Welcome to Postdigital Science and Education!
Roughly a year before publishing the inaugural issue of Postdigital Science and Education, its editorial team collectively wrote an article (Jandrić et al. 2018) which makes a good job at introducing prospective authors into our ideas behind the journal. Instead of repeating details, I will merely say that the concept of the postdigital is inspired by Nicholas Negroponte’s article ‘Beyond digital’ which claims:
Face it— the digital revolution is over. (…) Its literal form, the technology, is already beginning to be taken for granted, and its connotation will become tomorrow’s commercial and cultural compost for new ideas. Like air and drinking water, being digital will be noticed only by its absence, not its presence (Negroponte 1998)
Based on research in areas of our interest such as critical pedagogy, digital education, networked learning, posthumanism, philosophy, politics, arts, and others, we pushed Negroponte’s claim a bit further.
The postdigital is hard to define; messy; unpredictable; digital and analog; technological and non-technological; biological and informational. The postdigital is both a rupture in our existing theories and their continuation. However, such messiness seems to be inherent to the contemporary human condition. (Jandrić et al. 2018: 895)
At the very end of the article, we concluded that ‘the postdigital condition is one of today’s grand challenges in science, education, arts, and various other areas of human interest. With all imperfections, therefore, we embrace the concept of the postdigital—and we look forward to developing it in the future.’ (Jandrić et al. 2018: 896) As soon as we made this promise, the one million (insert your local currency) question arrived: How are we going to keep it?
Academic articles and books offer an opportunity to contribute to the world’s knowledge. Edited journal issues and edited books expand this opportunity by their collective nature. Editing an academic journal adds a hugely important temporal dimension to academic work—it provides an opportunity, and a responsibility, to develop a research community, its discourse, and its directions, for times to come. As I keep writing this editorial, I anxiously feel invisible eyes of researchers past and present peering above my shoulder. I feel gazes of approval, gazes of disbelief, gazes of surprise, and gazes of boredom. My text is pierced by stares of Reviewer 1, who wants it to be more philosophical, by stares of Reviewer 2, who wants it to be more pedagogical, by stares of Reviewer 3, who says that I am using too much technical jargon, and by stares of Reviewer 4, who thinks that my writing is too colloquial. My screen is stabbed by looks from the political Left, from the Right, and from the Centre. My anxiety is multiplied by the anticipating gawp of a graduate student who thinks that all that shines in an academic journal must be gold. My imaginary critics are very knowledgeable, and I really do not want to disappoint that puppy-eyed upcoming scholar. However, one can never please everyone, and Postdigital Science and Education needs to build its own distinct community. This editorial presents my initial ideas about this community, with a hope that they will be taken by others into pastures new and unknown.
Historical development of human thought has fragmented our research sphere into fields, areas, and specialisations—so ‘my ancestors’ and ‘my key figures’, are unlikely to be the same as ‘your ancestors’ and ‘your key figures’. Some people prefer reading articles, others prefer reading books, and many people prefer to learn from an image, a film, a musical composition, a theatre play, or an artistic performance. As of recently, however, it has become increasingly obvious that academic and artistic turfs have little to do with the nature of knowledge. While academic and non-academic disciplines do exist for very good reasons, there is also a real need to make an occasional transgression (Jandrić 2016). In Postdigital Science and Education, various forms of disciplinary transgressions are cherished and encouraged. People working in all areas of human thinking, who appreciate complexity and nuance of our postdigital reality, are equally welcome. Actually, I would gladly accept an article written by a cat, or by an Artificial Intelligence, if it holds merit. Admittedly, Postdigital Science and Education has not yet received such submissions, and had it received one, I would not know what to do with it. But I am willing to try! At least in principle, Postdigital Science and Education wants to include everyone and everything who has something to say about our postdigital reality. In this small corner of academic universe, authors, reviewers, and editors are critical friends who help each other to improve their works; petty jealousy and nit-picking are strongly discouraged. In this way, I am hoping to build foundations for making at least a small leap from the standard academic paradigm of individual knowledge development towards new forms of collective intelligence—and to make my colleagues and peers feel safe, respected, and productive in our interactions.
At the moment, Postdigital Science and Education has the following sections: editorials, commentaries, original articles, interviews, and book reviews. With this setup, which may expand in the future, I am hoping to engage with urgent questions of our day and support academic and non-academic forms of engagement. I am hoping to create a place for life forms who are not afraid to ask big questions about relationships between life and technology, and for life forms who are not afraid to transgress ‘holy’ definitions of what it means to know and seek knowledge. I am hoping to create an atmosphere of openness, mutual respect, and critical collegiality in our collective endeavour towards understanding the postdigital. ‘Trying to make the point about homogenization and standardization of scientific thought’, Michael Peters says that ‘the article is a dirty little industrial machine’ (in Jandrić 2017: 52). Working in and against the capitalist system of knowledge production and dissemination (Holloway 2016), I am hoping to direct Postdigital Science and Education beyond this state of affairs and towards active resistance. In the dialectic between being and becoming, I am hoping to position Postdigital Science and Education as a clog in the dirty little industrial machine of academic publishing and as a productive force aimed towards a more open, more equal, and more just society. If you find yourself in these hopes, join the growing community around Postdigital Science and Education and let us develop them together!
- Holloway, J. (2016). In, against, and beyond capitalism: the San Francisco lectures. Oakland: PM Press/Kairos.Google Scholar
- Jandrić, P. (2016). The methodological challenge of networked learning: (post)disciplinarity and critical emancipation. In T. Ryberg, C. Sinclair, S. Bayne, & M. de Laat (Eds.), Research, boundaries, and policy in networked learning (pp. 165–181). New York: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-31130-2_10. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Negroponte, N. (1998). Beyond digital. Wired, January 12. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/6.12/negroponte.html. Accessed 1 November 2018.