CFP: The Analogue Idyll: Disconnection, Detox and Departure from the Digital World

Please find below the details for the one-day symposium ‘The Analogue Idyll’, to be held at the University of Winchester (date to be determined).

Deadline for abstracts: 29 May 2020

The Analogue Idyll: Disconnection, Detox and Departure from the Digital World

Life’s better connected. So say today’s global media and telecommunications conglomerates.Yet, while government policy papers, development discourses, pop science articles and big tech advertising campaigns recurrently extol the virtues of digital connectivity, the last decade has seen a rising tide of digital discontent in the global north. Amidst proliferating public fears about dataveillance, social media addiction and vanishing forms of pre-digital sociality, a mounting sense of unease has surfaced around the material practices and cultural imperatives of constant connectivity.

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The Analogue Idyll is a one-day symposium (date to be determined)) hosted by the Culture-Media-Text Research Centre at the University of Winchester. The symposium will investigate narratives, representations, practices and imaginaries of digital disconnection and offlinism in contemporary social life. This event will bring together scholars from across the social sciences, arts and humanities who are working on topics that broadly engage or intersect with the theme of ‘the analogue idyll’. The concept of the analogue idyll draws on and expands the imaginative efficacy of the rural idyll. More than simply demarcating a spatial division between the rural and urban, encapsulated within the myth of the rural idyll is the notion of the rural as a repository for ways of life regarded as simpler, slower-paced and more rewarding, natural, authentic, meaningful and healthy. While the rural idyll has long provided diverse social groups with a means to express broader concerns about temporality, technology, identity and progress, many of the positive values that were once accorded to this variant of the idyll are now being attributed to the analogue. Standing in for ‘the offline’, the ‘pre-digital’ or ‘non-computerised’, the analogue is quickly accruing meaning and value in a sociocultural milieu that is overwhelmingly digital.

This symposium welcomes a broad range of papers from across the disciplines that use various methodological techniques, theoretical traditions and analytic approaches to explore the efficacy and valence of the analogue as a new idyll myth.The aim of this symposium is to bring scholars working on topics related to digital disconnection, unplugging and offlinism together in order to stimulate fresh insights into the shifting relationship between humans and technology in digital modernity.

Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

  • National days of unplugging or user narratives of going offline
  • Digital detox retreats/digital fasting/Internet-free holiday packages/rehabilitation programmes
  • Pledges to #GoGadgetFree
  • Pre-digital nostalgia and sociality
  • The resurgence in popularity of analogue media forms (vinyl records, polaroid cameras, feature phones)
  • The new values being attributed to nondigital goods, services and lifestyles
  • The arbitrariness of the analogue/digital binary as new hybrid cyber-physical entities emerge
  • No-Fi/smartphone-free spaces
  • Behaviour-correcting practices related to digital technologies (e.g. phone stacking, device-free dinners)
  • Internet-blocking apps (e.g. Freedom, Cold Turkey, Anti Social)
  • Public health discourses forming around digital technologies (e.g. social media addiction, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, the health effects of long-term exposure to Wi-Fi/mobile signals, the impact of self-illuminating screens on human sleep patterns)
  • Offlinism in the workplace (e.g. device-free team-building events, the slow email movement)

Proposals for 20-minute presentations should consist of:

  • Presenter’s name and title
  • Presenter’s affiliation
  • Presenter’s email
  • The title of the talk
  • 200-300 word abstract
  • 5 keywords
  • 50-100 word presenter bio

Proposals should be sent to the organiser, Alexander Taylor ( by midnight on the 29 May 2020. Following the symposium we plan to publish selected papers as an edited collection in book form.


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