Humankind: historically, activating shared traditions of lasting peace, common security; Presently, shaping common prosperity and open/ inclusive international system; in the future, building a green and sustainable world, seeking global dynamic consensus in AI revolution and global commons. The Community of Shared Future for Humankind is also rebuilding Chinese Communist Party from revolution to construction, from internationalism to globalism.
Professor WANG Yiwei
WANG Yiwei is Jean Monnet Chair Professor, Professor of the School of International Studies and Senior Fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies (RDCY), Director of the Institute of International Affairs and Director of the Center for EU Studies at Renmin University of China. He is also Director of the China-Europe Academic Network (CEAN) and Senior Research Fellow of the Charhar Institute. He was formerly a distinguished Professor of Tongji University (2011-2012), diplomat at the Chinese Mission to the European Union (2008-2011) and Professor of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University (2001-2008), Korea Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professor of Yonsei University (2005) and Fox Fellow of Yale University (2000-2001). He has published more than 200 academic articles on Social Sciences, and published 20 books, including the recent China Connects the World: What Behind The Belt & Road Initiative(2017); The Belt & Road Initiative: What China Will Offer the World in Its Rise, Haishang: Revelations of European Civilization(both in Chinese and English) and China NATO Studies Series. He has written 1000 commentaries at Project Syndicate, Europe’s World, People’s Daily, etc, and attended over 800 forums and conferences, such as Munich Security Conference, Shangri-La Dialogue, Boao Asia Forum, Wilton Park conference, Stockholm China Forum and the Berlin Diplomatic Forum. He is a frequent guest interviewee by the BBC, Financial Times, CCTV/CGTN and other Medias.
Notes: This is also one of the Global China Media Seminar Series(GCMSS), co-organised with Global China Institute.
If you have any inquiry about CMC events, please contact Alja Kranjec at: A.Kranjec@westminster.ac.uk
Ferruh Yilmaz (Tulane University, USA) – How Does Populist Communication Succeed?
Focusing on the rhetoric of the populist right in Denmark, Ferruh Yilmaz will discuss how elite and media responses can end up confirming the logic of populist rhetoric. The main point is that the media and elite responses, even in their negative coverage (1) respond to crisis provoked by the far-right by accepting their basic premises (i.e. discussing whether immigrants’ cultural practices are a danger to social and national cohesion; (2) by doing so, use the same terms, categories and argumentative premises; (3) contribute to their provocation of crisis and moral panics; (4) and thus open up channels of discourse for the far-right populists who become the main protagonists of the crisis and render them part of the mainstream discourse.
Ferruh Yilmaz is currently Associate Professor in the Communication Department at Tulane University, USA. Before becoming an academic, he worked as a journalist for a number of news organisations in Britain, Denmark and Turkey including the BBC World Service and Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) and Cumhuriyet (Turkish daily newspaper). He also worked as an information officer at the Board for Ethnic Equality (Denmark) in the late 1990s. His selected publications include “How the Workers Became Muslim: Immigration, Culture, and Hegemonic Transformation in Europe”. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press (2016); “Analyzing Variations and Stability in Discourse: Hegemony, Nation and Muslim Immigrants”, Journal of Language and Politics 14(6), 2015; “From Immigrant Worker to Muslim Immigrant: Challenges for Feminism”, European Journal of Women’s Studies 22(1), 2015, and “Right-wing Hegemony and Immigration: How the Populist Far-right Achieved Hegemony through the Immigration Debate in Europe”, Current Sociology 60(3), 2012.
Phoebe Moore (University of Leicester) – AI and Humans as Resources
Computers have been able to read text and numbers for many years. Nowadays, computers can see, hear and speak, via the application of AI processes and systems, and the contribution of AI development and usage to economic growth is being touted with breathless anticipation in various prestigious camps. Recent reports emphasise that AI is going to make significant global changes, including a major socio-economic impact where labour markets and workplaces, in particular, will be affected.
AI can enable workers to do their jobs better and can be used as a tool to make workplace processes a lot more efficient and safer. For years, robots have been used in factories, costing less and making fewer mistakes than people. AI-enhanced robots are now advancing automation of manufacturing considerably and removing dangerous tasks from the shop floor. In offices, typewriters and white-out ribbons are much less preferable to desktop publishing, where these days, misspellings are spotted by software, taking a millisecond. Even typing itself, which causes repetitive strain injury and musculoskeletal strain can be replaced with voice recognition software. In human resources, AI could cut out qualitative biases that exist in workplace decisions.
In all of these ways, AI can be a force for good. However, there are many ethical questions arising, and significant risks arising in digitalised workplaces including psychosocial and physical harassment violence. It is not technology in isolation that creates benefits or risks for workers. It is instead the implementation of technology which creates negative or positive conditions. So, this seminar analyses the technology and how it works, and looks at how technology is used for workplace design, decision-making and production processes, asking a range of ethical questions that reflect a significantly different future for work.
Dr Phoebe V. Moore is an Associate Professor in Political Economy and Technology at the University of Leicester’s School of Business. Dr Moore researches the impact of new technologies on workers. Her latest book, The Quantified Self in Precarity: Work, Technology and What Counts (Routledge 2018) looks at the use of self-tracking, monitoring, automation and artificial intelligence in workplaces now found on the streets, in the homes, in offices and factories. Moore has provided international reports for the International Labour Organisation and European Union on digitalization and artificial intelligence at work and has appeared several times in international and national news on these topics for such outlets as Radio 4, the Financial Times and Wired.
Burcu Sümer (Ankara University, Turkey) – The Transformation of the Media Industry in Turkey Under the AKP Rule
When the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came into power in 2002, Turkey was already going through an unprecedented political transformation as a result of the recognition of its candidacy for the European Union membership at the Helsinki European Council Summit in December 1999. Broadcasting was then one of the first policy areas that was subjected to the EU impact due to the obligations of ‘democratic conditionality’ tied to the launch of accession talks. This talk will discuss how after 16 years, media in Turkey became not only less democratic but in fact under the full state control by following the key changes in media regulation.
Burcu Sümer is an Associate Professor at Faculty of Communication, Ankara University, Turkey. She holds an M.A. in Media Studies from the same university and an M.Sc. in Gender and Women’s Studies from Middle East Technical University. In 2007, she completed her PhD at the University of Westminster, Communication and Media Research Institute (CAMRI), UK.
Dr Sümer specializes in research on globalization and media regulation, broadcast journalism, broadcasting law and policy in Turkey, Europeanization of audio-visual policy in the EU. She has contributed to various research projects on ethical journalism, broadcasting policy and independence of broadcast regulatory bodies in Europe. She published a variety of articles in books and journals. Her published PhD, ‘The Impact of Europeanisation on Policy-making in Turkey: Controversies, Uncertainties and Misfits in Broadcasting Policy, 1999-2009’ looks into what extent Europeanisation had an effect on the areas of media ownership regulation, regulation of content, public service broadcasting and minority language programming in Turkey. Currently, Dr Sümer is a TUBITAK post-doc fellow at CAMRI until June 2019.
Greg Singh (University of Stirling) – Towards a Principle of Mutuality in Social Technologies
In the contemporary media ecosystem of “always-on” culture, judgements are made quickly and impacts can be far-reaching, affecting our relationships, wellbeing, mental health and the health of our communities. Communication in today’s world is characterised by a condition of persistent, semi-permanent connectivity, which seems to bring us closer together, but which experience can also be profoundly alienating. Drawing from and synthesising communitarian ethics, recognition theory, STS approaches, and concepts from relational and depth psychology, this seminar will take a retrospective look at connected media and communications practices to explore some of these issues, as laid out in the book The Death of Web 2.0: Ethics, Connectivity and Recognition in the Twenty-First Century (Routledge 2019).
Greg Singh is Associate Professor in Media and Communications, and Programme Director of Digital Media in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, University of Stirling, UK. He has published extensively on a wide range of topics, from celebrity, YouTube and lifestyle television, to cinephilia, CGI and video games. His books include Film After Jung: Post-Jungian Approaches to Film Theory; Feeling Film: Affect and Authenticity in Popular Cinema; and The Death of Web 2.0: Ethics, Connectivity and Recognition in the Twenty-First Century (all Routledge). He is currently working on a short-form monograph on the subject of Black Mirror. Greg is Co-Director of the RSE Life in Data Research Network and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Michel Bauwens, Vasilis Kostakis & Alex Pazaitis (P2P Foundation) – Book Launch ‘Peer to Peer. The Commons Manifesto’ (University of Westminster Press)
Not since Marx identified the manufacturing plants of Manchester as the blueprint for the new capitalist society has there been a more profound transformation of the fundamentals of our social life. As capitalism faces a series of structural crises, a new social, political and economic dynamic is emerging: peer to peer. What is peer to peer? Why is it essential for building a commons-centric future? How could this happen? These are the questions this seminar tries to answer.
Michel Bauwens is the Founder of the P2P Foundation and works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of commons-based peer production, governance, and property.
Vasilis Kostakis is the Professor of P2P Governance at Tallinn University of Technology and Faculty Associate at Harvard University. He is also Visiting Professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. Vasilis is the founder of the P2P Lab and core member of the P2P Foundation.
Alex Pazaitis is a Core Member of the P2P Lab and a Junior Research Fellow at the Ragnar Nurkse Department, Tallinn University of Technology.
Adi Kunstman (Manchester Metropolitan University) – From digital solutionism to materialist accountability: Calling for a paradigmatic shift in digital media research
This talk aims to propose an intervention into the field of digital media and communication studies and its dangerous myopia around the environmental damages of digital technologies. Those damages come from mining and destruction of natural resources to produce digital devices; toxic e-waste at the end of devices’ life; and rapidly rising energy demands of data centres, needed to sustain our digital life, work and leisure, as well as the digital industry and the Big Data science. At present, most research into digital communication, digital culture and digital society – whether celebratory or critical – pays little to no attention to digital technologies’ negative environmental impacts, nor to such impacts’ unequal global distribution.
Recent critical interventions notwithstanding, the field of digital media, white and Western-centred, does not tend to acknowledge digital communication’s complicity in environmental degradation, nor does it tend to account for the materiality of the digital, when discussing culture and communication. Despite decades of critical voices from feminist, post-colonial, diasporic and “global South” scholars, mainstream digital communication studies have enjoyed – and continue to enjoy – the luxury of ignoring the deeply damaging consequences of the tools and devices we use and write about, due to the fact that such consequences mostly impact those in the global South and the disenfranchised, racialised and colonised communities in the global North.
Bringing together a recently completed collaborative project analysing myopias in environmental sustainability studies (with Imogen Rattle), with the notion of “digital disengagement” as a conceptual and political framework for studying digital cultures (with Esperanza Miyake), this talk will lay out ways of moving away from digital solutionism towards materialist accountability.
Dr Adi Kuntsman is Senior Lecturer in Communication and Digital Politics at Manchester Metropolitan University. Kuntsman’s recent work includes social media politics; digital militarism; digital refusal and data justice; and the environmental impacts of digital communication.