‘Digithum. A relational perspective on culture and society’ is an open access scientific journal coedited by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and the University of Antioquia. At Digithum our purpose is to focus on the analysis of culture from a relational perspective. Our views and ideas in this field are greatly inspired by the works of Georg Simmel, Norbert Elias and Pierre Bourdieu. Nevertheless, we are open to contributions from academics in social sciences or humanities who take other approaches in their theories or methodologies, and are keen to build dialogues and to exchange ideas and perspectives, something we hope proves enlightening and edifying for us all. Digithum seeks to help construct a shared work platform for the exchange of ideas and projects. The aim is to strengthen the relational perspective – in which we perceive such promise –, and to see ever further and in finer detail, standing always, of course, on the shoulders of giants.We progress in constant relation with the many legacies passed down by those who have thought about and worked on this perspective before us, and altogether in constant relation with everyone else hoping to keep moving it forward. Our great hope is that Digithum may become a platform on which to foster and nurture these relations, looking to our past, within our ephemeral present and onward into the future.
The name of our journal is a reference to the very distance that separates and mediates our subjective experience and our cultural heritage – an unfinished and never-ending process of interrelation which moulds our culture. It is a play on the idea and the image of a fingerprint (from the Latin digit, which now like our platform and journal becomes digital), the fingerprint we find and the fingerprint we leave, in constant interrelation – inevitably so for a journal focusing on the relational perspective. Simmel defined ‘culture’ as a continual coming and going from subjective culture to objective culture and vice versa, a process that is necessarily always mediated.
People have the capacity to create objects that embody meanings, meanings which can then outlive the object creators, and can shape and contextualize the lives of people who never come into contact with they who formed what ends up becoming our heritage. Our lives have always been built upon this heritage – sometimes given a name but often anonymous – which we find upon our arrival in this world. In this regard we are all heirs, all of us weaving our relationships and identities on the shoulders of other people and generations, making ourselves giants on their shoulders. Our lives continually build upon millions of objects, social forms, traditions, languages, past presences, entities and institutions, which may or may not have now disappeared. And we embody this legacy in accordance with whichever specific conditions allow us to prosper and build our lives.
Within this broad perspective and always linked and inter-connected by relationalism, contributions published in Digithum may focus on analysis of a particular relationship (for example friendship), on analysis of a form of relationship (friendship as a form) or on analysis of objects, spaces, memories or emotions, provided they are from a relational perspective and pitched towards the current day and age. Research articles, essays or opinion pieces are all accepted for consideration, as are commentaries on events, authors, works or book reviews. Digithum publishes miscellanies and monographs and has a subsection on intellectual history in its materials section. The journal publishes two editions a year and employs a double-blind peer review system, conducted externally by renowned academics and professionals. Right now we would like to share this new site with you; it offers more flexibility and immediacy and is set to contain notes, pointers, announcements, explorations of ideas, calls for publication or partnership, and more. And so our journal shall edge closer towards its raison d’être: an instrument, bridge and terrain for dialogue and the construction of a relational perspective towards the understanding of our social and cultural reality, in different languages and in many different hands.