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Call for Papers – “Optimization: Towards a Critical Concept” – Review of Communication

Call for papers open September 1, 2019 – December 1, 2019.

The Review of Communications has put out a call for papers for a themed issue to be edited by Dr. Fenwick McKelvey and Dr. Joshua Neves, “Optimization: Towards a Critical Concept.” Submissions will be accepted until December 1, 2019 in the form of a 500-word abstract

Some topics this issue hopes to consider include, but are not limited to:

  • Considerations of how optimization systems intervene in economic, social, and political life. How do they transform or diminish the political imagination—now tied to industrial research and development and the calculations of a control society?

  • Case studies of optimization of the human/body (e.g., health, self-harm, mindfulness, biohacking) or systemic optimization (e.g., smart cities, ecosystems, platforms, networks.)

  • Genealogies of optimization techniques with particular attention to operations research, Pareto optimalities, linear programming, game theory, chaos theory, and multi-agent emergent systems.

  • Metaphors and practices of optimization in popular or political cultures (e.g., self-tracking, speculative fiction, acceleration, activism.)

  • Optimization from or in relation to the margins (e.g., questions of scale, geopolitics, and frameworks beyond the biopolitical or cybernetic) or attention to problems of difference (e.g., race, ethnicity, indigeneity, religion, disability, sexuality, gender.)

  • Regulatory consequences of myths or discourses of optimization in social, media, or technology policy.

  • Speculations around the possibility of dark optimizations or radical futures through optimization (e.g., fully automated luxury communism, post scarcity, posthuman, post-Earth, dis-optimization) Full details can be found at the link:


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