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Changing Media, Changing Selves? Ethics, Politics, and Research Ethics in an Age of New Media

November 5, 2012

Charles Ess, PhD
Associate Professor in Media Studies, Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo

About the Presentation: Drawing on both Charles Taylor and Medium Theory, I first explore how diverse media interact with different points of emphasis in our notions of selfhood and identity – i.e., on continua between individual-relational, between rational-emotive. The secondary orality of “electric media” – beginning with radio and extending into contemporary ICTs and networked communications – appears to afford the more relational-emotive emphases: we will see this in part by way of changing expectations and law in both “Western” and (north) “Eastern” countries/cultures regarding privacy and intellectual property. These changes raise troubling questions for efforts to sustain democratic commitments, including core values of equality and gender equality. They further raise new challenges for research ethics as rooted in traditional Human Subjects Protections that presume a self defined by rational-individual emphases.

About the Presenter: Charles Ess (PhD, Pennsylvania State University, USA) is Associate Professor in Media Studies, Department of Media and Communication, University of Oslo.

He has also served as Professor MSO at the Department of Information and Media Studies, Aarhus University, Denmark (2009-2012), a guest professor at IT-University (Copenhagen, Denmark), Trier University (Germany), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Trondheim, Norway), and Nîmes (France). He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Religion, Drury University (Springfield, Missouri, USA).

He has received awards for excellence in both teaching and scholarship, and publishes extensively in both philosophy (including information and computing ethics) and Internet studies, including Internet research ethics.

Charles chaired the first ethics committee of the Association of Internet Studies, served as primary author of the first AoIR guidelines for Internet studies, and is a member of the current ethics committee, which is about to issue a new research ethics document that takes on board the dramatic growth of new research possibilities and challenges evoked by Web 2.0. In all domains, Charles emphasizes cross-cultural awareness and comparisons.