Media, Communication and the Spectacle
Rotterdam, 26-27 November 2009
Venue: Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture
Gender and Communication section;
Communication and Democracy section;
Film Studies section;
Young Scholars' Network.
"Today's wind is one of spectacle. It may not be of our making. Its
origins may not be
the pure lands of the Enlightenment but instead the commercial
barrens of advertising
and entertainment. But use it we must, for without the wind, we are
Andrew Boyd and Stephen Duncombe (2004) 'The Manufacture of Dissent: What
the Left Can Learn from Las Vegas', Journal of Aesthetics & Protest 1(3).
Claims about the spectacularisation of different aspects of
contemporary life are often
heard, and the media are often blamed for the part they play in presenting
spectacularised takes on political and social questions. The idea of
normally presented as pervasive, as it is believed to trivialise the
issues at stake, and
uncritically gives oxygen to simplifying, often stigmatising,
works in media studies (such as Daniel Boorstin's The Image or Neil Postman's
Amusing Ourselves Up to Death) have addressed these issues, exercising an
undeniable influence over media scholarship. Influenced by the
seminal work of Guy
Debord (Society of Spectacle, 1967) through which the notion of
transcended its media specificity, contemporary readings of Debord
stress the need to
re-conceptualise the idea of the spectacle in relation to the
current neo-liberal consumer
Viewing the notion of the spectacle in broad terms, this colloquium
seeks to bring
together scholarly work from academic fields such as democracy and
(new) media, as
well as journalism and film studies. The spectacle provides a
powerful concept able to
initiate a new "wind" in media and communication studies. It relates
to theories on
'hyperreality', the 'gaze', 'performance' and the 'scopic' as well
as to theories on active
popular media consumption, the social meanings and impacts of communication,
representation, and the relationship between media and culture, even
media and cultural policies. The cultural, economic, technological,
social, and political
conditions underpinning the society of the spectacle provide
insights into the study and
analysis of media production, representation and reception.
This colloquium aims to provide a broad overview of recent theories
and empirical work
engaging with the phenomenon of the spectacle by focussing on media and
communication in relation to film studies, gender and democracy.
This conference is
intended to discuss a diversity of perspectives and reflections on
the media as a
spectacle from a wide range of approaches.
We invite paper and panel proposals related to the central theme of
including (but not limited to) the following topics:
_ The notion of society of the spectacle.
_ Culture as spectacle in the media.
_ The use of performance and spectacle by protest movements, creating or being
part of media events
_ Infotainment as spectacle
_ Hollywood and spectacular images: blockbusters, CGI, etc.
_ Consuming the spectacle: historical and contemporary practices of
_ Behind the screens of the spectacle: the political economy of
_ Screening the (un)spectacular? World cinemas and/as alternative
_ Fandom, cult media/film and performative consumption
_ Youtube and citizens' spectacularised self-presentation
_ The hyperreality of the spectacle of 'truth' (linked to information, news,
representations, visual culture as such, etc.).
_ The materiality of information production as commodity fetishism
become images and the other way around).
_ Private/public debate and the spectacle of bodies, gendered
bodies, politics, etc.
_ The imaginary and media performativity.
_ Vision and Voyeurism: The Politics of Surveillance Post-9/11
Proposals: abstracts of max. 400 words can be submitted via e-mail to:
(ermecc /at/ fhk.eur.nl). Abstracts may be submitted as attachment in word,
.rtf or .txt format
or embedded in the body of the email. Please make sure to include
the name of the
author(s), affiliation, contact address, and email. Young scholars
are also encouraged to
apply. When submitting your abstract, please indicate to which section you are
submitting: Gender and Communication, Communication and Democracy, or Film
Deadline for sending in the paper abstract is 1 May 2009.
Notification of selection will be
no later than 15 June 2009.
Philippe Meers (PhD)
Research Group Visual Culture
Department of Communication Studies
University of Antwerp
e-mail: <mailto:(philippe.meers /at/ ua.ac.be)>(philippe.meers /at/ ua.ac.be)
ECREA film studies section