Call for abstracts – Workshop The Network Society Today: (Revisiting) the Information Age Trilogy 10-11/June/2020

Call for abstracts – Workshop
The Network Society Today: (Revisiting) the Information Age Trilogy 



Manuel Castells’s The Information Age Trilogy has been one of the most influential works to understand the societal change in the awake of the digital revolution of the last decades.  It is, as Frank Webster (2002: 97) points out, one of “the most illuminating, imaginative and intellectually rigorous account of the major features and dynamics of the world today”. The theory of the network society developed in these books “open[ed] up new perspectives on a word reconstituting itself around a series of networks strung around the globe on the basis of advanced communication technologies” (Stalder, 2006: 1). Indeed, the work of Manuel Castells has influenced a generation of scholars, shaped a research agenda and has got important repercussions beyond academia (Bell, 2007).

Yet, more than two decades after the launch of his theory, the network society and the information age have been developing at a faster pace that anyone suspected in terms of: socio-technological and economic transformation (e.g. platform capitalism, sharing economy, robotization, algorithmic driven society, artificial intelligence and IoT, etc.), power geometries, new identities and socio-political contestation (e.g. populism, indignadosgilet jaunes, alt-right, technopolitics, buen vivir, #meetoo, LGBTIQ, black-lives-matters, youth for climate change, etc.) and new geopolitics and geographies of inequality and power (the rise of China as global power, multipolarity, the emergence of the Global South, the uneven impact of environmental crises, etc.).

At the same time, during the last decades a number of theoretical and epistemological trends have developed or consolidated in the social sciences that can be read as either influenced by or challenging the Trilogy position. Among others, the rise of network theories, mobilities paradigm, communication and power theory, technopolitics, post-colonialism or the relation between digital societies and nature.

In this regard, as 2021 will mark the 25th anniversary of the publication of the first volume of Manuel Castells’, it is time to revisit the trilogy and explore the relevance of Castells’ pioneering work in the light of the current state of the network society and of the ways to research about it. Thus, our aim is to gather together scholars from a wide range of disciplines – Including Castells himself – to engage with the Trilogy and debate on its contributions, legacies but as well shortcomings and new developments not envisioned at the time of its launch to try to develop a critical perspective on future trajectories of the network society and the information age.

We welcome contributions that sympathetically and/or critically engage with the Trilogy in any theoretical, methodological or empirical topic around the contemporary developments of the network society. Examples of areas and themes that we would like to discuss (but are not limited to) are:

  • Information, data, datafication and the (new) sources of economic value
  • Networks, space-times, economy and society
  • Contesting the network society power configurations: politics, social movements and new identities.
  • The network society in the world: uneven geographies and geopolitics of the information age.
  • The Trilogy of the Network Society in front of the new turns in social sciences.
  • The influence on the epistemic communities either geographically (e.g. Latin America, Europe, Asia…) or disciplinary (Sociology, media, geography, STS…)


Important dates

  • 23/06/2019 →Abstract submission. 500 words + up to 5 keywords
    Submit your proposals to
  • 23/07/2019 →Communication of abstract acceptance
  • 20/3/2020 →Full paper submission: 5.000 – 8.000 words (mandatory). Papers will be the basis for the comments and discussion during the workshop. They will be submitted to a special issue / edited book


Practical Information

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Prof. Manuel Castells (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, University of Southern California)
  • Prof. Fernando Calderón (FLACSO, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Nacional San Martín Argentina)
  • Prof. Ida Susser (The City University of New York)
  • Prof. John Thompson (University of Cambridge)


The workshop is free of charge. Food will be provided at the conference for presenters. Accommodation and transportation are not included.

The workshop presentations should be the basis for a special issue in an international peer-review journal by 2021 to discuss the work of Manuel Castells in the 25th anniversary of the launch of the first volume.

Organization Committee (IN3 – Open Unversity of Catalonia)

  • Mireia Fernández-Ardèvol
  • Ramon Ribera-Fumaz
  • David Megías


This workshop is organized by the IN3 – Internet Interdisciplinary Institute, Open University of Catalonia. The workshop constitutes a central part of the IN3’s 20th anniversary.

Further info and queries:

Find out more HERE


“B/OLD: Aging in our city-Vieillir dans notre ville”


By Bipasha Sultana

Thinking about age-friendly cities across communities

Put forth by Concordia’s ACT (Ageing, Communication, Technology) and engAGE, the Centre for Research on Aging, B/OLD is a trilingual (English, French, LSQ) event series that is open to the public, offering a multitude of thought-provoking events. These include panels and keynotes, creative workshops and activities, as well as art exhibitions and kiosks, some of which will be held in Concordia’s newly launched 4th Space.

One of the primary aims of this event lies in forging intersectoral connections between academic researchers, community groups, policy makers and local citizens. This is reflected in panels featuring an eclectic list of speakers, including a discussion between community leaders and city politicians, titled “What is an age friendly city?”

Kim Sawchuk, director of ACT and professor in the Department of Communication Studies, points out: “Our goal is to bring community groups, decisions makers, researchers, activists and citizens into conversation with one another. We hope that B/OLD is the start of a conversation.”

B/OLD also aims to bridge the age-segregation that has falsely come to define certain spaces, particularly campus spaces often occupied by – but by no means restricted to – young adult students.

Provoking conversations through fun activities

In an effort to disrupt the age-specific homogeneity of campus spaces, creative workshops and activities offered during B/OLD are tailored to all age groups, with a keen focus on issues unique to the older adult population. For instance, a Graffiti Workshop invites participants to engage in an intergenerational artistic collaboration to address the question of “who is allowed to leave their mark on the city?”

Visitors can also look forward to a much-anticipated “Escape Room on Elder Abuse”. Escape rooms are live-action, collaborative games that ask players to search for clues in order to solve physical and mental puzzles as they move through a room. Solving the puzzles leads players to exit the room and win the game. B/OLD’s escape room was designed to offer an accessible and engaging way for players to identify clues of abuse commonly experienced by vulnerable older adults, with the end goal of recognizing and symbolically “escaping” the game’s cycle of abuse.

Exploring a sensitive topic like elder abuse through an Escape Room helps participants engage in active, hands-on learning to recognize the subtleties of elder abuse.

According to Shannon Hebblewaite, director of engAGE and associate professor in the Department of Applied Human Sciences, “B/OLD is a collaborative effort to its core. We are pleased to create opportunities to exchange knowledge and learn from one another. By bringing together older adults, researchers, and policy makers to share their perspectives on aging in the city, we expect some lively conversations that will help ground research and practice in a better understanding of older people themselves.”

B/OLD: Aging in our city, is open to the public and will be taking place on May 16th and 17th throughout the SGW campus and in the 4th Space. You can find out more about the event’s programming on the B/OLD website.

Creative Methods In Ageing Studies Research Symposium: Call For Papers

Centre for Women, Ageing, and Media is proud to announce its’ Creative Methods in Ageing Studies Research Symposium, which will take place on Wednesday, the 24th of July at the University of Gloucestershire. The call for papers is now open, the deadline to submit is April 30th, 2019.

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers addressing an aspect of the symposium theme: “Creative Research Methods in Ageing Studies.” Proposals may address any of the following methodological approaches, address them from multiple methods perspectives or suggest alternative creative methods not covered below:

– Visual and performing arts

– Creative writing / lifewriting

– Music, arts and crafts

– Participatory, decolonising, activist and/or community-based methods

– Digital methods

– Reflective/autoethnographic methods

To apply, send proposals to by April 30th, 2019.

For any additional information email Dr. Hannah Grust at

Call for Student Applications: GUSEGG 2019

For the fifth consecutive year, ACT is sponsoring a module on ageing, communication and technologies as part of the Graz International Summer School Seggau (GUSEGG). The school, which welcomes professors and students from around the world, will be held from June 30 to July 13 2019 in Leibnitz, Austria.

This year, the module on aging will be taught by ACT Director Kim Sawchuk. ACT will partially fund up to five graduate students to attend the school, and will cover tuition and boarding costs. You can learn more about GUSEGG and this year’s school here. For more information about about ACT’s involvement, you can watch a great video “trailer” produced during the summer school in 2016.

This opportunity is open to ACT-affiliated students who have not had the chance to participate in the school. Interested students need to apply to ACT. Applications should be sent to by March 18, 2019 and should include:

1) a 500-word (max) letter on the student’s motivation to attend Graz International Summer School Seggau 2019 and why the topic of the lectures and seminar model is of value to them. The student should especially explain how their research fits within ACT and how they will benefit from courses in the module on ageing, communication and technologies.

2) A C.V.

3) The ACT student support form signed by a co-applicant or collaborator (the form is available here) OR a letter of reference written by an ACT co-applicant or collaborator.

Successful candidates will be asked to provide more information to GUSEGG, including academic transcripts and a copy of their passports.

Graduate Summer School – Beyond the Body: Recasting Aging

From July 3 to 10 ACT collaborator engAGE: Concordia University’s Centre for Research on Aging will host its first intensive and experiential international graduate summer school. The title of the summer school is Beyond the Body: Recasting Aging.

Keynote speakers include Toni Calasanti (Virginia Tech), Paula Negron (Université de Montréal), Ros Jennings (University of Gloucestershire), Erin Lamb (Hiram College) and Barbara Marshall (Trent University). A small number of fellowships are available for international students who need financial assistance to attend the summer school. Visit the summer school website to learn more about the course outline and application process. The application deadline is April 15.

Questions can be directed at

New Research Grant on Intelligent Personal Assistants

Galit Nimrod and Yael Edan of Ben Gurion University of the Negev were awarded a research grant from the Israeli Ministry of Science and Technology to study processes of assimilation of Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPAs) among older users. IPAs combine features of both service and companion robots, and have great potential to promote subjective wellbeing in old age. Applying the holistic approach to the study of human-robot interaction in later life, Nimrod and Edan will explore the extent to which IPAs indeed promote wellbeing in later life, the factors that constrain or alleviate processes of assimilation of IPAs, and whether processes of assimilation and contribution to wellbeing vary upon IPA’s type.

The study will combine knowledge and methods from both the social sciences and industrial engineering. Sixty community-dwelling individuals aged 75 years and over will be recruited and given an IPA for a period of three months. During this time, qualitative and quantitative measures will be used to assess use patterns, the outcomes resulting thereof and factors that constrain use. Results are expected to promote the existing body of knowledge regarding processes of assimilation of new technologies among older adults. In addition, the findings will be used to create a toolbox for technology developers and designers, that will guide adaption of existing technology to older people’ needs as well as development of designated technologies for the global aging population.

Shirley Curry Slays (Dragons)

From behind two monitors, a custom-built computer and a high-quality keyboard and mouse, Shirley Curry says, “give me that soul of the dragon.” She has just fired an iron arrow into its hide. After weeks of preparing for this battle, the 82-year-old gamer is content with her victory.


The ACT Student Bursaries are awarded to students enrolled in master’s or doctoral programs in ACT partner universities, and who are conducting research on the intersections of ageing, communication and technologies as part of their thesis project. ACT will award up to four competitive bursaries per year: two for doctoral students ($2,000 CAD each) and two for master’s students ($1,000 CAD each).

All applications must be submitted to by the required due date of February 1, 2019. **EXTENDED TO FEBRUARY 15, 2019**


  • The student must be registered in a doctoral or master’s program in an ACT partner university.
  • The student’s candidacy must be supported by an ACT co-applicant or collaborator, who is affiliated with the student’s home university/ACT partner university and able to administer ACT funds to the student. However, the student does not necessarily need to be directly supervised by the supporting ACT co-applicant or collaborator.
  • The student must be registered in a program with a required thesis component.
  • The student’s thesis must fit directly within the mandate of ACT.
  • If in a PhD program, the student’s thesis proposal must have been approved or defended prior to applying to this bursary. If in a MA program, the student’s thesis proposal does not necessarily need to have been approved or defended before applying to this bursary.
  • Each student is only admissible for one ACT bursary per degree, and must not have received bursaries, scholarships, fellowships or stipends from ACT in the past (e.g., scholarship or project funding).
  • The student must not plan to have completed their thesis within six months following the bursary application deadline.



First, candidates must submit a single email with two attachments: the completed “ACT Student Bursaries Application Form,” and a Curriculum Vitae that provides an overview of the student’s accomplishments and research record. Second, the supporting ACT co-applicant or collaborator must send an email with two attachments: the completed “ACT Student Bursaries Support Form” and a letter of recommendation. If the supporting ACT co-applicant or collaborator is not the student’s thesis supervisor, then the student’s thesis supervisor can provide the letter of recommendation instead.

All documents must be emailed to by the appropriate due date. No late applications will be considered.



Students: Successful applicants must commit to fulfilling a number of requirements. The student will be asked to work with the ACT team to share information on the project for reporting and communication purposes. This includes providing the necessary information to set up a project page on the ACT website, a biography and photo, and other information, as requested. The student must write an In Focus piece for the ACT website over the 12 months that follow the announcement of their award. Furthermore, the student will be required to acknowledge the support of ACT and its funder, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), in research outputs, including conference papers, workshops and poster presentations, publications, the final production of their thesis and any creative or media products of their research.

Supporting co-applicants and collaborators: By supporting an application, the co-applicant or collaborator must be able to recommend to ACT  that the student should be funded. The sponsoring co-applicant or collaborator must also be willing and able to facilitate the payment of the bursary by their institution using ACT funds; as such, they must be able to receive the funds from ACT via an institutional transfer.


Related Documents

ACT Student Bursaries February 2019 Call (Word document)
ACT Student Bursaries Application Form (Word document)
ACT Student Bursaries Support Form (Word document)