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[ecrea] Call for Papers: Special issue of Participations - Perceptions of Censorship

Fri Jul 31 13:13:29 GMT 2015

*Call for Submissions- /Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception

*Special Issue: “Thinking about Censorship Differently”*

*Expected Publication Date: November 2016 (Vol 13, Issue 2)*


*Co-Editors*: Clarissa Smith (University of Sunderland, UK); Mark
McKenna (Glyndwr University, UK); Jason Zenor (State University of
NY-Oswego, US)


/Participations/is the online Journal devoted to the broad field of
audience and reception studies. It aims to bring into dialogue work and
debate across all fields involved in examining all areas of media and
culture. /Participations/ has pioneered a system of open refereeing for
all contributions, designed to encourage open, critical debate among
researchers.  It can be found at


*Call for Papers*

Over the last few years, the issue of censorship has been looming
larger. Governments have always been keen to close down arguments which
they find threatening; sometimes arbitrarily, sometimes with at least a
superficial attempt at ‘justification’. Recently, this has taken the
form (in many places) of attempts to shut down the social media which
are perceived to be beyond governmental control. At the same time,
rising levels of conflict around religion have pushed the issue of
‘offence’ high on the agenda while different kinds of cultural
representation involving race, gender and sexuality have been defined as
‘dangerous’. The result has been such horrible moments as the attack on
the offices of /Charlie Hebdo /in Paris in January. It is in such
contexts that governments are likely to reverse their usual rhetorics,
and speak out for ‘freedom of speech’ – even when they have been happy
enough to stifle it themselves in various ways.

All kinds of working assumptions about how cultural and media materials
are received by members of the public are embedded within these ongoing
arguments and counter-arguments. On one side, when authorities are /for
/censorship, there are usually claims about the ‘immaturity’ and
‘vulnerability’ of the people who need protecting, often from
themselves. On the other side, when the right to ‘freedom of speech’ is
paraded, then come the claims that people can ‘get the joke’, can ‘see
satire for what it is’. When campaigning groups of any kind denounce
‘offensive’ materials, they usually proclaim their own emotional outrage
on behalf of those whom they imagine will be harmed by the offending

Many kinds of voices, including those of academic researchers, are heard
in the ongoing debates about all these issues: from law, political
studies, religious studies, sociology, psychology, and so on. But what
might be the contribution of audience and reception studies?
Accordingly, we are pleased to announce a Special Issue of
/Participations:  Journal of Audience and Reception Studies/. We are
interested to hear from scholars and practitioners who are studying the
nexus of censorship and reception.

Possible questions to be addressed are:

 1. How are debates about censorship conducted, and what claims are made
    about ‘audiences’ in concrete circumstances?
 2. How does the concept/discourse of ‘offence’ work in different
    contexts and for different audiences?
 3. How do audiences claimed to be ‘immature’ actually relate to and
    make sense of the materials deemed dangerous for them?
 4. How do particular audiences claim challenging materials for
    themselves, and insist on making sense of them in particular ways?
 5. How do audiences read media depictions of censorship?
 6. How does audience reception of censorship differ in the context of
    fictional versus non-fictional texts?
 7. How do audiences interpret concepts such as insensitivity,
    incivility and indecency in mediated channels?
 8. How do audiences subvert censorship/attempts at censorship?
 9. What are individual’s and group’s experiences of being excluded from
    public discussion.
10. What is the relationship between censorship and memory?
11. How do definitions of censorship change moving from texts to platforms?

Manuscripts can cover various media (e.g. games, theatre, film, comics,
music, television, social media, etc.) and genres (news, reality
programming, non-fiction, pornography, etc.). Topics may also include
non-mediated events such as protests, demonstrations, developing
communities of resistance, navigating legal frameworks, etc.  The
editors welcome theoretical essays as well as empirical studies from
various methodologies.

Please send a 250 word abstract to (jason.zenor /at/
<mailto:(jason.zenor /at/>by October 31, 2015. Please title the
email “Participations Special Issue – your last name.”


Abstracts Due: October 31 2015

Decisions to Authors: November 30 2015

Full submissions: May 1 2016

Final drafts: September 1 2016

Publication: November 2016

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