Call for Papers:

'Transmedia Selves: Identity and Persona Creation in the Age of Mobile and Multiplatform Media

Edited by Matthew Freeman (Bath Spa University) and James Dalby (University of Gloucestershire)

With digital technologies continuing to develop and expand their functionality and reach, mobile devices have cemented their essentiality in the average individual’s daily life. More than this, the ubiquity of media content is one of the defining characteristic of the early 21st century era, in the developed world. Driven by the ongoing synthesis of human and device in the form of mobile internet and media communications technologies - including the behaviours, interactivities and reliances associated with this - and as notions of media become less about ‘entertainment’ and more closely aligned with the fundamentals of a contemporary life, traditional conceptions of ‘the self’ become perhaps harder to define.

This edited collection aims to examine this mediated shift in the human condition, focusing on the ways in which we synthesise with our media content in daily life, subsequently transmediating ourselves into new forms. While digital relationships with daily life have been said to influence notions of fan participation (Hills, 2002) and things like advertising (McStay, 2010), most of the extant literature around digital technologies and mobile devices have tended to focus on commercial interactive media forms such as promotion videos and consumer websites. But as digital technologies and mobile devices continue to bring media interfaces into the workings of our daily lives, a salient question is not so much ‘what is transmedia?’ but rather ‘where is transmedia?’. Today, the social significance of transmediality - itself describing ‘structured relationships between different media platforms and practices’ (Jenkins, 2016) - has become intertwined with daily life, shaping the construction of human identities and everyday life in ways that goes far beyond its original definitional context of franchise-based storytelling (Jenkins, 2006), branding (Grainge and Johnson, 2015), and even cultural, political and heritage projects (Freeman and Proctor, 2018). As Jansson and Fast (2018: 340) observe, ‘anyone with access to a connected media device can sign up for a social media account, start spreading snapshots from his or her life, recommending things to buy or places to go, even setting up a private video channel. As media users, we are also increasingly expected to do this.’

Building on Jansson and Fast’s attempt to argue for ‘the broadened relevance of “transmedia identities” as a term that captures ... how transmediatized and liquidized lives are constituted more generally’ (2018: 347), this edited collection aims to explore how we can understand the practice of ‘using multiple media technologies to present information … through a range of textual forms’ (Evans, 2011: 1) as that which augments the self and our sociological, psychological and philosophical experience of it. By ‘transmedia self’, we mean the use of transmediated digital content - namely across mobile mobile devices - to transform how people construct and make sense of personal identities, with the affordances of mobile media technologies bringing the digital and real world together in ways that creates ontologically-complex personas across multiple media platforms. We anticipate a focus on the ways that people continue to be driven by meaningful social connections both on- and off-line, and how the innate human need to share stories that allow them to be part of something larger than themselves resonates in transmedial terms.

We invite chapters that explore the multifaceted, multi-perspectival and cross-disciplinary ways via which the use of different digital and mobile media across a multitude of screens, technologies, and locations works to build the identities and personal lives of their users in a highly experiential and personalized manner. We are especially interested in chapters that blend traditional audience research with recent advances in the field of transmedia research in ways that offer a renewed description of the practices by which people engage through multiple media devices. With a focus on mobile media, the collections seeks to propose a new, cross-disciplinary theoretical framework based on analyses of digital technologies like augmented reality, mobile gaming platforms, and social media channels, each of which afford unique interactive opportunities to build identities and personas, as well shape how those identities and personal interweave with and cross-pollinate our daily lives. The collection will therefore serve not to redefine ‘transmedia’ necessarily, but rather to expand the term upon the possibilities that sociological developments in relation to the ubiquity of mobile media content within the context of daily life may provide.

Possible topics for consideration may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  *   Explorations of mediated humanity and reality, e.g. in a transhumanist sense;
  *   Relationships between transmediality and social mobilization;
  *   Analyses of how we now use media to augment ourselves, e.g. the use of augmented reality in Snapchat communications;
  *   Questions of identity creation in and across mediatised fan cultures;
  *   Sociological perspectives on the transmedia self, e.g. a Giddensian approach;
  *   Philosophical approaches to the transmedia self, e.g. how mobile media technologies are shifting meanings of identity;
  *   Psychological approaches to the transmedia self, e.g. relationships between transmedia platforms, practices, and social connections;
  *   Practices of cross-platform play as mobile-based identity creation;
  *   Commercialised tensions between personal identity creation and mobile-based advertising, e.g. 360-degree promo videos;
  *   Potential assimilation of contemporary ludological perspectives, e.g. social media as continually evolving game;
  *   Locative considerations of the self, e.g. the outsourcing of ourselves to devices and media forms;
  *   The self in time, e.g. variances in the ways that media platforms and experiences encourage perceived notions of ‘duration’ and ‘present’.

Prospective authors should submit an abstract of 300 words to Matthew Freeman ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>) and James Dalby ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>) by August, 28 2019. Please also include a biography of around 200 words as part of your abstract submission. Successful authors will be invited to submit full chapters of 7,000 words, pending contract.

It is planned that the collection will be published by Routledge as part of their Routledge Advances in Transmedia Studies<> book series, itself series edited by Matthew Freeman.

James Dalby

Course Leader for Media Production

University of Gloucestershire

The Park



GL50 2RH

01242 714989

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