Department of Sociology

Dis/connection symposium 27-28 September 2018

Dis / connection
Conflicts, Activism and Reciprocity 
Online and Beyond
27-28 September 2018
Uppsala University

Submit your abstract to no later than June 18, 2018.             

Keynote speakers: Annette Markham (Aarhus University and Loyola University) and Adam Fish (Lancaster University). Artist Mako Ishizuka (in photo) will put her thoughts on the themes of the symposium into a mind-map on site, in dialogue with the symposium participants.

The upcoming Dis/connection symposium focuses on a fundamental aspect of social relationships, namely the idea of connection. We invite abstract submissions on the possibilities of connectivity, but also the problems and promises of the act of disconnection. Digital networks embedded in everyday lives have transformed virtually every aspect of social life – from intimate relations to political activism. This is our starting point for a broader discussion of notions of connectivity and how they are developing, multiplying, failing, or simply being reproduced. Therefore, we also focus on the idea of disconnection as a voluntary act to take control over one’s use of digital technologies, as an act of resistance and of saying no to the opaque structures of power and control in the networked society. The goal is to further the discussion on the gains, costs and possibilities of ethical life in the culture of hyperconnectivity. The symposium also aims to address destructive functions of connected living, such as surveillance, trolls, fake news, fake news accusations, sexual harassment, terrorism, viruses, spam, and the colonization of private life. In other words, we are interested in how connectivity and disconnectivity can give rise to and facilitate social inclusion and democratic processes, as well as exclusion, isolation and conflict.

Annette Markham is Professor of Information Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark & Affiliate Professor of Digital Ethics in the School of Communication at Loyola University, Chicago. Markham studies digital identities, relationships and cultures, and has published extensively on the methodology and ethics of digital research. Among her publications are the groundbreaking Life Online (1998, AltaMira) and Internet Inquiry (2009, Sage) written together with Nancy K. Baym.

Adam Fish is a cultural anthropologist and senior Lecturer at the Sociology Department at Lancaster University. His research focuses on the interconnection of media technology and political power, a field he has explored in books, numerous articles, and documentaries. He is the author of the books Technoliberalism and the end of participatory culture in the United States (2017, Palgrave) and After the internet (2017, Polity) with Ramesh Srinivasan. Fish is now working on a book called Hacker States.

Mako Ishizuka is a contemporary artist dealing with physical and psychological distances in her practice. Her recent exhibitions include Connecting Scapes at Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, and Frictions in the Globalisation at École des Hautes Éudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris. For her social projects she was awarded the Project Prize from Fondazione Pistoletto in Italy, and she published the book Collecting Distances with support of Längmanska Kulturfonden in Sweden. (

Papers could address but are not limited to the following themes:

  • What is ‘connectivity’ and how can we analyze it?
  • Sexism, peer pressure and online harassment
  • Digital intimacies
  • Digital activism / hacktivism
  • Online radicalization and extremism
  • Bad connection – communication networks gone awry 
  • The digital underclass – outsourced journalists, click farm and troll factory workers, and networking refugees
  • Risk, edgework, and the rise of the internet as a polarized political space
  • Google bubbles and the future of representative democracy
  • The agency of algorithms and the ethics of coding
  • The colonization of attention and attention economy
  • The self promotion video as a technique of the self
  • Digital afterlives and post-humanism
  • 1337 h4x0rz
  • Voluntary disconnection

Abstract submission: The number of participants is limited. Please submit your abstract to together with your name, affiliation and contact details. The deadline is June 18, 2018. Abstracts should not exceed 250 words. The symposium will be free of charge, including a dinner on the 27th September.

The event will take place at Campus Engelska Parken, Uppsala University, Sweden. The symposium is arranged by the Cultural Matters Group at the Department of Sociology, Uppsala University. The event is supported by Uppsala Forum on Democracy, Peace and Justice at Uppsala University.