Friday, February 19, 2010

IR 11.0 submission guidelines

As program chair for IR 11.0 I get several questions along the same lines. So, for those out there who might actually google me in order to find answers, here's the submission guidelines for IR 11.0 Sustainability, Participation, Action:

Submission guidelines for IR 11.0 Sustainability, Participation, Action

All contributions should be submitted to

Each individual is invited to submit a proposal for 1 paper or 1 presentation. A person may also propose a panel session, which may include a second paper that they are presenting. An individual may also submit a roundtable proposal. You may be listed as co-author on additional papers as long as you are not presenting them. This limits each participant to three presentations, all in different formats.

For all participants: Please choose your topics of interest and expertise when you register for the conference. Also please indicate if you wish to review for the conference.

PAPERS (individual or multi-author) - submit abstract of 600-800 words. Please both cut and paste the abstract in, as well as upload one document either in .doc or .pdf format. The system does not accept other formats. Please indicate all co-authors, and nominate a main author, but be sure to remove all identifying information from the abstract itself. Be aware that you can only be the main author of one paper. Full references and formal citations are not required in abstracts, but please be aware that one main issue with papers not accepted to conferences is when they don't demonstrate a good working knowledge of other relevant research, discourses and corresponding authors. If you choose to not use formal citations and references, make certain to attribute ideas, thoughts and quotes to the correct sources in the text.

FULL PAPERS (OPTIONAL): For submitters requiring peer review of full papers, manuscripts of up to 8,000 words will be accepted for review. These will be reviewed and judged separately from abstract submissions. Please cut and paste the abstract in, and upload the papers either in .pdf or .doc format. The system does not accept other formats. Please indicate all co-authors, and nominate a main author. Be aware that you can only be the main author of one paper. Be sure to remove all identifying information from your paper.

PANEL PROPOSALS - submit a 600-800 word description of the panel theme, plus 250-500 word abstract for each paper or presentation. Indicate all participants on the submission site but not in the body of the proposal. Collect and upload the descriptions for all participants in one document, either in .pdf or .doc format. Finally, please cut and paste the submission into the system.

ROUNDTABLE PROPOSALS - submit a statement indicating the nature of the roundtable discussion and interaction, in less than 800 words. Indicate all participants and their expertise in relation to the proposed topic. Upload the proposal in one document, either in .pdf or .doc format. Also cut and paste the submission into the system.

Papers, presentations and panels will be selected from the submitted proposals on the basis of multiple blind peer review, coordinated and overseen by the Program Chair.

Important dates, as of 19 February 2010:

Submissions Due 28 February 2010
Notifications of Acceptance 28 Apr 2010
Abstract Revisions Due 15 May 2010
Full Papers Due 21 August 2010
Pre-Conference Workshops 20 Oct 2010
Main Conference 21-23 Oct 2010

Moral panic goes horribly wrong

This extremely sad tale from China demonstrates only too well how dangerous extremes are - in either direction. While China already is the source of many of the horrible stories supporting the idea of internet-addiction in North America and Europe (such as the person who died after 20 hours of non-stop gaming), it is now becoming the source of the horror stories about what happens when a nation blames one object only for the cultural changes that are challenging the established order.

Deng Senshan was another victim to fear, lack of knowledge and massive propaganda.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Where do you work?

I don't mean, what company or what business or what country or what city, I mean: In what kind of space do you work?

I am quite sensitive to work spaces, and I need them to be controlled and comfortable in order to inspire a good working process. That does not mean they have to be overly organised. As long as I find what I am looking for, I am fine. Actually, I tend to use clutter as a way to remind me of tasks. Once in a while - normally at the end or the start of a term - I go through everything on the desk and on the most imemdiate shelves, and clear it. Then I move what I know I will be working with in the next 3-6 months closer to the central work space, so when I look up from a task, I am reminded of the rest of the stuff waiting. Immediate to-do stuff ends on top of my keyboard when I go home from work, and then there's a diminishing urgency as items move further from the computer monitor.

This makes it a lot easier to remember all those little tasks that I need to deal with repeatedly or immediately, but it does have one unpleasant side-effect. When I have to focus on larger, complicated tasks, I get distracted and stressed by looking at all the stuff I otherwise really don't want to forget. And so I pick up that note by the telephone, I respond to the letter by the keyboard, or I leaf through the article lurking just to the left, and the larger task that demands more focus remains untouched. That's when I have two options: To clean the desk again and remove all those to-do things (impossible, really) or to move myself, physically, away. The distance I go depends on the task.

For a focused reading up on material for teaching, going through literature for leactures or reading lists or similar tasks demanding focus but not really such a tough challenge, I change from the office computer to the lap-top, and move into the bean bag in the office. Yeah, I know, I am lucky to have an office which provides a secondary work space and to own a lap-top, but the principle can still apply elsewhere. Just move away from the "short-term-task" space and look in another direction where it's not as easy to pick up everything waiting to be fixed. Pick up the book and turn the chair around. Since I am still in the office I am available for colleagues, students and people who really need to reach me on the phone, but I am not getting all the visual clues I have planted on the desk.

For more complex tasks, I leave the office. When I write an article, I need to focus. I mean, really really focus. I need to empty out all the clutter in my mind that pulls my attention elsewhere, and get into the "zone" - a state of mind that just ignores distractions. When I am deeply focused I ignore time, space, hunger, family and cold. I have come out of writing rushes frozen to the bone and shivering because I just couldn't be bothered to stop writing and turn up the heating. In that state of mind it doesn't really matter where I am, but to get to that point I need to wind down slowly. It is like a cleansing process, perhaps similar to what monks do while meditating. To get there I find that physical work is the best. Working out is not one of my strategies, despite the studies pointing out the benefits, but I guess cleaning and tidying does much of the same as a light walk. It also helps me remove those visual clues that pull my attention away. And as things around me become more tidy, I think about the work I am supposed to do, and gradually I settle down. Once I am settled I don't care what it looks like around me, so no, I am not a superwife in a superclean house. But at least the dishes will be done.

This only works for intermediary focus though. Working at home will quickly draw me back to the need to declutter the house, if I am doing something really tough. That's when I need to get all the way out. That's when I have visited friends in Bergen, New York and Urbino, spent a year in Umeå or rented a cabin in the mountains.

Today, however, I found something interesting - shedworking. I don't really need a shed in which to work, I have a house too-large for two people and can have as big a home-office as I care to organise. It's not for lack of space I am currently tucked into a chair in the corner of a shared home office packed with books and electronic equipment. But walking out into a shed might be the mental journey I'd need to be at rest. And right now I am looking out of the window, considering where I'd like to put that shed.

You see, I need to start a new, very complicated article which I have delayed doing anything about for at least 6 months. I should have been in New York, not staring at my garden. I'll go do the dishes and think about how to pretend I am in Italy. Perhaps a cappucino will help.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Blogging the blogged Ph D about blogging

I just want to point you all towards Lilia Efimova's wonderful thesis Passion at work: blogging practices of knowledge workers, which was submitted last year. It is, of course, online, so: Enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

IR 11.0 - Sustainability, Participation, Action

The conference website is up and running! It is still being built and tweeked, but even so it's infinitely better than no site at all! Add this website to your bookmarks, right along the URL for where to submit your paper!

Friday, February 12, 2010


This arrived to an emailaddress which I have published online in order to be easily available for people up to the IR 11.0 conference. Since the mail address is openly out there, I am seeing a LOT more spam in the few months since publishing that address than I do in any other mailboxes. And so I also see some interesting phishing attempts, such as the following, supposedly sent from GMAIL. Despite the fancy colours in the original mail, all I can say to this is: Not even a good try, stranger!

Dear Member,

We are shutting down some email accounts and your account was automatically chosen to be deleted. If you are still interested in using our email service please fill in the space below for verification purpose by clicking the reply button. Learn more

Birth date:

Warning!!! Account owner that refuses to update his or her account within Seven days of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently.
Thank you for using Gmail !

The Gmail Team

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Dear Amazon

You know I have loved you since I found you online. You have sated my reading lust and supported my academic struggles for years. I have browsed your pages and lusted for your offers, my wish-list is long and much larger than my bank-account, and in my shopping cart lurks desires I want to consume side by side with guilt about procrastination and lazyness.

But, dear Amazon - you are making life very difficult for me now. I was unhappy with you for a while, in Sweden, when you made me run around all of Umeå to figure out where you had sent my treasures. It was not a funny game, although it did make me ride my bike, through snow and wind, to new, remote places. Back home in Norway though, safely in Volda, I forgave you, because you delivered reliably again. I found my books in my mailbox or at the mail office, a healthy little walk away from home.

I think you know where this is going, though. Amazon, how could you? Suddenly, you are demanding that I take whole days off in order to receive that which I ask of you. You expect me to stay home, like a frustrated housewife, anxiously awaiting the pleasure of those who carry my books to me. Or, I have to ask that they are delivered to work, to be commented, studied and discussed by my peers. This is no longer what I thought it was to be! So, please remember this, my old love: Those are my books you are delaying. I have paid already as you send them, but you are slowing their trip to me through your poor choices of partners. I can change my mind, you know. I can take my wishlist elsewhere, directly to the publishers, or to competitors who deliver instantly.

I also haven't forgotten previous treachery. My patience is wearing thin, my passion is fading, but I still remember the love we shared in the past. You can still repent and return to better ways. Send my books by mail again, please? It is the best distribution system for private packages in Norway. The other systems are good for business transport, but I can't leave a lecture in order to sign for a box of science fiction books. I can't stay home a whole day just to indulge my taste for graphic novels. Please realise this, and give me the option to, perhaps, pay a little more for the transport I desire. It will be cheap compared to the inconvenience and the cost in work hours.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

IR 11.0 submission site now open

To submit your papers for IR 11.0 - Sustainability, Participation, Action, please use the submission site to be found here.

The CFP can be found here, but the link to the conference organising site has not yet been added.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Knitting the revolution

When ever anybody makes a statement about gender in weblogs which indicates that women don't blog, I ask them to go start reading knitting blogs. It's one of my secret addictions, to surf knitting blogs, reading about all the things I could have made if I just put the computer away and picked up some yarn instead. Lucky for me, there are women out there who are both computer literate and knitting smart!

One of these has the weblog Med pinner (with sticks, sticks meaning knitting-needles). On her weblog, which is full of really beautiful patterns and experiences with knitting (yes, it's legal to take a picture of clothes people are wearing while outside in a public place, no, it's not permitted to publish recognisable pictures of people without their permission unless they are part of a parade or a performance or something similar where it's obvious that they are there in order to be seen. This picture doesnt' show the face though, so it should be ok.), she has a button. The text says: The revolution is being hand made, and it links to an exhibition of crafted goods in Sweden.

I had to google that though, to see if I there might be a movement behind it, and what I found was:
An artists' collective named Handmade Revolution.
Two volunteers organising markets in the UK for handmade goods.
Canadian events for selling and buying handmade goods in the "Make It" fairs.
And an angry rant against the idea that the revolution can be hand made.

On the one hand: No, knitting does not remove the fact that my entire life is supported by unsustainable technology. The only times when I get anywhere close to sustainability is when I live in the cabin with simple technology, fishing and growing most of the food, and cooking on a fire made of wood we cut clearing the garden and land around the houses. But even then I am very aware that it's just a matter of days before I turn on the electricity, get into the car and go shopping.

Still, there's another way to think about a hand-made revolution.

If we are to have a systemic change, which is what we need, it will mean that everybody must expect lifestyle changes. We may for instance have to move back to the lifestyle of the fifties, giving up on twice-daily showers, and moving into areas which will allow us to walk or ride a bike or bus to work. We can't drive to malls, and the huge cities need to change very radically, in order to allow for local produce and local markets. And each and every step of the way will mean more direct, hands-on and personal engagement with the comforts of our lives.

One pair of hand-knitted mittens is just one less pair of mittens produced by Indian child slaves sold. But the knowledge and skill it takes to make those mittens can be the key to changing society, if it's used at all levels of life: Knowing how to cook your food from scratch, knowing how to grow it, knowing how to pick and find it, knowing how to use the resources that surround you, knowing how to build a house, row a boat, repair a bike, redress your furniture, repair your clothes and care for a well of fresh water - all this is knowledge that needs a hands-on approach. Technology may save us through some new, sustainable solution, but it's the hands-on knowledge of how our comforts are brought to be that can make us accept this as important.

So start knitting, now.