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ESA RN18 2014 : Media and Communication in and after the Global Capitalist Crisis: Renewal, Reform or Revolution?


When Oct 17, 2014 - Oct 18, 2014
Where Bukarest, Romania
Submission Deadline Jul 1, 2014
Categories    media

Call For Papers

Full Call Text and additional information:

Call for Participation and Abstracts

European Sociological Association, Research Network 18: Sociology of Communications and Media Research

Submission deadline for abstracts: July 1st, 2014. Submission per e-mail to
Abstracts should be written in a word processor, have 250-500 words, and contain title, author name(s), email address(es), institutional affiliations, the suggested presentation’s abstract.

The world has experienced a global crisis of capitalism that started in 2008 and is continuing until now. It has been accompanied by a crisis of the state and a general crisis of legitimation of dominant ideologies such as neoliberalism. Responses to the crisis have been variegated and have included austerity measures of the state that have hit the weakest, an increased presence of progressive protests, revolutions and strikes that have made use of digital, social and traditional media in various ways, the rise of far-right movements and parties in many parts of Europe and other parts of the world, the Greek state’s closing down of public service broadcaster ERT and increased commercial pressure on public service broadcasting in general, new debates about how to strengthen public service media, increased socio-economic and class inequality in many parts of the world and at a global level, precarious forms of work in general and in the media and cultural industries in particular, the emergence of new media reform movements, an extension and intensification of the crisis of newspapers and the print media, an increasing shift of advertising budgets to targeted ads on the Internet and along with this development the rise of commercial “social media” platforms, Edward Snowden’s revelations about the existence of a global surveillance-industrial complex that operates a communications surveillance system called “Prism” that involves the NSA and media companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo!, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk; discussions about the power and freedom of the press in light of the Levenson inquiry, shifting geographies of the political and media landscape that have to do with the economic rise of countries such as China and India.

Given this context, the main questions that ESA RN18’s 2014 conference asks and to which it invites contributions are: How has the crisis affected the media and communication landscape in Europe and globally and what perspectives for the future of media and communications are there? What suggestions for media reforms are there? How feasible are they? What kind of media policies and reforms do we need today? Which ones should be avoided? Are we in this context likely to experience a renewal of neoliberalism or something different?

Plenary sessions:
1) Keynote Talk: Prof. Peter Ludes (Jacobs University Bremen, Germany): Wanted: Critical Visual Theories!
2) Special Session: Public Media and Alternative Journalism in Romania
With Dr. Raluca Petre (‘Ovidius’ University Constanta, Romania): On the Distinction between State and Public Media: Re-Centering Public Options; Dr. Antonio Momoc (University of Bucharest, Romania): Alternative Media as Public Service Journalism;
Costi Rogozanu (journalist and media activist, – Is Alternative Media an Alternative?

Call for Papers

ESA RN18 welcomes submissions of abstracts for contributions. Questions that can for example be addressed include, but are not limited to the following ones:

* Media and capitalism:
How have capitalism and the media changed in recent years? Are there perspectives beyond capitalism and capitalist media? How can we best use critical/Marxist political economy and other critical approaches for understanding the media and capitalism today? What is the role of media and communication technologies in the financialization, acceleration, and globalization of the capitalist economy? What are the conditions of working in the media, cultural and communication industries in the contemporary times? What is the role of Marx today for understanding crisis, change, capitalism, communication, and critique?

* Media reform and media policy in times of crisis:
How do the media need to be reformed and changed in order to contribute to the emergence
of a good society? Which media reform movements are there and what are their goals? What have been policy ideas of how to overcome the crisis and deal with contemporary changes in relation to European media and communication industries? What can we learn from recent discussions about the media’s power and freedom, such as the Leveson inquiry? What are implications for media reforms?

* Media and the public sphere:
How should the concept of the public sphere best be conceived today and how does it relate to the media? How has the public sphere changed during the crisis in Europe and globally? What has been the relation between public and commercial broadcasting during and after the crisis? How have public service media changed, which threats and opportunities does it face? How can/should public service be renewed in the light of crisis, the Internet, and commercialisation? Can public service be extended from broadcasting to the online realm, digital and social media? What has been the role of public service media in Europe? How has this role transformed?

* Media and activism:
How can media scholars best cooperate with activists in order to contribute to a better media system and a better society? What are major trends in media activism today and how do activists use and confront the media and how do commercial, public and alternative
media relate to contemporary social movements? What have been important experiences of media activists and media reform organisations in the past couple of years? What are the opportunities, risks, limits and possibilities of media activism today?
For answering these questions, we also invite contributions and submissions by media activists, who want to talk about and share their experiences.

* Media ownership:
Who owns the media and ICTs? What are peculiar characteristics of knowledge and the media as property? What conflicts and contradictions are associated with it and how have they developed in times of crisis? How concentrated are the media and ICTs and how has this concentration changed since the start of the 2008 crisis? How has media and ICT ownership, convergence, de-convergence and concentration developed since the start of the 2008 crisis? What reforms of media and ICT ownership are needed in light of the crisis of capitalism and the crisis of intellectual property rights?

* Media and crisis:
What have been the main consequences of the crisis for media and communication in various parts of the world and Europe from a comparative perspective? What role have the media played in the construction of the crisis? How have the media conveyed the social and economic crises of recent years to citizens and what are the consequences of this flow of ideas and explanations? What role can they play in overcoming the crisis? What is the relationship of the media and class during and after the crisis? What role have ideologies (such as racism, right-wing extremism, fascism, neoliberalism, anti-Semitism, etc) played in the media during the crisis and what can we learn from it for reforming the media? How have audiences interpreted media contents that focus on austerity, crisis, neoliberalism, protests, revolutions, or media reforms?

* The globalisation of the media and society:
What are major trends in the globalisation of capitalism, society and the media? Given the
globalisation of media and society, what are challenges for media and society today? What can we learn from non-Western media scholars and media cultures outside of Europe? Are concepts such as cultural/media imperialism, transnational cultural domination or the new imperialism feasible today and if so, in which ways?

* Digital and social media:
What is digital labour and how has class changed in the context of social and digital media? What is the connection of value creation, knowledge labour and digital labour? How do the global dimension and the global division of digital labour look like, especially in respect to China, India, Asia and Africa? How do new forms of exploitation and unremunerated labour (“free labour”, “crowdsourcing”) look like in the media sector (e.g. in the context of Internet platforms such as Facebook or Google)? What is the relationship of the commons and commodification on digital and social media? How do capital accumulation and targeted advertising work on social media and what are their implications for users and citizens? What are alternatives to capitalist digital and social media? How can alternative social and digital media best look like and be organized? What can in this context be the roles of the digital commons, civil society media and public service media? Which ideologies of the Internet and social media are there? How can we best understand the surveillance-industrial Internet complex operated by the NSA together with Internet corporations such as Google and Facebook and what are the implications of Edward Snowden’s revelations? How do power and political economy work in the context of platforms such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WikiLeaks, Wikipedia, Weibo, LinkedIn, Blogspot/Blogger, Wordpress, VK, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, etc?

* Media and Critical Social Theory:
What can we learn and use from critical sociology and the sociology of critique when studying the media? What do critique and critical theory mean in contemporary times?
What are critical sociology and the sociology of critique and what are its roles for studying media and communication’s role in society? Which social theories do we need today for adequately understanding media & society in a critical way? What is the role of political economy and Marx’s theory for understanding media & society today?

* Communication and (Post-)Crisis:
How has the crisis affected the communication landscape in Europe and globally and what perspectives for the future are there? How do the working conditions in communication industries look like after the crisis? What are the challenges for communication industries in the near future in the context of the crisis and post-crisis? What is the role of post-crisis-communication industries in a globalised economy?

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