• Events
Oct 17
A Dance, Reunited Atlanta Contemporary
Oct 17
Joy Sorman & Catherine Lacey in Conversation ONLINE EVENT Albertine Bookstore/French Embassy
Oct 17
Joy Sorman & Catherine Lacey in Conversation ONLINE EVENT Albertine Bookstore/French Embassy

Antonio Casilli

Antonio Casilli is Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at Telecom ParisTech and Research Fellow in sociology at the Edgar Morin Center at the EHESS (School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences).

Casilli conducts research on digital cultures and critical digital humanities; privacy, censorship, and freedom of expression online; the body and computer-mediated health behaviors; social network analysis and agent-based simulation for social science.

From 2010 to 2014, he coordinated the international research project on Eating Disorders-sufferers online communities (ANAMIA), a study on online privacy (THEOP) and a study on the role of social media in riots and civil unrest (ICCU). More recently, he’s worked on trolling and problematic speech online (project TADL).

Casilli has authored or co-authored four books. He blogs about his research and social sciences on www.bodyspacesociety.eu and -- most importantly -- tweet as @AntonioCasilli. He is a frequent guest on radio shows and mainstream media, commenting on tech matters.

Antonio Casilli on France Culture : http://www.franceculture.fr/personne-antonio-a-casilli.html

Selected Bibliography

In English
Against the Hypothesis of the End of Privacy (with Paola Tubaro and Yasaman Sarabi, Springer, 2014) 

In French
Les liaisons numériques (Seuil, Paris, 2010)

In Italian
Stop Mobbing (DeriveApprodi, Rome, 2000)
La Fabbrica Libertina (Manifesto Libri, Rome, 1997)

Lectures offered in French / English

1- What Digital Platforms do to Labor: Participation, Exploitation, and New Social Conflicts

From online marketplaces like Amazon to on-demand apps like Uber, to social networking websites like Facebook, to advertising empires like Google, online platforms are everywhere. They coordinate access to services, products, data, and content. They also prompt the emergence of a distinctive form of “digital labor”: non-specialized and unwaged user participation producing value for Internet and mobile tech companies. In “Qu’est-ce que le digital labor?” (INA, 2015), Antonio Casilli outlines a promising field of research and pursues the ongoing dialogue between US sociology of work and French and Italian theory. If our clicks, likes, posts, queries, and shares are tasks in a new production process we perform as digital platform users, where does leisure end and exploitation begins? How does this “implicit labor” impact formal, workplace-based wage labor? Should it be remunerated? Does it herald the “end of work” or the rise on a new digital unionism?

2- “Troll is other people”: Socio-Anthropological Approaches to Interpersonal Conflict Online

The moral panic surrounding Internet trolling has spawned a full bestiary of digital creatures: hate trolls, rape trolls, concern trolls, religious fanatic trolls, terrorist trolls, and so on. But it also seems to have given rise to their counterparts: feminist trolls, anti-religious trolls, anti-fascist trolls, LGBTQ trolls… the list could go on forever, as well as the diatribe regarding what constitutes an actual troll as opposed to rightfully upset Internet users trying to defend their opinions. Can we define and explain the behaviors and motives of those who indulge in extreme online interpersonal conflict? By challenging past approaches, which framed trolling as deviant behavior or the manifestation of perverse personalities, a new generation of authors show how trolling reproduces anthropological archetypes, intersects specific internet subcultures, and interconnects discourses around class, race, and gender. Moreover, trolling can be regarded as a consequence of the complex socio-technical architectures of online platforms designed to help us meet and befriend so-called perfect strangers.

3- Social Networks and Eating Disorders: Beyond the Notion of “Pro-Ana”

A number of websites and online forums discuss eating disorders. The provocative stance of some of these sites has attracted the attention of media and policymakers, and has earned them the derogatory label of “Pro-Ana” and “Pro-Mia”. In Internet parlance, “Ana” and “Mia” stand for anorexia and bulimia nervosa, respectively. Users describe their “crises” and purging behaviors. They relate their long and winding journeys towards idealized forms of thinness and bodily perfection. They share airbrushed celebrity photos in intricate rituals of “thinspiration”. Does discussing eating disorders online equate to advocating for them? Why are these websites experienced by their members as channels for support and personal autonomy? Do blogs and discussion forums lock users into risky behaviors? For a long time these questions remained unanswered. High-quality data on websites whose contents (text, photos, conversations, etc.) were hidden or censored were difficult to obtain. By developing innovative methods bringing together interviews, social network analyses, questionnaires, and computer simulations, Antonio Casilli and his research team have created a map of the eating practices and online routines of persons with eating disorders in the English and French web. The results of this survey invite readers to rethink the stereotype of the young, socially isolated teen seeking online refuge. They question the very notion of Pro-Ana and help design a set of strategies to collectively cope with eating disorders online.

4- Four Theses on Mass Surveillance and Privacy Negotiation: A French Digital Theory Approach to a Post-Snowden World.

The current political debate is fueled by growing tensions over the implementation of a digital mass surveillance framework aimed to gather, store, and process data from interactions and everyday uses of information and communication technologies. New draconian laws are exposing citizens of Canada, Australia, France, and the UK to unprecedented levels of government scrutiny that undercuts civil liberties and threatens human rights. The vast international debate in the wake of Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations is forcing a profound change in the relationship between Western governments and average citizens, contributing to an unprecedented climate of political instability compounded by the fact that markets are playing less of a role as third party forces correcting states’ securitarian excesses. As the responsibilities of stakeholders in the digital economy become clearer through the creation of a vast military-industrial complex, we enter a phase of distrust between consumers and tech companies.

About the books

Qu'est-ce que le Digital Labor ? (Inatèque, 2015)
by Dominique Cardon and Antoni A. Casilli

Né d un dialogue engage en juin 2014 dans une séance des "Ateliers de recherche méthodologique" de l'Institut National de l'Audiovisuel, cet ouvrage propose une définition de la notion de "digital labor" et la met progressivement à l'épreuve d'autres concepts à l'intersection entre travail et technologies de l'information et de la communication: travail immatériel, travail des publics, travail cognitif. On pense à l'exploitation des données personnelles, mais aussi à celle du travail de recommandation ou du maillage social opéré par les internautes. Cette activite est-elle spontanée ou de plus en plus contrainte? Peut-on s'en retirer? Peut-on ne pas produire? Et si l'on parle d'exploitation, il faudrait savoir si nous avons par conséquent affaire à un nouveau prolétariat dans le registre numérique... "


Against the Hypothesis of the End of Privacy (Springer, 2014)

Several prominent public voices have advanced the hypothesis that networked communications erode the value of privacy in favor of a transparent connected existence. Especially younger generations are often described as prone to live "open digital lives". This hypothesis has raised considerable controversy, polarizing the reaction of its critics as well as of its partisans. But how likely is the "end of privacy"? Under which conditions might this scenario come to be? What are the business and policy implications? How to ethically assess risks and opportunities? To shed light on the co-evolution and mutual dependencies of networked structures and individual and collective strategies towards privacy, this book innovatively uses cutting-edge methods in computational social sciences to study the formation and maintenance of online social networks. The findings confound common arguments and clearly indicate that Internet and social media do not necessarily entail the end of privacy. Publicity is not "the new norm": quite to the contrary, the book makes the case that privacy is a resilient social force, resulting from a set of interconnected behaviors of Internet users.

More info : http://www.springer.com/fr/book/9783319024554

Les Liaisons numériques (Seuil, 2010)

Aujourd’hui, nouer des amitiés, développer des relations professionnelles ou encore constituer un couple passe, pour un nombre croissant d’individus, par Internet. Pourtant, la croyance ingénue selon laquelle cette technologie serait, par nature, désocialisante persiste. Tout internaute serait-il aspiré dans une « réalité virtuelle » ? Éloigné de son monde, de ses proches, de son corps même, renaîtrait-il dans un cyberespace désincarné ? Ce mythe masque les liens étroits du réel et du virtuel, et fait fi de l’impossibilité de séparer pratiques sociales et usages informatiques. Continuer à penser le Web comme un espace qui transcende notre réalité est une erreur d’évaluation lourde de conséquences théoriques et politiques. Car les pratiques informatiques relèvent bien souvent du détournement : les usagers domestiquent les ordinateurs et s’en emparent pour inventer de nouveaux possibles, personnels ou collectifs.

Nourri d’interviews et de témoignages de blogueurs, d’artistes, d’adeptes du sexe en ligne, de figures de la militance Internet, cet ouvrage montre que la sociabilité du Web se combine de manière multiple et complexe avec les liaisons amoureuses ou amicales, les relations de parenté et les rapports de travail. Si cette reconfiguration de notre être en société ne va pas sans risques, elle est aussi porteuse de surprises : sous le regard du sociologue, le Web invente des modalités neuves et fécondes du lien social.

More info : http://www.seuil.com/livre-9782020986373.htm

Scheduled talks

Sat, Oct 24: Boston Book Festival
Wed, OCT 28: University of Berkeley
Thur, OCT 29: University of Santa Clara
Fri OCT 30: University of Sounthern California



If you would like to invite this author to speak at your university or bookstore, please fill out the application form and email it to Anne-Sophie Hermil at anne-sophie.hermil@diplomatie.gouv.fr