Call for book chapters on Slow Media

Mary Erickson's picture
Call for Publications
February 15, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Digital Humanities, Environmental History / Studies, Film and Film History, Journalism and Media Studies

Book chapter contributions are invited for a proposed edited volume, The Slow Media Life: Process, Sensibility, Technology.

Media is a ubiquitous presence in contemporary life, even to the point where it becomes hard to distinguish where media ends and we as people begin. Mark Deuze calls this “the media life”, where the “increasing invisibility of media… makes media indivisible from [all aspects of everyday] life” (p. 140). The sheer volume of “content” is drowning us. Although the individual creators locate their very identities in their videos/posts/pictures/text, the collection as a whole renders it all rather undifferentiated and nearly meaningless. The emphasis on consumption and consumerism, with corporate data extraction and profit as the ultimate goals, has subsumed much of what media’s potential might be: a cultural playground, a place for experimentation and activism, human expression.

The concept of “slow media” has been bandied about for a while, a natural extension of other slow movements (slow living, slow food, slow news, slow travel, and so on). Much of the shift toward slow movements emerge from a desire to disengage from rampant consumerism that defines modern life, and the global pandemic has inspired many to investigate these slow movements in a more meaningful form. Moreover, slowness is deeply connected to conversations about how we might shepherd environmental crises away from earthly destruction. Slow living, as defined by Parkins and Craig (2006), is “a way of cultivating an ethical approach to the everyday” (p. 23). Slow media proposes a similar process, of reassessing one’s relationship with media, consumerism, conservation, and sustainability, as well as with unique cultural contributions that we make every day.

Slow media’s value system, according to Jennifer Rauch (2018), can be characterized by personal values (careful, mindful, and so on), the media one uses (tactile, timeless, etc.), and the scope of an individual’s life emphasizing sustainability and human contact (p. 23). Slow media acknowledges the deep embeddedness of media’s role in shaping culture. Further, the Slow Media Manifesto encourages particular modes of engagement that honor these values, with emphasis on sustainability, individual agency, progressiveness, and long-lasting value. As Rauch notes, slow media “provide a glimpse of another culture that was, is, and will be possible - a culture guided by the quality of human lives” (p. 9)

This edited volume seeks submissions that critically engage with the concept of Slow Media. Areas of inquiry may include but are not limited to:

  • How do people “do” Slow Media? How do people create Slow Media? How do media producers versus media audiences interact with Slow Media? 

  • Does Slow Media romanticize or fetishize older forms of media?

  • What is the relationship between archives/archiving and Slow Media?

  • What is our relationship with media technologies?

  • How can Slow Media be progressive? Can Slow Media offer effective avenues for activism?

  • How can educators propagate a Slow Media pedagogy?

  • Is Slow Media classist or otherwise exclusionary? Or does it have the potential to be inclusive? 

  • Does Slow Media enable us to reconnect with ourselves? 

  • Is Slow Media a worthwhile experiment? Is it a sustainable practice? 

  • How has the Covid-19 pandemic provided a context for people to experiment with Slow Media?

  • How can Slow Media coexist with Fast Media (or digital media)?

  • Is Slow Media a process, a sensibility, or a technological shift? Can it only happen with non-digital, material forms of media?

  • Can there be “critical slow media”?

Please submit a 250-500 word abstract, plus a working title and brief author bio to Mary Erickson at drmaryerickson (at) gmail (dot) com by February 15, 2023. Decisions for selected chapters will be communicated shortly after the abstract deadline. Full book chapters of 6,000-8,000 words will be due in August 2023. 

Contact Info: 

Dr. Mary Erickson

Senior Instructor, Communication Studies, Western Washington University

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