Archive for 2019

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[Commlist] CFP: Infrastructures and Inequalities Conference

Wed Jan 23 09:40:52 GMT 2019

Infrastructures and Inequalities: Media industries, digital cultures and politics

Call for Papers ECREA Mid-Year Section Conference

21-22 October 2019, University of Helsinki, Finland

Joint Conference of three ECREA Sections:
Communication and Democracy; Digital Culture and Communication; and Media Industries and Cultural Production

Abstract Deadline 1 June 2019

Confirmed keynote speakers:


    Lisa Parks, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


    Kaarina Nikunen, University of Tampere

In a turn to ‘infrastructuralism’ (Peters 2015), media and communication scholars are increasingly attentive to the materialities and politics of the technological, organisational and cultural infrastructures that underpin media today. Platforms, data centres, software, but also new forms of organising cultural production and labour, shape the politics of digital cultures and transform the media industries. Digital and media infrastructures have become elemental to everyday life. They are significant in reproducing existing social and cultural inequalities, as well as creating new power struggles. As digital/media infrastructures unfold in everyday life, they bring challenges across multiple domains, from the foundations of social justice to the industrial structures underpinning our everyday interactions with media and communication systems. This conference aims to address the politics and inequalities that emerge, as technological and media industries adopt, dismantle and transform infrastructures to channel and process communication flows. Media infrastructures (broadly) operate under different and uneven conditions that configure media labour, media production, and the politics of communication and access (Starosielski and Parks 2015). This conference seeks to examine digital/media infrastructures and inequalities from an inter- and multi-disciplinary perspective, inviting papers to interrogate the significance of the ‘infrastructural turn’ in media and communication studies to our understanding of media industries, democracy and digital cultures.

During this joint-ECREA section conference, we aim to engage with questions concerning inequalities and the infrastructures of digital culture, media industries and (digital) democracy through addressing topics such as (but not limited to):


    The value, significance and relevance of infrastructure studies to
    media industry studies, the study of media and democracy, as well as
    digital culture


    The industries and labour that operate and control specific
    technological media infrastructures, such as data centres, cloud
    computing, cable/satellite networks, content delivery networks


    The politics and power dynamics of digital/media infrastructures


    The significance of digital/media infrastructures in everyday life,
    especially related to the reproduction of social inequalities


    The impact of digital/media infrastructures on culture, society,
    politics and democracy


    The impact of digital/media infrastructures on media labour and
    cultural production


    The organisational and cultural infrastructures of the media industries


    Experiences and affective relationships that emerge in connection
    with media infrastructures


    Forms of logistical media


    Temporalities of media infrastructures


    Emerging questions for the foundations of social justice in the
    digital media infrastructural turn

Submission details

Please submit a 300-word abstract for individual proposals.

Panel proposals should include a 300-word panel rationale plus individual 200 word abstracts from a minimum of four speakers.

All abstracts for individual as well as panel proposals should be submitted through EasyChair:

Deadline for submission is 1 June 2019. Notifications of acceptance will be issued by 30 June 2019.

Registration and Fees

Early bird registration €100 (until 12th August)

Early bird reduced student fee €50 (until 12 August)

Full fees €120  (to be paid until the 15th of September)

Reduced student fee €60 (to be paid until the 15th of September)

For more information and enquiries, contact:

Julia Velkova, University of Helsinki at (julia.velkova /at/

Anne Kaun, Södertörn University at (anne.kaun /at/

Sander de Rieder, University of Ghent at (sander.deridder /at/

Or consult the conference website:

Scientific Committee:

Ysabel Gerrard, University of Sheffield

Catherine Johnson, University of Huddersfield

Ana Jorge, Research Centre for Communication and Culture, Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Anne Kaun, Södertörn University

Maria Michalis, University of Westminster

Christina Neumayer, IT-University of Copenhagen

Sander de Rieder, University of Ghent

Emiliano Treré, University of Cardiff

Julia Velkova, Consumer Society Research Centre, University of Helsinki

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