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Call for Conference: Piracy and Beyond: Exploring "Threats" in Media and Culture

14.02.2019 11:23 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

October 23-25, 2019

School of Media, Faculty of Media, Communication and Design, National Research University HSE, Moscow

Deadline: March 31, 2019

Keynote Speakers:

  • Vincent Mosco, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Queen's University (Canada)
  • Joe Karaganis, vice-president American Assembly, Columbia University, editor of the report “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies” (US)
  • Patrick Burkart, professor, Texas A&M University (US)
  • Tristan Mattelart, professor, French Institute of Press, University of Paris II Pantheon-Assas (France)
  • Göran Bolin, professor Södertorn University (Sweden)
  • Aleksandra Elbakyan, creator of Sci-Hub (platform of free scholar publications)

Call for Papers

This conference explores piracy as a figure navigating the conventions, norms and boundaries of legality in digital cultures and beyond. Offline and online piracies thrive on technological affordances yet they do so in opposition to corporate efforts -in music, film, publishing and academia- to label them as threatening for the economy and society. In turn, pirate activities frequently become themselves subject to economic exploitation, co-optation and spectacurilzation by market forces. During the last decades, while the copyrights industry lobbies for tighter IP laws on a global scale, social media corporations find productive ways to capture counter-hegemonic networks through the exploitation of free or leisure time and users’ data. Caught in the highly flexible and contingent context of digital networks, piracy allows for the probing of norms and boundaries, questioning the logics that define intellectual property laws, broadening the uses and perceptions of authored production and enabling new forms of technology usage surpassing corporate control. Moving beyond approaches that represent piracy in terms of illegality or supply and demand, we propose to explore pirate networked sociabilities working within and outside the fringes of market economy through the lens of institutional and discursive power and attempts to escape corporate control.

The discourse on piracy can be seen as part of a broader set of discourses and practices shaping the figure of the threat in media and culture, that is to say the construction of borderline and contested practices, identities and phenomena that rest on the threshold of the legitimate and illegitimate, the legal and the illegal. We understand these boundaries to be highly contingent, historical and politically defined and subject to discursive contestation. To bring few examples beyond digital piracy, the figures of the ‘parasite’ in biology, the ‘virus’ in digital worlds or the ‘benefit scrounger’ in public discourse become likewise threats that have to be managed and confronted for the presumed progress of the community. We look for abstracts that explore the threat as a broader phenomenon related to issues of political economy, otherness, marginality, resistance, community, assimilation, camouflaging, gender, class, recognition and representation. We seek to address the power relations in designations of the threat (who, why, when and by whom is someone categorized as a threat) as well as explore the conditions under which authorities and legal entities decide who has the right to exist and how.

We welcome contributions in the following topics:

  • Legality, Illegality and Sharing Economies
  • Political Economy of Othering
  • Disruption and the New Economy
  • Academic Publishing and Piracy
  • Art, Music and Piracy
  • Discourses on Disruption
  • Ecosystem and Disruption
  • Gender, Class, Sexual Others
  • Viruses and Parasites in Media
  • Human and Non-Human Worlds

Submissions should include the name(s) and institutional affiliations of the applicant(s), email address and abstracts no longer than 500 words (including references) in English or in Russian.

Abstracts must be submitted before March, 31, 2019 at:

Participants will be notified about acceptance by April 31, 2019

For any further information, please contact us at:


  • Ilya Kirya, Higher School of Economics, Moscow
  • Yiannis Mylonas, Higher School of Economics, Moscow
  • Panos Kompatsiaris, Higher School of Economics, Moscow



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