Archive for publications, February 2015

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[ecrea] Abstracts for critical approaches to advertising book

Mon Feb 23 20:49:00 GMT 2015


Abstracts due 1 March 2015

Working book title: “Critical Studies in Advertising; Theory and Critique.”

Few other areas of communication research are as ripe for a critical reassessment as is the critical study of advertising.

A good case can be made that current and impending practices of advertising have exceeded the grasp of traditional modes of critique. The culture-industry thesis developed by the Frankfurt School, the mass-culture thesis of social criticism, theses of cultural imperialism, of semiotic criticism, and of simulacra (to name just a few) emerged at a time of and are premised upon advertising and media systems up through the 1980s, which were comparatively highly centralized, professionalized and routinized.

However, emergent advertising/media systems today increasingly exceed such characterizations and the perspectives upon which they are premised. These include:

• A growing and digitally-driven advertising ecosystem, which depends more and more on marketing research to improve the efficiency and value of ad spending. • The practice of tracking consumer behavior across ubiquitous computing environments to profile and personalize ad content, which is reconfiguring the ad industry and its practices, with important social implications. • The expansion of advertising and promotion into increasingly broader realms of society and experience. • Data-driven targeting, marketing and consumer response, which raises long-standing issues of privacy, autonomy, and the production of individual experience to qualitatively different levels. • The steady incorporation of user activity in the forms of mobile media and social media, which renders less and less adequate binary conceptions of rank manipulation by an elite or of the implications of advertising as ones of false consciousness, misinformation, the production of simulations/spectacle, and the like. • Digital profiling and personalization based on tracking user content, which may usher in new forms of manipulation and social discrimination that current critical approaches are ill-equipped to address.

To address the need to develop greater theoretical purchase on existing and imminent practices of advertising, this edited collection seeks to historicize current critical approaches to advertising, as well as to theorize resources for what a critical approach to advertising could perhaps be. In doing so, it also seeks to critically interrogate “advertising” itself, recognizing it not as a naturally occurring and obvious thing, but as a concept and historical practice, and thus to reconstruct how it might be made available for critique.

The impetus for this edited collection was a successful preconference at ICA in 2013. We have already received expressions of interest from acquisitions editors at major international publishers in the media-studies field. We expect this collection to be a major international compendium that will quickly become a key source for critical students and scholars of advertising across the world.

While empirical evidence can often be useful in substantiating a case, the focus of all chapters should not be empirical case studies. Rather, all chapters should address primarily theoretical and philosophical issues consonant with the focus sketched above.

As some examples, chapters can:

1. Trace historical, constitutive relationships between traditional critiques of advertising and contexts of their emergence;
2.    Compare and critique different critical perspectives;
3.    Probe, discuss and evaluate recent and emergent theoretical resources;
4. Explore and assess new or neglected critical approaches to advertising.

We particularly encourage international and/or transnational perspectives and arguments.

For full consideration, abstracts of 500 words (maximum) must be received no later than 1 March 2015.

Please send abstracts along with complete contact information to both editors listed below.

Tentative project timeline (subject to change):

• Completed, revised chapters due: 1 September 2015 • Edited collection in final production: 1 November 2015

Direct questions as well as completed abstracts to either of the two editors:

James F. Hamilton
Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication University of Georgia (USA) (Hamilton /at/

Robert Bodle
Department of Communication and Media Studies Mount St. Joseph University (USA) (robert_bodle /at/

James F. (Jay) Hamilton | Associate Professor | Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor | Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication | University of Georgia, 120 Hooper Street, Athens GA 30602-3018 | Tel 706-542-3556 | Fax 706-542-2183 |

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