The Age of Sharing? Practices of Sharing in Contemporary Media, Literature and Culture

The concept of sharing has become pervasive in the 21st century. We are encouraged to share our digital data (e.g.facebook) and to participate in the sharing industry (e.g. Airbnb). Moreover, popular self-help literature emphasizes that we should develop healthy intimate relationships through sharing or disclosing our innermost thoughts and feelings. While these are quite diverse practices, the concept of ‘sharing’ emphasizes a link, endowing them with a positive value. This extraordinary career of the concept ‘sharing’ has led sociologists such as Nicholas John to dub our contemporary time as an ‘age of sharing’. The practices subsumed under ‘sharing’, however, have also given rise to controversy. Critics point to thorny issues such as data protection or challenge what they perceive to be a dubious reduction of the individual to a quantified self: a self that is measured by and understood through numbers. Big data is used to map the identity of individuals (e.g. consumption habits, credit worthiness). The ongoing controversy on sharing illustrates how closely concepts and practices of sharing are tied to seminal shifts in sociocultural and medial landscapes.

Anton Khrupin/

 ©Anton Khrupin/

This conference seeks to bring scholars and practitioners from different disciplines together (e.g. media/film, performance art, literary and cultural studies; sociology; ethnology) to explore the cultural work that key concepts of ‘sharing’ in contemporary culture fulfil. Of particular interest is the contribution of contemporary media, literature, and the arts to critical discussions of sharing. In what way do representations of sharing in contemporary media and literature provide a new perspective on our understanding of sharing? How may contemporary conceptualizations of sharing contribute to our understanding of new medial developments or artistic-economic practices (e.g. theatre livecasts)?


Confirmed keynote speakers are Dr. Btihaj Ajana (King’s College London), Dr. Nicholas John (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), and Dr. Julian Hanich (University of Groningen).



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