[ISEA2011] Panel: Seeta Peña Gan­gad­ha­ran (moderator) – Tyrannies of Participation

Panel Statement

Chair Per­son: Seeta Peña Gan­gad­ha­ran
Pre­sen­ters: Jon Lei­decker, Joshua Kit Clay­ton, John Kim, An­thony Tran & Vasily Tru­bet­skoy

Work­ing across the arts, music, and pol­i­tics, this panel con­sid­ers the dy­nam­ics of power in me­di­ated par­tic­i­pa­tion. Bor­row­ing its title from the work of Bill Cooke and Uma Kothari, who ques­tioned the le­git­i­macy of par­tic­i­pa­tory de­vel­op­ment pro­jects led by the World Bank and other in­ter-gov­ern­men­tal bod­ies, this panel ad­dresses the un­in­tended con­se­quences of, and the power strug­gles in, col­lab­o­ra­tive music plat­forms, so­cial net­works, wire­less in­fra­struc­tures and open gov­ern­ment ini­tia­tives. The pur­pose is to ex­plore the con­struc­tion and val­u­a­tion of par­tic­i­pa­tory dis­courses, de­signs, or ex­pe­ri­ences and chal­lenge re­ceived wis­dom of par­tic­i­pa­tion’s power. When does the dis­course of par­tic­i­pa­tion mask power? Who has ac­tual ver­sus per­ceived au­thor­ity? How do bot­tom-up, col­lab­o­ra­tive-based, lev­eled so­cial, cul­tural, and po­lit­i­cal ex­per­i­ments cre­ate new in­equal­i­ties?

  • Seeta Peña Gan­gad­ha­ran re­cently com­pleted a Ph.D in the De­part­ment of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity, US. She is a post­doc­toral fel­low in the In­for­ma­tion So­ci­ety Pro­ject at Yale Law School. Her dis­ser­ta­tion in­ter­ro­gates con­ven­tional the­o­ries and de­signs for pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion in com­mu­ni­ca­tion pol­i­cy­mak­ing. She has sec­ondary re­search in­ter­ests in the cul­tural his­tory of com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies. She has also worked with ad­vo­cacy and ac­tivist groups, in­clud­ing Cen­ter for Media Jus­tice, Pub­lic Knowl­edge, Media Al­liance, and Prometheus Radio Pro­ject.