|Nina Mackert, Daniela Ruß, Marian Burchardt
|Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe), Leipzig University
|Lancaster University Leipzig,
Strohsack Passage, Nikolaistraße 10,
04109 Leipzig, Germany
Technology, Resources, and New Global Dynamics
Technological change has long occupied a prominent place in theories and histories of globalisation and global flows of resources. Whether as means of transport and communication that shrink time and open up spaces of contact, or as artefacts and media that create a common experience across cultures, technologies can be seen as enablers of globalisation and resource flows. At the same time, technological change is not an external process: The development and diffusion of technology follows economic, political, and scientific imperatives; its failure and success depend on the wider natural, social and historical context. It can be appropriated to ward off global influences or to advance projects of globalisation. The common project of entrepreneurs and revolutionaries to 'electrify the earth' (Carl Schmitt) – to make human life everywhere dependent on industry and technology – has created a vast, interconnected but highly uneven technological sphere.
The 2024 RecentGlobe Annual Conference seeks to rethink the relationship between technology and globalisation and their role in the shaping of resource flows at a time when both concepts seem to be losing their meaning. Technology used to mean the masterful imitation of nature, then its improvement, for human purposes. Even when the machines grew into systems, became big business, or spoiled the local environment – think railways or communication networks – it could still be seen as a 'productive force', a potential facilitator of human life. In the 20th century, industrialised wars and environmental crises challenged this life-affirming character of technology as it existed; global warming has finally confirmed it as a destructive force of planetary proportions. The technosphere is now so deeply intertwined with environmental and planetary processes that it even affects people whose lives have never been electrified.
Globalisation, in turn, used to mean a primarily economic phenomenon of market expansion, the emergence of global production chains, a global division of labour – with its attendant international institutions. While scholars have long argued that an understanding of global interconnectedness cannot be limited to the economic perspective, it now seems that the phenomenon itself is forcing a rethinking of the concept: With renewed geopolitical competition, the politics of green industrialisation, and the experience of failing supply chains during the Covid-19 pandemic, there is now talk of an end to globalisation and a reversal of global independence. While these claims should be taken with a pinch of salt, we may have entered an era of new global dynamics in which multiple globalisation projects take the form of cutting global links. This, in turn, has implications for the ways resources are imagined, distributed and contested.
- How has the relation between technology and globalization changed under these conditions? How do technologies enable the refraction or reordering of the world (think payment infrastructures, censuring technologies, etc.)? How does this differ from uneven technological developments in the past?
- How do new global dynamics affect technological change? Does this splintered globalization become inscribed in the technologies itself (the standards, protocols, etc.)?
- How do these new global dynamics affect the flows of resources, their distribution and the ways resources mediate power relations and global hierarchies?
If you are interested in participating in the annual conference, please submit your abstracts for panels to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday, the 15th of February.
Abstracts for panels should not be longer than 250 words and should include:
- the names and institutional affiliations of the (planned) panel convenors
- the proposed panel’s title
Each panel should consist of two to four individual presentations, the titles of which must be submitted to the organizers by Monday, the 4th of March along with the names and institutional affiliations of all speakers.
Individual presentations should not be longer than 20 minutes in order to give enough room for discussions.
The conference will be held in hybrid mode, all registered speakers and participants who cannot attend in person will receive a zoom-link before the conference.
We have limited funds available to cover the cost of accommodation for the duration of the conference as well as the cost of traveling to and from the conference by train. If it is not possible to travel by train, please contact us.