A few years ago, when I was finishing my doctoral thesis, I remember devoting an entire summer to finalize the book by writing, erase, edit, write and finally complete not just the entire book but also the short acknowlodgments in the preface. I had been longing so much, after almost six years of work with the thesis, to sit at the final day and express the gratitude and love for those who had helped me getting through a rather complicated part of my life and above all, finish my dissertation.
Nowadays I’m getting closer to that special feeling again. The circumstances are different and yet not. I have been writing all summer. In three months I have almost reached the point where I sit with a draft of nearly 300 pages to a book on media technology and social change. The process of writing is very individual I suppose. To be able to create anything of use I need to be alone, isolated and appear in decadence. The people I love and care about hopefully await me and give me the space to focus. Aware of this egoistic approach to life I still argue for my notion that this is what I need to fulfil my professional dreams. And in order to be a good person in between these excentric and intense periods, I believe my journey through life sometimes must take the the road of selfcentered condition.
Seldom do I feel proud of my work. It is not the outcome of whatever I am doing (anyone can write a book which is just as good or bad as the ones I’m writing) – but it is the individual process of development and excitement for knowledge and ideas that satisfies me and hopefully erase anxiety over how readers will receive my work. I simply love the feeling of managing an idea, striving to develop it and finally witness it emerge from a quick sense of something into a full feathered argument or conclusion. That is what makes working hours, and to a large extent my leisure, so thrilling.
So here I am, in the middle of nowhere this weekend, in this minute writing on transformed power structures in the world of politics and media, trying to grasp the fascinating history of our time and to make my own interpretation of it. It is a struggle on time, a struggle on my low confidence. But above all, it is a strange feeling of handling the pressure and at the same time convince myself that what I do is actually quite ok in the end. That feeling of overcoming something, I suppose it makes one stronger for future challenges.
Back to work.
Last week I gave an online lecture on the subject of New Media and Political Activism at Communication for Development at Malmö University. The purpose was to put the events during the Arab spring of 2011 in the context of media activism as well as mirroring them through a historical lens. The lecture can be seen through the following links and with different resolutions: (I recommend high res of course:)
New Media and Political activism (low)
New Media and Political activism (medium)
New Media and Political activism (high)
One of the aspects I brought up in this lecture was the role of Wikileaks in this present age of technological determinism. Earlier this year I gave a presentation on this specific organization at Peace- and conflict studies in Malmö, which can be viewed through these links:
Wikileaks and cyberwar (low)
Wikileaks and cyberwar (medium)
Wikileaks and cyberwar (high)
Thats all for now. Back to meeting in Gothenburg.
Currently I´m in the final stages of completing a draft for a book on the role of media technology in processes of social change and enhancement of democracy. It reveals and analyzes significant events and changes in history through the lens of media development. I am trying to combine historical facts with personal stories from the bewildering events brought up in the book, from the 1960’s up until today. I have written more about the content here.
Since this blog gives the opportuinty for a simple researcher like myself to make the work I’m doing transparent and of course promote what is to come – I thought I’d share a few lines from the opening of one of the later chapters in the book; a chapter on the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in the late 1980’s. During these major political restructuring processes, the media (mainly broadcasting radio and television but also with an important pre-internet context) played a significant role in the social processes leading up to the collapse of communist regimes. The section below opens the chapter:
As the U.S. and the Soviet Union through an interplay pushed the Cold War towards an increasingly uncertain outcome, the tension affected the whole world. From continous threats of nuclear attacks, frosty relations between not only the two superpowers, but between West and East, liberalism against communism, emerged. This symbolic and ideological warfare, not only reinforced the already existing tensions but also cemented the division of the world into two distinct opposites. What took place in the Eastern Bloc, including the closed communist nations in Europe which except for the Soviet Union and its surrounding states, were part of the Warsaw Pact, has become one of European history’s most revolutionary social changes. The fall of communism, the revolt of the people and overthrow of regimes between 1989 and 1992, has subsequently received the epithet “Autumn of Nations”. This chapter explains the mechanisms behind this change and especially the role that mass media and media technology development played in people’s desire for freedom under decades of oppression.