Conference of the European Sociological Association's Media Sociology Research Network
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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 following
* 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
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 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 experiences.
* 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