The 5th RTD Framework Programme of the EU is presented under the heading: Creating a User-Friendly Information Society. It has as its main objective the realisation of "benefits of the information society for Europe both by accelerating its emergence and by ensuring that the needs of individuals and enterprises are met"" New media and everyday life in Europe Conference addresses this agenda directly. The Conference will investigate the social dynamics of the information Society from the point of view of the user, the consumer and the citizen. It will advance understanding of the relationship between technology (use), market (consumption) and the polity (Citizenship) by examining the dynamics of the new ways of living and working promised by the transition to the Information Society.
The field itself is a new one in Europe. Research on technology grounded in interdisciplinary social scientific approaches to the new media is just beginning to have significant effects on the ways in which innovation is understood, and managed. It is possible to suggest that European research leads the world in this area. However, expertise is limited to a small number of Research centres, most of which are spread over different EU Programs, Actions or network.
Our first objective is to create a forum for the high-level encounter of leading European academics in the field of new media and society, who are spread in Europe on a myriad of national, international and EU research projects (see sections on European added value for details). Conversely, little funding and opportunity is available to scholars to transcend the physical and intellectual borders of their networks, and create a truly European Res Publica Literarum in the field of Information Society.
The main objective of our conference is to bring together this scattered intellectual elite, to discuss, debate and struggle over the meaning of everyday life in the European information society. At the centre of the discussion will be the results of those research projects (details of which are provided in the main body) focusing on the issue of everyday life in the Information Society.
The second, important objective of the conference is to challenge the US perspective of the field, and the dangerous standardisation of research protocols and practices in the field. We believe that the peculiarities of the European information society require and deserve more than research centred on the buzzword "digital divide". With this conference we plan to explore and discuss the routines and the complexities that new and changing media engender in everyday life, in the specific social setting of a multiethnic, socially fragmented Europe.
The topics of work, disability, youth, minorities, gender, participation, and inclusion/exclusion in the Information Society will be explored in the context of seven broader session themes. These are community, exclusion, citizenship, quality of life, flexibility, consumption and domesticity, covering crucial but diverse aspects of information technologies an everyday life. Way beyond the "digital divide" slogan, New media and everyday life in Europe Conference will be an ensemble and synergy of leading minds, intended to cope with and make sense of the many social complexities of the burgeoning European (Information) society.