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[ecrea] Call for Papers - Pathologies and Dysfunctions of Democracy in the Media Context
Sat Jun 02 08:02:18 GMT 2018
Call for Papers - Pathologies and Dysfunctions of Democracy in the Media
21th Century's New Dystopian Imaginary. From George Orwell to Black
Mirror. From Big Brother to Big Data
November 12-14/UBI, Covilhã, Portugal
University of Beira Interior, along with SOPCOM’s Political
Communication Working Group, will be hosting the 2nd Conferences on
Pathologies and Dysfunctions of Democracy in Media Context, between
November 12th and 14h 2018, choosing as this edition’s subtopic 21th
Century’s New Dystopian Imaginary. From George Orwell to Black Mirror.
From Big Brother to Big Data.
20th Century's dystopian predictions have become object of a recent
revisitation. Donald Trump's election in the United States of America,
the several xenophobic and ultra-nationalist threats emerging in
different geographical and political contexts, populism phenomena, as
well as excessive surveillance, counter-information, and the so-called
"fake news" have drawn attention to some dystopian portrays conceived in
the 20th Century which are now being considered an appropriate depiction
of democracy and political communication's new pathologies.
The Huffington Post has published a text by Christian Fuchs examining
Donald Trump's leadership style from the perspective of Theodor Adorno's
worldview on authoritarian personality. The Guardian has turned to the
Frankfurt School to analyze the now famous "alt-right" connected with
Steve Bannon’s name. Neil Postman's essays have been recurrently
referred around and about surveillance studies. The New York Review of
Books has included essays speculating on which book best-anticipated new
forms of political intervention within media context, after phenomena
such as fake news and the infamous post-truth: would it be George
Orwell's 1984 or Aldous Huxley's Brave New World? These two classics
registered substantial increases in sales and popularity. The George
Orwell essays on language were mentioned, in traditional press,
following the phenomena of media manipulation. Cinephile memory was
evoked alluding to films such as King Vidor's The Crowd. Finally,
televised fiction itself has inaugurated a string of quality series
pointing to a dystopian depiction of contemporary political
communication, having Mr. Robot and Black Mirror as two of the most
In this Conference, participants are asked to privilege contemporary or
classical sources with dystopian perspectives related to social
mediatisation processes which are still currently able to translate a
certain degree of topicality regarding contemporary phenomena.
Examples of such sources and references include:
- Social Science’s classical works; dystopian or critical approaches,
such as Orwell's essays on literature and the writings of Canetti,
Freud, Bakhtin, Adorno, Marcuse, Postman, among several other pertinent
- Classical Dystopian Literature: from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to
Robert L. Stevenson’s Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hide, paradigmatic from the
first reactions to scientific research and technological progress, other
significant works have befallen, such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal
Farm, Aldous Huxley's Island or Brave New World, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We,
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids, Anthony
Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange, J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World, Stephen
King’s pseudonym Richard Bachman’s The Running Man, William Gibson’s
Neuromancer, not forgetting the works from Doctorow, Kurt Vonnegut and
Philip K. Dick (the significant Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep), nor
more recent novels such as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale and
Oryx and Crake, Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, and Kristen
Simmons´s Article 5. Among us, resorting to fantastic fiction has been
employed to criticize consumption capitalism with José Saramago's Essay
Visual arts and some utterly diverse fictional perspectives include
shows like Black Mirror, Mr. Robot, The Man on the High Castle, Altered
Carbon or The Handmaid’s tale), films such as Ridley Scott's Blade
Runner, Lars von Trier's Dogville, Fritz Lang's Metropolis, or King
Vidor's The Crowd, comics like the unique works of Moebius or Enki
Bilal, among many others, design (Dunne & Raby, Metahaven), and also
other contemporary artistic forms with a deeply interventional and
Therefore, we aim to mobilize a wide diversity of classical and
contemporary contributions which, departing from the perspectives of
Communication Sciences, Critical Theory, Film Studies, Arts and Literary
Studies, may allow us to approach elements of the new contemporary
political landscape defined, among other social phenomena, by the
presence of digital media.
Following the 1st Symposium on Pathologies and Dysfunctions of Democracy
in Media Context, this second edition will also be structured after
three thematic axes, useful to focus our attention on a few chosen
1. Hyper-surveillance, and control mechanisms:
Within digital social networks and infotainment, invisibility, the right
to forget and be forgotten, and the reserve of a private life acquire an
almost subversive nature in an age defined by hyper-communication.
2. Leadership, transgression, and manipulation: "scandalogy" as a new
science of communication?
The media staging of power mobilizes protagonists to a reality in which
rationality and public responsibility are confronted with multiple risks
of scandal arising from a permanent state of collective scrutiny.
"Scandalogy" is a concept already used to project the study of image
crisis’ phenomena, increasingly emerging due to the opportunities of
On the other hand, opportunities to mobilize data in order to reinforce
manifestations of panic or alarm are becoming more evident. Concepts
such as "information", "agenda-setting " and "participation" are being
challenged today by a an almost belligerent mobilization of media resources.
3. Identities and policies of life in a hyper-mediated society
Recent developments on the recognition of women’s rights and promotion
of new affirmative policies intended to improve gender equality coincide
with an ever-increasing controversy around the concept of "political
At the same time, while affirmations concerning human dignity appear to
be progressively incorporated in political discourse, phenomena such as
xenophobia, misogyny, racism, cultural, racial and ethnic confrontation,
and, at the limit, the proliferation of genocides, rise to a previously
unimaginable proportion and extent.
Considering this context,
A) Labcom.IFP and the Organizing Committee invite all researchers,
artists, performers, and activists interested in examining such issues
(as much from classical as from contemporary references) to present an
expanded abstract of 600 words in which social-scientific approaches,
fictional topics, or their multiple possible combinations are to be
discussed. If the presentation consists in a documentary, short film or
animation, the author(s) must submit both a synopsis and a 2,5 minutes
sample of the proposal.
B) After the blind peer reviewing process, 45 submissions will be
selected. Those submissions may assume the form of Case Studies,
Empirical Observations, Literature Reviews, Essays, Documentaries, Short
films and Animations.
C) Essays and Scientific papers should not exceed 10 pages, intended to
a fifteen-minute presentation. Documentaries, short films, and
animations are to be presented in digital format and have a maximum
duration of 10 minutes, since their full presentation must also not
exceed fifteen minutes.
Each of these three axes will include a plenary panel, with national and
international guest keynote speakers. Each plenary panel will then be
followed by three parallel thematic sessions, each of them containing
five of the selected presentations, to a total of 45 peer reviewed
D) Abstracts and synopses must be submitted - both in English and in the
original language of the selected works, until June 15, at 6:00 p.m.
Author's acceptance notification will be announced by the end of the
first week of July. Non-selected proposals will not receive any
E) The written submissions will be published, either in a scientific
journal or in the Conference's Proceedings, with ISBN.
F) The audiovisual and / or non-written submissions will be displayed in
a proper digital platform.
G) All the authors with accepted proposals must formalize and pay their
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