Marx is Back: The Importance of Marxist Theory and Research for Critical
Communication Studies Today
Call for Papers for a Special Issue of tripleC – Journal for a Global
Sustainable Information Society.
Edited by Christian Fuchs and Vincent Mosco
Publication Schedule and Submission
Structured Abstracts for potential contributions shall be submitted to both
editors (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) per e-mail until
September 30th, 2011 (submission deadline). The authors of accepted
abstracts will be invited to write full papers that are due five months
after the feedback from the editors. Full papers must then be submitted to
tripleC. Please do not instantly submit full papers, but only structured
abstracts to the editors. The abstracts should have a maximum of 1 200 words
and should be structured by dealing separately with each of the following
1) Purpose and main questions of the paper
2) Description of the way taken for answering the posed questions
3) Relevance of the topic in relation to the CfP
4) Main expected outcomes and new insights of the paper
5) Contribution to the engagement with Marx’s works and to Marxian-inspired
Media and Communication Studies
For inquiries, please contact the two editors.
In light of the global capitalist crisis, there is renewed interest in Karl
Marx’s works and in concepts like class, exploitation and surplus value.
Slavoj Žižek argues that the antagonisms of contemporary capitalism in the
context of the ecological crisis, the massive expansion of intellectual
property, biogenetics, new forms of apartheid and growing world poverty show
that we still need the Marxian notion of class. He concludes that there is
an urgent need to renew Marxism and to defend its lost causes in order to
render problematic capitalism as the only alternative (Žižek 2008, 6) and
the new forms of a soft capitalism that promise, and in its rhetoric makes
use of, ideals like participation, self-organization, and co-operation,
without realizing them. Žižek (2010, chapter 3) argues that the global
capitalistcrisis clearly demonstrates the need to return to the critique of
political economy. Göran Therborn suggests that the “new constellations of
power and new possibilities of resistance” in the 21st century require
retaining the “Marxian idea that human emancipation from exploitation,
oppression, discrimination and the inevitable linkage between privilege and
misery can only come from struggle by the exploited and disadvantaged
themselves” (Therborn 2008, 61). Eric Hobsbawm (2011, 12f) insists that for
understanding the global dimension of contemporary capitalism, its
contradictions and crises, and the persistence of socio-economic inequality,
we “must ask Marx’s questions” (13).
This special issue will publish articles that address the importance of Karl
Marx’s works for Critical Media and Communication Studies, what it means to
ask Marx’s questions in 21st century informational capitalism, how Marxian
theory can be used for critically analyzing and transforming media and
communication today, and what the implications of the revival of the
interest in Marx are for the field of Media and Communication Studies.
Questions that can be explored in contributions include, but are not limited
* What is Marxist Media and Communication Studies? Why is it needed today?
What are the main assumptions, legacies, tasks, methods and categories of
Marxist Media and Communication Studies and how do they relate to Karl
Marx’s theory? What are the different types of Marxist Media/Communication
Studies, how do they differ, what are their commonalities?
* What is the role of Karl Marx’s theory in different fields, subfields and
approaches of Media and Communication Studies? How have the role, status,
and importance of Marx’s theory for Media and Communication Studies evolved
historically, especially since the 1960s?
* In addition to his work as a theorist and activist, Marx was a practicing
journalist throughout his career. What can we learn from his journalism
about the practice of journalism today, about journalism theory, journalism
education and alternative media? * What have been the structural conditions,
limits and problems for conducting Marxian-inspired Media and Communication
Research and for carrying out university teaching in the era of
neoliberalism? What are actual or potential effects of the new capitalist
crisis on these conditions? * What is the relevance of Marxian thinking in
an age of capitalist crisis for analyzing the role of media and
communication in society?
* How can the Marxian notions of class, class struggle, surplus value,
exploitation, commodity/commodification, alienation, globalization, labour,
capitalism, militarism and war, ideology/ideology critique, fetishism, and
communism best be used for analyzing, transforming and criticizing the role
of media, knowledge production and communication in contemporary
* How are media, communication, and information addressed in Marx’s work?
* What are commonalities and differences between contemporary approaches in
the interpretation of Marx’s analyses of media, communication, knowledge,
knowledge labour and technology?
* What is the role of dialectical philosophy and dialectical analysis as
epistemological and methodological tools for Marxian-inspired Media and
* What were central assumptions of Marx about media, communication,
information, knowledge production, culture and how can these insights be
used today for the critical analysis of capitalism?
* What is the relevance of Marx’s work for an understanding of social
* Which of Marx’s works can best be used today to theorize media and
communication? Why and how?
* Terry Eagleton (2011) demonstrates that the 10 most common held
prejudices against Marx are wrong. What prejudices against Marx can be found
in Media and Communication Studies today? What have been the consequences of
such prejudices? How can they best be contested? Are there continuities
and/or discontinuities of prejudices against Marx in light of the new
All contributions shall genuinely deal with Karl Marx’s original works and
discuss their relevance for contemporary Critical Media/Communication
Eagleton Terry. 2011. Why Marx was right. London: Yale University Press.
Hobsbawm, Eric. 2011. How to change the world. Marx and Marxism 1840-2011.
London: Little, Brown.
Therborn, Göran. 2008. From Marxism to post-Marxism? London: Verso.
Žižek, Slavoj. 2008. In defense of lost causes. London: Verso.
Žižek, Slavoj. 2010. Living in the end times. London: Verso.
Christian Fuchs is chair professor for Media and Communication Studies at
Uppsala University’s Department of Informatics and Media. He is editor of
the journal tripleC – Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society.
His areas of interest are: Critical Theory, Social Theory, Media & Society,
Critical Political Economy of Media/Communication, Critical Information
Society Studies, Critical Internet Studies. He is author of the books
“Foundations of Critical Media and Information Studies” (Routledge 2011) and
“Internet and Society: Social Theory in the Information Age” (Routledge
2008, paperback 2011). He is co-editor of the collected volume “The Internet
and Surveillance. The Challenges of Web 2.0 and Social Media” (Routledge
2011, together with Kees Boersma, Anders Albrechtslund, Marisol Sandoval).
He is currently writing a book presenting a critical theory of social media.
Vincent Mosco is professor emeritus of sociology at Queen's University and
formerly Canada Research Chair in Communication and Society. Dr. Mosco is
the author of numerous books on communication, technology, and society. His
most recent include Getting the Message: Communications Workers and Global
Value Chains (co-edited with Catherine McKercher and Ursula Huws, Merlin,
2010), The Political Economy of Communication, second edition (Sage, 2009),
The Laboring of Communication: Will Knowledge Workers of the World Unite
(co-authored with Catherine McKercher, Lexington Books, 2008), Knowledge
Workers in the Information Society (co-edited with Catherine McKercher,
Lexington Books, 2007), and The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power, and Cyberspace
(MIT Press, 2004). He is currently writing a book on the relevance of Karl
Marx for communication research today.