[CITASA] ESA RN18 Conference 2012: Communication, Crisis, and Critique in Contemporary Capitalism

Christian Fuchs christian.fuchs at uti.at
Wed Jan 18 16:13:39 EST 2012


Communication, Crisis, and Critique in Contemporary Capitalism.
Conference of the European Sociological Association’s Research Network 
18 - Sociology of Communications and Media Research
October 18-20, 2012. University of the Basque Country, Bilbao

http://fuchs.uti.at/wp-content/uploads/ESA_RN18_CfP2012.pdf

Keynote Talk: Prof. Peter Golding (Northumbria University, UK) – Why a 
Sociologist should take Communications and Media Seriously
Abstract
In the presentation of this paper, Peter Golding will reflect on why the 
study of communications and media demands the insights and methods of 
sociology, and why RN18 therefore is an appropriate network within the 
European Sociological Association. He will present reflections on how 
such key sociological concerns as inequality, identity, power, and 
change are at the heart of the questions we should be posing in 
addressing the nature and role of the media as institutions and 
communications as a social process. The paper will also address how far 
changes in the technologies of media and communications alter, or should 
alter, our approach to generating research and insight in this field.
Peter Golding is pro-vice chancellor of research & innovation at 
Northumbria University, founder and honorary chair of ESA RN18.

Call for Submissions and Participation

We are living in times of global capitalist crisis that require 
rethinking the ways we organize society, communication, the media, and 
our lives. The current crisis seems to a certain degree be different 
compared to previous ones, among other reasons due to the role of 
mediated communication and information in establishing/changing 
economic, political, and social relations as well as the crisis itself. 
The crisis can also be seen as crisis of what has been called consumer 
capitalism or informational capitalism. More precisely it has resulted 
on the one hand in a hyperneoliberal intensification of neo-conservative 
policies and on the other hand in the emergence of new popular movements 
that are critical of the commodification of everything and demand the 
strengthening of society’s commons. The second movement has in the 
social sciences been accompanied by a renewed interest in critical 
studies, the critique and analysis of class and capitalism, and critical 
political economy. The overall goal of this conference is to foster 
scholarly presentations, networking, and exchange on the question of 
which transitions media and communication and media sociology are 
undergoing in contemporary society. The conference particularly welcomes 
contributions that are inspired by sociological theories, critical 
studies, and various strands and traditions of the critical study of 
media & society.

Questions that can be covered by presentations include, but are not 
limited to:

* What is a crisis? What forms of crisis are there? How do they relate 
to capitalism and communication?

* How have the media presented the crisis? Which similarities and 
differences in crisis reporting are there between different media 
(television, press, and new media) or between media in different countries?

* How has the crisis affected various media and cultural industries? 
What is the role of changing media technology in the economic crisis? 
How has the media economy changed since the start of the crisis in 2008? 
How have advertising investments, profits, market values, etc developed 
in the media economy since the start of the crisis? How has the global 
expansion of media industries been reshaped by the crisis and what is 
the future of global media and news agencies? What changes can be traced 
in the production of news and other media content? Are there changes in 
the nature of media products?

* What is the role of media and communication technologies in the 
financialization, acceleration, and globalization of the capitalist 
economy? How can a post-crisis media economy look like? How has 
advertising favoured a climate of private consumer debt?

* What are the ideological implications of the crisis for mediascapes? 
Which ideological discourses do companies, CEOs, managers, or neoliberal 
politicians use for justifying their interests, lay-offs, high bonuses, 
inequalities, etc and how are these discourses represented by the media 
or in strategic company reports? How are hyper-neoliberal crisis policy 
responses (“socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor” in the 
form of bank bail outs and budget cuts in areas like welfare, education, 
social security, health care, etc) ideologically justified and how do 
the media represent such ideologies? What is the role of finance capital 
in the media and cultural industries? Which hegemonic, alternative, or 
contradictory interpretations and reception practices of media content 
that relates to the crisis are there? Which ideologies and myths 
underlie the capitalist crisis?

* What is the role of media, communication, critical journalism, and 
alternative media in contemporary uproars, riots, rebellions, social 
movements, protests, demonstrations, and revolutions?

* How do identities and mediated identities change in times of crisis? 
How should one think about the relationship of economy and culture in 
light of the capitalist crisis? What is the relationship of class and 
identities and of politics of redistribution and recognition today? How 
do we have to rethink and reshape the relation between political economy 
and cultural studies in the light of capitalist crisis in order to 
adequately study the media and communication?

* How is the public sphere changing in the light of the global crisis? 
What are perspectives for politics, participation, and democracy today 
and how do these perspectives relate to the media and communication? Is 
the role of media in democracy changing? If so, how? Are media a 
distinct player in politics? If the established media form an estate of 
power in democracy, do we today new a new estate of power? If so, how 
could it look like?

* What are the causes, realities, and consequences of the 
commodification of the communication commons? What are alternatives to 
the commodification of the communication commons? How can one strengthen 
and create public media and commons-based forms of communication? What 
are the relationships and differences between the commodity logic, the 
gift logic, and the logic of public goods and how do these logics shape 
the media?

* How do contemporary societal trends, such as integration, diversity 
and conflicts in Europe and the world, transnationalism and networking, 
digitization, informatization, globalization, glocalization, 
prosumption, neoliberalism, privatization and commodification, 
migration, racism, changing gender relations, consumer and advertising 
culture, warfare, terrorism, the new imperialism, surveillance, social 
movement protests, global societal risks, the strengthening of 
right-wing extremist and fascist movements, or the anti-corporate 
movement and other movements, shape media and communication and how do 
media and communication in turn shape society in times of crisis and 
transition?

* What are the tasks, roles, responsibilities, and identities of the 
sociology of media and communication in a society that is facing deep 
crisis? What is the actual or potential role of critique, ethics, 
struggles, counter-power, resistance, protest, civil society, and social 
movements in contemporary societies and contemporary communications?

* What are the major trends that shape contemporary society and how are 
these trends related to mediated communication and knowledge production? 
In what society do we live? What society do we desire to have? What 
forms of media and communication do we find in contemporary society? 
What forms of media and communication do we desire and how must society 
change in order to achieve these goals?

* What are the major trends in respect to crisis, communication, and 
critique in Europe? What are the major trends in respect to crisis, 
communication, and critique in other parts of the world?

* How do different companies and organizations make use of different 
information transmission technologies? What is the role of high speed 
financial flows and associated transmission networks in the finance 
industry? How (in)visible are these flows?

Submission

An abstract of 200-250 words should be sent to Dr. Romina Surugiu, 
University of Bucharest, at the following e-mail address: 
bilbao.conference at yahoo.com. Please insert the words Bilbao in the 
subject. The deadline for abstract submission is May 31st, 2012.









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