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COMSYMBOL 2012 : Conference on Communication of the symbolic and the symbolic of communication in the modern and postmodern societies november 2012 France


When Nov 8, 2012 - Nov 9, 2012
Where Béziers, France
Submission Deadline May 1, 2012
Notification Due Jun 15, 2012
Final Version Due Sep 15, 2012
Categories    communication   social sciences   philosophy   religion

Call For Papers

Scientific organizers:
Céline BRYON-PORTET (ENSIACET, University of Toulouse) and Mihaela Alexandra TUDOR (Paul Valéry University of Montpellier 3)

Keynote speaker:
Lucien SFEZ

In his work, The Semiotic Challenge, after referring to the significance of symbolism in past societies, Roland Barthes questioned the following: “we have reason to ask what remains of these great symbols in a technological society like our own; have these great symbols vanished, have they been transformed, are they hidden?” (R. Barthes, 1994)
Starting from these questions, the conference proposes to study the links – simultaneously narrow and ambiguous – that the symbolic maintains with various communication issues, in the modern and postmodern societies.
This symposium, although largely rooted in the Information and Communication Sciences (ICS), favors an interdisciplinary approach. Therefore, sociological, anthropological, psychological, cognitive, mass-media and historical approaches, but also those related to linguistics are more than welcomed to broaden the debates.
Contributions can expand different panels:
First Panel: The share of symbolic in today’s communication practices
This axis consist in showing that, unlike to some persistent prejudices which consider that the patterns of symbolical thought and expression are the prerogative (the domain) of so-called traditional or primitive societies that disappeared in our modern technological world, they persist today in various forms and are expressed throughout the communication practices.
Approaches could take, for example into consideration:
- Various expression patterns of symbolical forms (figures and mythical narratives, rituals, symbolic institutional discourses and images...);
- Their presence in society (including politics and sports) and organizations (private companies, public institutions etc.) in advertising and branding activities, in ICT and cultural industries (television, comic books, internet …), in social habits and interpersonal communication (rituals of conviviality and commensality, interaction practices ...);
- Their attempts to adapt to our modern society and technology and their potential transformations;
- Functions that they endorse (functions of identity, cohesive, inspirational ...), and the role played by the imagination;
- Their role played in the construction of reality
- Their oscillation between the poles of transmission, communication and information...
Second Panel: The strong symbolic dimension of the organizational specific communication
This axis will focus more particularly on organizations with a strong symbolic or even sacred dimension, including here the secret societies, religious or parareligious institutions.
Topics to be approached:
- Religious groups (Opus Dei, for example), sectarian movements, students fraternities, esoteric institutions such as The Masonic persuasions or associations like the Rosicrucian;
- Their specific way of communication and the way they function internally;
- The possible development of their communication practices at an external level;
- The significance of symbolic mediations, for transmitting communitarian values and the legitimization of authority figures in such organizations;
- The interactions between different institutional actors, the process of meaning production in a working place (the internal communication ‘rituals’ for example) and the discourses which are part of the social construction of reality,
- The horizontal mediation (at an interpersonal or group level), vertical mediations (related to a transcendent meaning) that weave symbolic forms, and their links with the sacred;
- Mediums that these organizations favor;
- Challenges formed around the symbolic imagination, and their possible deviations (mental manipulation, fanatic drifts, etc.).
Third Panel: Symbolism attached to communicative discourses and ICS
This last panel will seek to explore the symbolic dimension or metaphorical speeches which supply certain communicational discourses, especially those used to describe an organization, in line with the analysis performed by Gareth Morgan (2006), or those that evoke the modern communication paradigm in line with the work of Sfez Lucien (1992).
Topics to be approached could concern:
- The specificity of symbolic discourses from the perspective of linguistics, in relation to the conceptual discourses, the psychological motives that they implement and possibly their particular impact at a cognitive level;
- The overabundance of symbols and metaphors in certain types of discourses (such as religious, esoteric, or even political ones) and the motivations that this overuse betrays;
- Also, the identification of symbols and metaphors used to refer to nowadays communication, compared in turn to a machine or an organism, and the challenges that these representational choices reveal.

Important dates:
May 1st, 2012: Submission of an abstract of approximately 3500 - 5000 characters, including spaces, and five keywords. The title of the paper will be written in French and English. The proposal must include the name and affiliations as well as the email address of all authors.
June 15, 2012: Notification of abstract acceptance via email
September 15, 2012: Submission of the full papers

All proposals and questions should be addressed to:,,
Authors whose proposals are accepted will be notified by e-mail.

Conference location:
Université Paul Valéry de Montpellier 3, Centre du Guesclin, Béziers, France

Registration Fees:
90 Euros standard fee, 50 Euros for doctoral students (the fee includes coffee breaks, lunch, proceedings materials, conference map)

Languages of the conference:
French and English

Scientific Partners:

UMR Praxiling – Paul Valéry de Montpellier 3 University, ITIC,
University of Bucharest,
Babes Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca,
West University of Timisoara,
Journal for the Studies of Religions and Ideologies,
Journal of Media Research, Journalism & Communication

Publication of the proceedings:
Conference proceedings will be published after the conference. A selection of the best proposals will be published in upcoming issues (section Varia) of the journal ESSACHESS - Journal for Communication Studies indexed in the international databases: Ebsco Publishing, ProQuest CSA, Index Copernicus, CEEOL, DOAJ, Ulrich's, J Gate and Gale.

Organizing Committee:
Presidents of Organizing Committee
Catherine GHOSN (University of Toulouse 3) and Patricia JULLIA (University Paul Valéry of Montpellier 3)

Youcef AYSSANI (University of Toulouse 3)
Oana BARBU (West University of Timisoara)
Audilio GONZALES (Paul Valéry University of Montpellier 3)
Elisa RAFITOSON (University of Tananarive)
Alina Elena ROMASCU (University of Toulon and Var)

PhD Candidates:
Lahouij Mohamed ANOUAR
Aurora BURCA

Scientific Committee:
Delia BALABAN (Babes Bolyai University of Cluj, Roumanie)
Françoise BERNARD (University of Provence, France)
Georges BERTIN (CNAM Pays-de-la-Loire, France)
Marcel BOLLE de BAL (Free University of Brussels, Belgium)
Bruno BONU (UMR Praxiling, Paul Valéry University of Montpellier 3, France)
Michel BOURRET (Paul Valéry University of Montpellier 3, France)
Philippe BRETON (University of Strasbourg, France)
Stefan BRATOSIN (Paul Valéry University of Montpellier 3, France)
Olivier CHANTRAINE (University Charles de Gaulle Lille 3, France)
Chantal CHARNET (UMR Praxiling, Paul Valéry University of Montpellier 3, France)
Mihai COMAN (University of Bucarest, Romania)
Lise DEMAILLY (CLERSE UMR 8019, University of Lille 1, France)
Sandu FRUNZA (University of Babes Bolyai, Romania)
Jean-Jules HARIJAONA (University of Tananarivo, Madagascar)
Denis JEFFREY (University of Laval, Canada)
Bernard LAMIZET (Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Lyon, France)
Christian Le MOENNE (University of Rennes 2, France)
Vincent MEYER (Paul Verlaine University of Metz, France)
Salvador Jimenez MURGUIA (Miyazaki International College, Japan)
Sorin NASTASIA (University of Illinois, USA)
Nicolas PELISSIER (University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France)
Paul RASSE (University of Sophia-Antipolis, France)
Lucien SFEZ (University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, France)
Tudor VLAD (Cox Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, University of Georgia, Etats-Unis)

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