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Christian Fuchs <[log in to unmask]>
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Fri, 20 Jun 2014 17:49:57 +0100
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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?

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, 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 
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 

* 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?

Conference Fee
For members of ESA RN18: 40 Euros
For non-members of ESA RN18: 60 Euros