[CITASA] Conditions of Mediation preconference: Limited spaces still available!

Scott Rodgers rodgers_scott at hotmail.com
Sun Jun 9 12:17:35 EDT 2013



Conditions of Mediation:
Phenomenological Approaches to Media, Technology and Communication


International Communication Association (ICA) Preconference

Theory, Philosophy and Critique Division

17 June
2013, Birkbeck, University of London


Conference website (includes full conference programme and
registration details):



deadline: 11 June 2012 (end of day)


keynote speakers: 

Dr David Berry, Swansea University

Professor Nick Couldry, Goldsmiths,
University of London

Professor Graham Harman, American
University of Cairo

Professor Shaun Moores, University of

Professor Lisa Parks, University of
California Santa Barbara

Professor Paddy Scannell, University of



theory seems to have reached a moment in which it is effectively orthodox to
presume we must pay attention first and foremost to the intricacies of everyday
experience. Ethnographic audience studies, for example, have attacked
assumptions that there is a discrete relationship between media content and
audiences, arguing that media forms, content and technologies have
indeterminate and multifaceted significance within the daily rhythms and spaces
of their everyday lives. Studies of digital and networked media, meanwhile,
have put into question the very notion of ‘audiences’ as the starting point for
understanding mediated experience.


some, accounting for the intricacies of everyday mediated experience has
implied asking people what they actually do with media. But for others this is
not enough: instead, the question is what constitutes the conditions of media
experience in the first place. How do political configurations of discourses
and inherited dispositions prefigure mediated action? How do material
arrangements themselves constitute environments for mediated experience? How
might we account for nonhuman agency, for example the ways in which software
objects interact not only with human perceptions but also each other? Such
questions point to a renewed confidence in explaining not just how but also why
media, technology and communication are experienced as they are – all the while
resisting a reversion to functionalism.


interests in the very conditions of mediation suggest, if sometimes only
implicitly, an emerging interest in a phenomenology of media. Indeed,
phenomenology – broadly the structuring of perception – has seemingly obvious
relevance for recent academic interests in media experience. Yet its use or
invocation in media studies has been scattered. While this might simply reflect
the considerable diversity of phenomenological philosophies and their
applications, there have also been concerted efforts recently to rethink
phenomenology across the social sciences and humanities. Paired with recent
interests in mediated experience, the time seems apt to reassess what it might
mean to theorize media phenomenologically.


of Mediation seeks to bring together scholars from a very wide
range of perspectives – such as media history, media archaeology, audience
studies, political theory, metaphysics, software studies, science and
technology studies, digital aesthetics, cultural geography and urban studies
–to reflect explicitly on the phenomenological groundings of their work on
media. The phenomenological thinking to which participants might connect will
be broad-based, ranging from core thinkers such as Husserl, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty
and Sartre to those with looser affiliations to phenomenology per se, for
example Arendt, Bergson, Bourdieu, Deleuze, Garfinkel, Ingold, Latour,
Whitehead and Harman. 


short, the overall aim is that this conference goes beyond a mere congregation
of media phenomenologists. Instead, it will encourage critical reflection on
what various readings of phenomenology might offer media and technology studies
that other approaches cannot. Conversely, it will also welcome reflections on
the limits of phenomenological approaches in philosophical, theoretical,
political and empirical terms.


If you
have any inquiries, please email both:

Rodgers (s.rodgers at bbk.ac.uk) and
Tim Markham (t.markham at bbk.ac.uk) 


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