CfP for Edited Volume: Varieties of Immersive Experience

Submission deadline: August 15, 2021

Conference date(s):
December 9, 2021 - December 10, 2021

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

University of Stavanger
Roma, Italy


We invite contributions to an edited volume on immersive experience across a range of different contexts. 

The quality of being immersive is increasingly held to be a desirable characteristic of many types of media-interaction and social settings. Immersive experience has been studied in considerable depth in the context of digital media. In this volume, we aim to provide the first authoritative attempt to explore the analytic potential of the notion of immersion as a general phenomenon.

Immersive experience for virtual reality is described by Janet Murray by the analogy of being submerged in water. It is “the sensation of being surrounded by a completely different reality, as different as water is from air, that takes over all of our attention, our whole perceptual apparatus”. Immersion can also be understood via the notion of “presence”, which designates the experience of a subject positioning within the immersive context. Presence is the experience of “being there”, such as when a user has the experience of being transported to a specific spatial location in virtual reality.

While it is clear that the player of computer games or the user of VR often has immersive experiences, the premise for this volume is that similar experiential phenomena have pivotal roles in learning, literature, cinema, psychiatry, tourism, social media, music and theatre, to mention a few examples.

We call for contributions that discuss the character and function of immersive experiences with regard to how the notion ought to be theoretically elucidated or that explore how they are concretely manifested in a wider set of experiental settings.

This volume will address the following questions:

1) What are immersive experiences? Do they share a common psychological structure, or does the word designate disparate phenomena that merely exhibit family resemblances? We are interested in philosophical contributions that explore the connections to notions such as subject position, imagination, perceptual horizon, embodiment, phenomenal character, enchantment, action, flow, embodiment, selective attention, social frames, affective attitudes, and constitution of the self.

2) How do context specific determinants shape immersive experiences? In particular, how are they shaped by the affordances and constraints provided by the medium within which they occur? We call for contributions from the humanistic and social sciences that analyze such elements as improvisation techniques, music, action, avatar-presence, ritual practices, cinematic techniques, therapeutic methodology, narrative devices and so on.

3) What is the significance or value of immersive experience? How are immersive experiences beneficial or detrimental to their respective contexts? We are interested in moral, political and value-oriented discussions that touch on normative roles such as fun, escapism, trust, personal transformation, participation, persuasion, manipulation, criticism, modes of epistemic access, ideological framing, and knowledge-acquisition.

Prospective contributors are invited to submit abstracts (max 250 words) in Word-format to [email protected] by 12PM CET 15 August 2021. Please add a short description of your research background as well as institutional affiliation (if any).

The submission must demonstrate how its contribution will expand on existing literature, either with regard to discussions on immersion or presence, or with regard to how an analysis of such experiences can add to knowledge about their respective subject matters. It must clarify how it chooses to define the notion of immersive experience and include descriptions of the experiences it will discuss.

An invitation to participate in the work with this volume will be sent out by 1 September. The authors will present a chapter draft (max 15 pages) for a workshop to be held at the Norwegian Institute in Rome, Italy on 24–26 November 2021.

This initiative is conducted by the research group “Understanding Immersion” at the University of Stavanger, Norway.

Associate Professor Tarjei Mandt Larsen (University of Stavanger)

Researcher John R. Sageng (Game Philosophy Network)

Professor Cato Wittusen (University of Stavanger)

Professor Petter Frost Fadnes (University of Stavanger)

Professor Lars Nyre (University of Bergen)

For questions, send an email to: [email protected]

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