Archive for April 2012

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[ecrea] Communication, Crisis, and Critique in Contemporary Capitalism.

Sat Apr 28 06:45:26 GMT 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

Keynote Talk: Prof. Peter Golding (Northumbria University, UK) – Why a
should take Communications and Media Seriously

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. He
is founder and honorary chair of ESA RN18, an editor of the European Journal of
Communication, and was Co-Chair of the European Science Foundation Programme
“Changing Media, Changing Europe”. Peter Golding’s research interests
are in media
sociology generally, journalism, media political economy, social
inequality, international
communications, new media, and media constructs of public and social
policy. See also:

Call for Papers

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
* 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
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
∗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
∗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,
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?


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/ Please
insert the words
Bilbao in the subject. The deadline for abstract submission is May 31st, 2012.

Conference Fee

For members of ESA RN18: 35 Euros
For non-members of ESA RN18: 50 Euros

The fee will be collected from the participants at the registration in Bilbao.

You can become a member of ESA RN18 by joining the ESA and subscribing
to the network.
The network subscription fee is only 10 Euros for a 2-year period:

Travel and accommodation support for a few PhD students will be
available. This will not
cover the whole costs, but part of them. Preference will be given to
PhD students, who submit
an abstract in order to give a presentation at the conference that
well suits the overall
conference topic. Furthermore preference will be given to PhD students
from lower income
countries (band 2 countries, see If you are a
PhD student and want to apply for travel support, then please indicate
this in your abstract
submission by adding the sentence “I want to apply for travel and
accommodation support”.
The notifications about travel support will be sent out together with
the notifications of
acceptance or rejection of presentations.

Conference venue
Bizkaia Aretoa Auditorium
University of the Basque Country
Abandoibarra Avenue, 3
48009 Bilbao

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