Media @ McGill

Becky Lentz traveling to Berlin and Brazil for discussions on the future of the 'commons'

Submitted by hive on

M@M's Becky Lentz travels to both Berlin and Brazil this week, attending three separate conferences on the future of global self-governance, and its basis in the commons.

First up is the International Commons Conference. It bring s together "about 150 leading figures in commons-based studies and activism for a multidisciplinary, international conference. The general objective is to emerge at the end of the conference with a set of principles and long-term goals that can foster the planning and development of commons based organisations and policy as well as their networking capacity." 

Next is the P2P Foundation's Berlin Commons Conference. To be held at the beginning of November, the conference will be hosted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin. The aim of the conference, is to spark "a breakthrough in the international political debate on the commons, and the convergence of the scholars studying the commons and the commoners defending them in the field."

Finally, Dr. Lentz will travel to Brazil for the PEIC's Seminário Internacional Convergência das Mídias: Regulação para a Cidadania. (First International Media Convergence Seminar: Regulating Citizenship)

There she will be presenting a talk entitled Infrastructure: The Elephant in the [Media Policy] Room:

"This talk critiques the notion of ‘convergence' as simply a discursive tool that enables us to avoid talking about what I argue is the more important topic, i.e., the ‘elephant in the room' called ‘infrastructure'. When we say that there's an elephant in the room, we are referring to a situation where something major is going on, something that's on everyone's mind and impossible to ignore. We don't talk about the elephant because we either don't know that it exists, or if we do, we don't know what to do about its being there. We are also often so shortsighted that we only see parts of the elephant instead of the whole; we end up arguing about those parts and abandon examining how they make up the whole. Like the ‘public sphere' or ‘cyberspace', I argue that the term ‘convergence' tends to stand in for, that is, to act as a sexy proxy for an ensemble of infrastructural phenomena, which together, should demand greater attention than the terms that are so often used to represent and thus blur their meaningfulness. However, ‘infrastructure' is a much more boring concept, which ironically, is why it is so powerful. In fact, ‘dullness is what camouflages the power and importance of [media infrastructure] regulators - at times at our own peril' (Lentz 2009)."