Convergence Vol 18, no 3, August 2012 – Special Issue on Locative Media
Guest editor: Rowan Wilken, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
Deadlines for refereed research articles: 20 August 2011
Please send all proposals and completed articles to Rowan Wilken
All contributors must read the Convergence Instructions to authors before submission.
Questions of location and location-awareness are becoming increasingly central to our contemporary engagements with the internet and mobile media. Information, as Malcolm McCullough has suggested, ‘is now coming to you … wherever you are’ and ‘is increasingly about where you are’. Indeed, locative media services are now well-established and booming commercially, with consumers accustomed to using sat nav devices in their cars, Google maps on desktop and laptop computers and mobile devices, geoweb and geotagging and other mapping applications, and various apps on iPhones and smartphones that use location technologies.
The growth and increased ubiquity of these technologies has been accompanied by an emerging critical scholarship. Much of this work to date, especially the early work, has been centred on various creative explorations around locative media, especially coming out of experimental art and cultural movements. This work has made important contributions to critical understanding of developments in and uses of location-based technologies. What is missing from much existing scholarship in this field is a coherent and systematic account of the various location-based services as media, and which details in depth their cultural-economic dimensions. Given the growing ubiquity of locative media, the questions regarding this field that have not thus been addressed in the media and communications literature are crucial and concern the constitution, function, and effects of locative media culture: how location-based services are culturally and economically shaped, how they have been regulated (or not), and what are the implications for broader understandings of media and technology.
This special ‘Locative Media’ issue of Convergence seeks contributions that will address this gap in scholarship on this increasingly persuasive suite of information and communications technologies. Contributions to this special issue may wish to explore:
- the usefulness (or otherwise) of established political economy of the media approaches for examinations of locative media
- to what extent do locative media complicate existing regulatory regimes?
- locative media and privacy considerations
- locative media and the ‘spatial turn’ in media studies
- location-based mobile social networking (Facebook Places, Google Latitude, Gowalla, Foursquare, Loopt, etc.)
- the performance of identity through consumer engagement with locative media services
- analysis of the ‘points’ systems of location-based mobile social networking services (eg. Foursquare)
- the socio-technical conditions under which locative media technologies emerge
- tracing the ‘crisis identities’ (Gitelman) associated with the development of specific locative media technologies (such as GPS, Bluetooth, QR codes, RFID tags, geotagging, etc)
- phenomenological engagements with locative media services: do these differ from our engagements with other forms of mobile media?
- If ‘pure geographical location is rarely of users’ interest’ (Ilkka Arminen), what, then, is driving the take-up and consumption of location-based media services?