Extended deadline for submission proposals: EastBound 2012 – 'Bootleg Socialism'

April 26, 2011


The deadline for submission proposals for the 2012 issue of EastBound has been extended to 1 July 2011.

EastBound is a peer-reviewed online journal, published by the MOKK Media Research Department of Sociology and Communications at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and the CMCS. EastBound is now calling for papers for its 2012 issue, on the theme of 'Bootleg Socialism'.

logoThe EastBound issue on ‘Bootleg Socialism’ seeks to cover forms of ingenious and unpredicted practices of media use in socialist and early post-socialist societies. We are looking for ethnographic case studies based on social, cultural and economic practices linked with the phenomenon of piracy and other informal media economies, and more widely, with unorthodox ways in which media and communication technologies were shaped by private users.

The project is focused on electronic media: VCRs, satellite TV, home computers, radio receivers, ham radios, tape recorders, and telephones. Due to the political framing of culture, combined with economic factors, individuals and groups in socialist countries were routinely forced to seek access to media forms through unauthorized uses and sources of available media; often, unique forms of informal practices emerged from these sites.

In the project, both periods of socialism and post-socialism are included. The fast growth of early turbo capitalism and “private initiatives” resulted in the rapid development of sometimes even transnational informal media networks. Such networks were responsible for instance for the rapid spread of local turbofolk music via cassettes on the Balkans, as well as for the quick establishment of black markets in urban centers – such as Petrovka Market in Kyiv –, selling Western music, software and films. Pre-1989 similar networks distributed samizdat publications, porn (prohibited in the era), and other cultural goods that weren’t necessarily prohibited, but were certainly excluded from the official and state controlled production and distribution systems.

Primarily we aim to gather studies on bootleg media practices from the period of socialism and the years after 1989 but preceding the dissemination of digital technology and the Internet, which radically changed this copy culture.

Possible areas we are looking to cover:

  • Distribution networks of samizdat
  • Software ‘Sneakernets’ of the 8- and 16-bit computer era
  • Distribution of tolerated or prohibited musical genres
  • Super8 and VHS porn culture
  • Early VHS market development
  • Electronics smuggling
  • COCOM export ban circumvents
  • The early days of satellite dishes
  • Cassette copying and distribution networks (both small and ‘industrial’ scale)
  • Hardware hacking
  • Pirate-radio broadcasting
  • Ham radio culture

We will be accepting 300 word proposals for articles, which are both based on empirical material and are theoretically grounded. The extended deadline for the submission of proposals is the 1st of July 2011, and the deadline for the submission of the completed articles in the case of accepted proposals will be the 1st of February 2012.

For further information about the special issue, or to express interest in contributing an article, please contact Trever Hagen (hagen.trever AT gmail.com).

The special issue editors are:

Balázs Bodó M.A., Ph.D. candidate, Eötvös Lóránd University, Hungary is an economist, assistant lecturer and researcher at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Department of Sociology and Communications, Center for Media Research and Education. He was a Fulbright Visiting Researcher at Stanford Law School in 2006/7. He is a Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford. He is the project lead for Creative Commons Hungary and the member of the National Copyright Expert Group. His academic interests include copyright and economics, piracy, media regulation, peer-to-peer communities, underground libraries, digital archives. He wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the role of copyright pirates in the cultural ecosystem from the printing press to peer-to-peer networks.

Trever Hagen M.A., Ph.D. candidate, University of Exeter, UK is focusing on the use of music-as-resource in the building of community, based on the case of the Czech Underground. He completed his M.A. in sociology and social anthropology at Central European University in Budapest and a Fulbright award at Charles University in Prague.

Patryk Wasiak Ph.D. (patrykwasiak--aatt--gmail.com) pursued an M.A. degree in sociology and another M.A. degree in art history at Warsaw University. He wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on transnational informal communication networks of visual artists in the Soviet Bloc (i.e. mail-art exchange system). He has received the VolkswagenStiftung, and also research fellowships from the Herder Institut and the Deutches Polen Institut. Currently he is conducting research on hobby computing and computer oriented subcultures in communist countries. Currently a freelance researcher, and a visiting fellow in Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam in 2011.


EastBound is a peer-reviewed online journal aimed at creating an international platform for Western and Eastern European researchers engaged in the multidisciplinary field of media and cultural studies. The journal features articles, reviews and interviews dealing with social and political implications of the rise of entertainment media and mediated popular culture, the appearance of global media players, and the spread of new forms of politics and information technologies. These transformations have presented a new cultural context for people’s cultural practices, from the minor aspects of everyday consumption to the large-scale reproduction of national identities and cultural heritage. EastBound addresses recent media and cultural realities, both from regional and international comparative standpoints.

EastBound is published by:

  • MOKK Media Research Department of Sociology and Communications, Budapest University of Technology and Economics
  • The Center for Media and Communication Studies (CMCS) at Central European University