Call for papers for Mini-Conference

on ‘Moral Economies of the Digital’

at the Society for Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) 28th Annual Conference

‘Moral Economies, Economic Moralities’

June 24-26, 2016,

University of California, Berkeley

Organizers: Dean Curran, Dave Elder-Vass, Elisa Oreglia, Nikos Sotirakopoulos, and Janaki Srinivasan


Abstracts of no longer than 1000 words should be submitted by 1st February, 2016. If the abstract is accepted, a full paper will be required by May 30, 2016. All submissions should be made via the SASE website. Acceptance notifications will be sent by February 23, 2016.

The mini-conference CFP and further details on SASE 2016 are also available online.

About the Mini-Conference theme

Digital technologies have opened up new opportunities for novel forms of economic practice and for the economic empowerment of individuals and communities. But what happens when they encounter the mesh of pre-existing social, cultural, and economic relations within which they are deployed in practice?

This is a call for papers that explore the moral economies underpinning the use of digital technologies, and examine how they encourage or constrain the use of technologies to renegotiate existing power structures and economic practices. The organizers are particularly interested in the following themes:

1. How do existing moral economies shape digital economies?

– The moral economy of digital economic forms. To what extent do new digital economic forms draw on consciously ethical practice and does this open up awareness of different approaches to the economy? Do they offer promising alternatives to mainstream market capitalism or are we already witnessing a gradual subordination of digital gift practices to the accumulation of capital?

– Explaining new digital economic forms. Between nakedly capitalistic market-oriented models at one extreme, and the almost purely gift economy model of Wikipedia at the other, there lies a continuum of innovative and often hybridised forms of economic practices. Can sociology, oriented to practices, explain how these economic forms operate, how they develop, and how they hybridise, where economics, oriented to markets, cannot?

– Gender and the moral economy of digital technologies. How do the moral economies of the family, of the community, and of the workplace influence notions of the ‘appropriate’ engagement of men and women with digital technologies, and how does this vary between the Global North and Global South?

2. How are moral economies reworked in the digital world?

– Encounters between the ‘new’ sharing economy and the moral economy of the communities they work in. Are companies such as Uber and AirBnB a new type of moral economy? Do they re-create space for community enterprise or merely seek to evade forms of regulation that have long protected consumers?

– Subaltern communities and the moral economy of digital technologies in the Global South. What processes and circumstances allow digital technologies to be incorporated successfully (or not) into the moral economies of subaltern communities?

– The digital public sphere. In what way are the power relations and social practices associated with digital economies affecting contemporary public and private spheres?

– How do value propositions associated with the introduction of digital technologies, such as disintermediation, or the death of distance, play out in practice?