Worlds of Work: Communication and Information Technologies

July 31, 2008 (Boston, MA)

Submission Deadline: March 1, 2008
Send Submissions to: CITASA2008@CITASA.ORG

Organized by the Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association (CITASA)

This one day event combines a pre-conference on information and communication technologies (ICTs) and \”Worlds of Works,\” building on the theme of the 103rd annual meeting of the ASA, and a workshop for 20 selected graduate students researching any aspect of the sociology of communications or information technologies.

The program will include a keynote address by the winner of the \”Microsoft CITASA Port 25 Award,\” a series of presentations on ICTs and the sociology of work, and a series of select student resentations of work-in-progress (on diverse themes within the sociological study of communications and IT) to both a general audience and to a mentor panel of well known and established researchers in the field.

Communication and information technologies are an important source of change in work today, affecting both the ways work is done on a day-to-day basis and the long term relations of labor and production. The different types of communication, markets, goods and services enabled by ICTs have allowed new work configurations to become prominent, even as they help to reshape existing ways of working.

These new configurations and changed practices are creating altogether different kinds of \”worlds\” in which work is done. Office work activities are increasingly becoming computer-mediated, allowing work to move from traditional settings to the home or to virtual environments. The use of ICTs allow the emergence of new organizational forms, ushering in an era of globally distributed work no longer as reliant on geographic co-location and moving some work processes out of firms and into \”communities.\” New forms of industrial production that challenge many of the traditional ideas about work are becoming more common, open source software development being the primary example and providing serious challenges to the traditional sociology of work.

This pre-conference workshop will address these issues and others that lie at the intersection of sociology of work and the sociology of communication and information technology.

Submissions can be in the form of an abstract of 500 words OR a full paper of no more than 7,000 words. Any full paper accepted for presentation can be considered for inclusion in the annual CITASA special issue of the journal Information, Communication and Society (iCS).

Any research that lies at the intersection of sociology of work and ICT is welcome. Sociologist working outside of sociology departments and those with formal training in other disciplines who take a sociological approach are strongly encouraged to apply.

Submissions are encouraged from all areas related to the sociology of communication and information technologies (not exclusively the study of work). Submissions should be in the form of an abstract of 500 words OR a full paper of no more than 7,000 words. Any full paper accepted for presentation can be considered for inclusion in the annual CITASA special issue of the journal Information, Communication and Society (iCS).

Selected students will give a 15-20 minute presentation of their research to a mentor panel of well-known senior researchers. Each presentation will be followed by questions and discussion prompted by the panel and general audience.

Students will be chosen by the organizing committee with the intent of inviting students from diverse backgrounds, with diverse methods, working on a broad range of topic areas (not exclusively the study of work). Students actively preparing a dissertation proposal or working on thesis that has already been approved by your university are strongly urged to apply (students do not need to be in sociology departments to apply). A maximum of 20 students will be invited to participate and will receive a \”Microsoft CITASA Port 25 Emerging Scholars Award\” in the amount of $200 to help defray travel and accommodation.

MENTOR PANEL (more to come)
Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University
Barry Wellman, University of Toronto

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sidney-Pacific Graduate Community Building

Katie Bessiere, Carnegie Mellon University
Sarah Gatson, Texas A&M University
Keith N. Hampton, University of Pennsylvania
Steve Sawyer, The Pennsylvania State University
Yuri Takhteyev, University of California Berkeley
Jim Witte, Clemson University

The ASA Communication and Information Technologies Pre-Conference and Graduate Student Workshop is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Open Source Software Lab at Microsoft.

Last month I made a return pilgrimage to the MIT Media Lab to give a presentation on my latest work. The presentation is available online as a video Webcast. My talk includes some of my recent published work, such as the e-Neighbors paper in last month\’s iCS, but also some forthcoming work on the use of wireless devices in public spaces, including preliminary findings from last summer\’s research on the Social Life of Wireless Urban Spaces.