Situating Simondon: Media and Technics

Volume editors: Scott Wark and Thomas Sutherland

Abstract submissions due: 1st of May, 2014
Full paper submissions due: 1st of July, 2014

Abetted by a paucity of translations, the work of Gilbert Simondon has remained relatively obscure in the Anglophone world for some time. Simondon is, however, finally – if somewhat belatedly – finding the appreciation amongst English-speaking readers that had eluded him for so long. Although Simondon’s work is probably most recognised today for its influence upon Gilles Deleuze and Bernard Stiegler, its scope is far greater than one might surmise on the basis of such associations.

Amongst many other topics, Simondon’s philosophy focuses quite heavily upon questions related to technology, communication, mediation, and information. It is these areas in particular that we hope to explore in this special section of Platform. How might we situate the theories of Simondon within our contemporary media environment? Are they still relevant? Or are they too reliant upon outmoded principles and theoretical models? What lessons, both theoretical and practical, might researchers in the fields of communication and media studies take from Simondon’s philosophy? How might we extend or update his work for the digital, networked society?

Platform encourages the submission of theoretical and empirical work engaging with Simondon and his legacy. We are particularly interested in papers that seek to situate Simondon’s work, both historically and within the disciplinary boundaries of media and communications. Potential themes might include, but are not limited to:

Technological determinism in an age of digitization and unprecedented automation. Does Simondon provide us with a useful means for negotiating the question of agency in such an environment, or is he too beholden to the cybernetics and information theory of his time?

Individuation and the associated milieu. Have subsequent media forms and communicative methods altered or halted the processes of individuation of which Simondon speaks?
Media ecology. Some strands of media ecological study stress the dynamism and complexity of media-technical systems. How does Simondon’s understanding of technology challenge or deepen these approaches?
Materiality and hylomorphism. At a time when communication appears increasingly immaterial, how might we understand Simondon’s attempt to escape all hylomorphic conceptions of communication and individuation? Does the notion of immateriality remain trapped within a hylomorphic distinction between form and matter, or is it indicative of a need to reconceptualise the very question of materiality?
Technics and media. How does Simondon’s work fit within the larger field of studies on technics and its history (e.g. Mumford, Leroi-Gourhan, Ellul, Gille, Stiegler, etc.)? Might media and communications as a discipline benefit from a greater emphasis upon the role of technics in engendering media environments both past and present?
The politics of individuation. Stiegler, Lefebvre and Mackenzie, amongst others, use Simondon’s work on transduction and individuation to describe and diagnose politics. How might Simondon help us think politics today?

In addition to this special section, we also welcome submissions that more broadly deal with issues relating to the areas of media, technology, and communication in theoretical, methodological, or empirical terms.

Please send all enquiries and submissions to Both abstracts and full papers must be accompanied by a brief curriculum vitae and biographical note.

We recommend that prospective authors submit abstracts well before the abstract deadline of the 1st of May, 2014, in order to allow for feedback and suggestions from the editors. All submissions should be from early career researchers (defined as being within a few years of completing their PhD) or current graduate students undertaking their Masters, PhD. or international equivalent.

All eligible submissions will be sent for double-blind peer-review. Early submission is highly encouraged as the review process will commence on submission.

Note: Please read the submission guidelines before submitting work. Submissions received not in house style will not be accepted and authors will be asked resubmit their work with the correct formatting before it is sent for review.

Platform: Journal of Media and Communication is a fully refereed, open-access online graduate journal. Founded and published by the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne (Australia), Platform was launched in November 2008.
Platform is refereed by an international board of established and emerging scholars working across diverse fields in media and communication studies, and is edited by graduate students at the University of Melbourne