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[Commlist] CfP ECREA Organisational and Strategic Communication Section conference
Wed Aug 28 11:01:03 GMT 2019
See below a reminder of the call for papers for the forthcoming
conference on promotional culture. ***Note the abstract submission
deadline is extended to _Monday 16 September_**. *We look forward to
receiving your submissions.
*Call for papers*
*Complexity, hybridity, liminality: Challenges of researching
contemporary promotional cultures*
A European Communication Research and Education Association conference
co-sponsored by the ECREA Organisational and Strategic Communication
section; the Department of Media and Communications, LSE; and the
Department of Media and Communication, University of Leicester.
*Date/Time:*Friday 21 February 2020, 09:30-17:30
*Venue:*The Silverstone Room, Department of Media and Communications,
Fawcett House (7th floor), London School of Economics and Political
Science, London WC2A 2AE
We live in a time characterised by uncertainty, hybridity and
complexity, when the powerful dualisms that characterised the
post-Enlightenment era (nature/society, human/machine, male/female,
etc.) are being problematised in a fundamental way. This conference
explores how we research the promotional cultures that have become
central to the liminal times in which we live. What strategies do we use
to explore and attempt to understand the assemblage of technologies,
texts, networks, and actors in contemporary promotion?
The moniker ‘promotional culture’ is now well-established as a way of
describing the ubiquitous presence of promotional work – whether public
relations, branding, advertising or other forms - in all aspects of our
lives (Davis, 2013). It is enacted by organisations working in all
sectors, from politics to the arts, in non-profit and commercial
environments, while individuals also adopt promotional techniques in the
ways they present themselves and their lives to others. However, the
singularity of the term ‘culture’ belies the fluid and complex worlds
that promotion is built on, engages with, and perpetuates. Organisations
that use promotional tools in their strategic communication can be
implicated in the worst excesses of persuasion and propaganda, yet can
also contribute to positive social change (Demetrious, 2013; Miller &
Dinan, 2007). Communication campaigns track, survey and instrumentalise
our lives through their endless appetite for data, yet ensure
organisations can deliver convenience and interest precisely because
they know us so well (Turow, 2006). Mainstream public relations and
advertising tactics are used to sell us cars, face creams and holidays,
but are deployed to greenwash environmental damage, whitewash corporate
corruption, woke-wash social causes, and frame political opportunism as
strategic thinking. Promotional culture cannot be pinned down to one
form, process or purpose, so how do we account for its complex modes of
production and deployment in our research questions, methods and sites?
To talk about promotional /culture/ is to acknowledge the deep
embeddedness of promotion in quotidian life and the importance of its
circulatory dynamics (Aronczyk, 2013). Just as Williams argued that
culture is a ‘whole way of life’ rather than an elite set of activities
(Williams, 1981), when individuals use promotional tools and tactics on
their own terms, those tools are transformed from being a mechanism of
elite power and repurposed to serve our own agency. Agentic power
circulates through promotional work, via digital and analogue channels,
and with unpredictable outcomes (Collister, 2016; Hutchins & Tindall,
2016). In this sense, promotional culture is a continually emergent
manifestation of the struggle between agency and structure, a hybrid
form of power of which the outcome is never certain. Can research
adequately address the tensions and power struggles that underpin all
promotional work, including inequalities within and between nations and
regions, whether in the Global North and the Global South? To what
extent do we incorporate a wide range of sites, voices and articulations
of its effects, and where are the gaps in our current practice?
This ECREA interim conference invites submissions that address the
challenges of researching the complex, hybrid and liminal nature of
promotion in a range of ways. Submissions may include (but are not
limited to) the following topics:
* Structures of promotion – platforms, suppliers, industry structures,
networked movements, industry hybridity and blurred boundaries
between professional territory in theory and practice;
* Technologies of promotion – modes of production for promotional
work, including digital technologies (data, AI, algorithms, bots) as
well as old (but still current) techniques such as press releases,
events and sponsorships, display advertising, and their effects on
the development of promotional work; the power of promotional
industries and the diffusion or limitation of promotional culture;
* Agents of promotion – ‘good’ and ‘bad’ practitioners and
organisations; producers and/as audiences; non-human agents and
their effects on promotional campaigns, circulation, and impact;
* Representations of promotion – practice, practitioners,
organisations, industries and professional fields as good, bad,
inevitable, normal, deficient, diverse, or a matter of professional
pride, and their continuity and change over time.
* Effects of promotion – from populism in politics to excessive or
ethical consumption, to social and political activism and change;
from racialised, gendered and classed audiences, messages and images
to subaltern discourses and representations that reassert the power
of the ‘other’ on a local, national and global scale;
* Ethics of promotion – from deontological, teleological or virtue
ethics, to an ethics of practice, feminist ethics, globalised
ethics, or, alternatively, contractual ethics, ethics in the digital
sphere, and their effects on practice;
* Methods of promotional research – challenges of researching the
digital, excavating promotional ideologies, confronting professions,
engaging audiences through academic work, and the risks and
realities of research that can equally promote change or speak into
To submit to the conference, abstracts of 500 words should be submitted
by *16 September 2019 *to the conference organisers, at the following
email: (media.promotion2020 /at/ lse.ac.uk)
<mailto:(media.promotion2020 /at/ lse.ac.uk)>. Decisions on papers will be made
by 30 September 2019. Full papers should be submitted by 15 January
2020, to give time for them to be circulated to conference participants.
The Department of Media and Communications at the LSE and the Department
of Media and Communication at the University of Leicester are
making travel stipends available for a small number of PhD students, to
support their attendance at the conference. The application process for
the stipends will be publicised closer to the conference date.
If you have any further questions please contact the conference
organisers Lee Edwards ((l.edwards2 /at/ lse.ac.uk)) or Ian Somerville
((ijas /at/ le.ac.uk)).
Aronczyk, M. (2013). The transnational promotional class and the
circulation of value(s). In M. MacAllister & E. West (Eds.), /The
Routledge companions to advertising and promotional culture/ (pp.
159-173). New York: Routledge.
Collister, S. (2016). Algorithmic public relations: Materiality,
technology and power in a post-hegemonic world. In J. L'Etang, D. McKie,
N. Snow, & J. Xifra (Eds.), /The Routledge handbook of public relations/
(pp. 360-371). London Routledge.
Davis, A. (2013). /Promotional cultures: The rise and spread of
advertising, public relations, marketing and branding/. Cambridge:
Demetrious, K. (2013). /Public relations, activism and social change:
Speaking up/. New York: Routledge.
Hutchins, A., & Tindall, N. e. (2016). /Public relations and
participatory culture: : fandom, freedom and community engagement/.
Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
Miller, D., & Dinan, W. (2007). /A century of spin: How public relations
became the cutting edge of corporate power/. London: Pluto Press.
Turow, J. (2006). /Niche envy: Marketing discrimination in the digital
age /Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Williams, R. (1981). /Culture/. London, UK: Fontana.
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