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[ecrea] CfP tripleC special issue "Interrogating internships"

Wed Nov 13 05:26:02 GMT 2013

Call for Papers: Special issue of tripleC: Communication, Capitalism &

Interrogating Internships

Edited by Nicole S. Cohen (University of Toronto Mississauga), Greig de
Peuter (Wilfrid Laurier University), Enda Brophy (Simon Fraser University)

When publisher Condé Nast cancelled its internship program in October
2013, the response was mixed: many cheered the end of a program that
asked debt-laden youth to labour for free, while others lamented the
closure of one of the only routes into media work. When depicted in the
mainstream media, internships are surrounded by an aura of glamour:
rapper Kanye West did a stint at luxury designer Fendi, Lady Gaga
arranged one at designer Philip Treacy, and Hollywood portrayed the
phenomenon in the movie The Internship. The gloss is fading, however:
digital electronics manufacturer Foxconn was caught employing student
interns on dubious terms on its assembly lines; former interns launched
a successful class-action suit against Fox Searchlight Pictures; and
Ross Perlin’s Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the
Brave New Economy (Verso, 2011) was vital in pushing internships into a
critical spotlight internationally. Within just a few years, internships
have become a high-profile subject, garnering media attention,
catalyzing activism, provoking government action, and sparking lawsuits
against massive corporations.

Although internships are prevalent in communication, cultural, media,
and entertainment industries, scholarly literature on internships from
communication and cultural studies remains limited. This special issue
of tripleC seeks to situate internships within the labour turn in
research in communication studies and beyond. The issue will interrogate
some of the multiple articulations between and among internships,
capitalism, communication, and culture. Employers in the media and
cultural sectors are regularly singled out as playing a key role in
perpetuating the normalization and intensification of unpaid or low paid
intern labour, illuminating the interplay of glamourous occupations, the
reserve army of labour, and discount wages. For many young people,
internships provide an initial encounter with and formative experience
of the capitalist labour market, yet the relationship between
internships and the category of exploitation is not necessarily
straightforward. And many youth are shut out of internships altogether,
highlighting the way class divisions structure entry into communication
and cultural industries. Internships are also an emerging trope in
popular media culture, with television shows ranging from Girls to
Gallery Girls pointing to the gendered dimension of internships. And, if
internships are in the international spotlight today, it is thanks to
growing intern labour activism and the way interns and their allies have
turned their communicative capacities to alternative ends, raising
awareness through DIY video-making, engaging in creative online protest
and campaigns, and effectively naming-and-shaming intern employers via
social media.

Internships are an entry point for interrogating contested conditions of
life and labour in communicative capitalism at a time when precarity is
an overarching structure of feeling. So, we invite articles, reports,
interviews, and pieces that develop key concepts from academics,
activists, and interns (current and former) on issues including but not
limited to:
* the political-economic context of the spread of (unpaid) internships
* the relationship of internships to student debt and youth unemployment
* social exclusion based on class, race, and gender and intersectional
analysis of the social relations of internships;
* the production of meaning, e.g., discourse analysis of media coverage
of intern issues, everyday talk of internships (‘paying your dues,’
‘getting a foot in the door’);
* representations of internships in popular media culture;
* government regulation, policy proposals, legal issues, and
class-action law suits;
* ‘passionate labour,’ governmentality, self-exploitation, working for
exposure, network sociality, and reputational economies;
* case studies of internships within and/or across particular sectors of
the arts, media, and cultural industries (e.g., journalism, fashion, film);
* historical perspectives on internships in the communication and
cultural industries;
* intern activism within and beyond the union movement; strategies,
tactics, and organizing models;
* critical and contextualized biographical accounts of internship
* the role of education institutions in the intern economy;
* genealogy of the term ‘intern’;
* elite internships and access;
* theoretical key concepts for interrogating internships, such as
exploitation, youth, and intersectionality, etc.

* Peer-reviewed academic articles: 5,000-8,000 words not including
* Interviews, reports from organizations, non-academic articles:
1,000-2,500 words not including references
* Key concept entries: 1,000-2,000 words not including references

Publishing Schedule:

Jan. 15, 2014: deadline for proposals (300-500 word abstract)
Feb. 1, 2014: notification of acceptance (scholarly articles still
subject to peer review)
June 1, 2014: deadline for first drafts
Aug. 1, 2014: editorial feedback provided
Oct. 1, 2014: final drafts submitted
Nov. 1, 2014: publication of special issue

Please send queries and abstract proposals (including title, abstract of
around 300-500 words, affiliation, contact data, brief biographical
note) via email to the 3 co-editors:

Nicole S. Cohen
Institute of Communication, Culture and Information Technology
University of Toronto Mississauga
(nicole.cohen /at/

Greig de Peuter
Department of Communication Studies
Wilfrid Laurier University
(gdepeuter /at/

Enda Brophy
School of Communication
Simon Fraser University
(ebrophy /at/

About the journal:
tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique is a non-profit open
access journal focusing on the study of media, digital media,
information and communication in contemporary capitalist societies. For
this task, articles should employ critical theories and/or empirical
research inspired by critical theories and/or philosophy and ethics
guided by critical thinking as well as relate the analysis to power
structures and inequalities of capitalism, especially forms of
stratification such as class, racist and other ideologies and capitalist
patriarchy. The journal is especially interested in how analyses relate
to normative, political and critical dimensions and how they help
illuminating conditions that foster or hinder the advancement of an
inclusive, just and participatory information society. It publishes both
theoretical and empirical contributions as well as reflections and book

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