Media and Communication in and after the Global Capitalist Crisis:
Renewal, Reform or Revolution?
European Sociological Association - Research Network 18 (Sociology of
Communications and Media Research) 2014 Conference
University of Bucharest, Romania
October 17-18, 2014
Submission deadline: July 1, 2014
Submission per e-mail to [log in to unmask] (Abstracts as txt or doc
file including a title, contact email, affiliation, 250-500 word abstract)
RN18 covers the conference fee and accomodation in Bucharest for 6
participants (3 nights each, single room). If you want to apply for such
financial assistance (e.g. because you are a PhD student without travel
funds or because your university does not provide assistance for
conference attendance), then please indicate this circumstance in your
submission. Please note that this support excludes travel costs.
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?
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, criticatac.ro) – Is Alternative Media an
ESA RN18 welcomes submissions of abstracts for contributions. Questions
that can for example be addressed include, but are not limited to the
* 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
* 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?
For members of ESA RN18: 40 Euros
For non-members of ESA RN18: 60 Euros