Mediated Activism and Infrastructures of Empire

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This working group is interested in the political economic context of mediated activism, both within the InterAsian region and in relation to wider networks of neoliberal and geo-political power. We see media and information technologies as fundamental infrastructures of hegemony and deconstruct this on two levels: institutional and symbolic power. Moreover, power and control are hardly ever unchallenged, particularly not in areas with a long and recent history of anticolonial struggle. This means that we also regard the terrains of resistance as a third key topic of analysis. As such, we are interested in gauging the success and failures of state and corporate actors in shaping the design and use of media and information technologies for surveillance, propaganda through manipulations, and control of citizens and consumers. Within this framework, we focus on the role of media and information infrastructures to reinforce as well as subvert political economic inequalities within and across the InterAsian region around class, gender, racial/ethnic/sectarian/regional divisions. Crucially, we locate the configuration of media and information technologies in India, China and the Arab Region as embedded in colonial, anti-colonial and neo-colonial histories of empire that we hope to document and analyze in our discussions.