Communication, Capitalism and Social Change: Policy, Practice, Praxis

European Sociological Association (ESA) ‐ Research Network 18: Sociology of Communications and Media Research in cooperation with Croatian Sociological Association (HSD), Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO), Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FFZG), University of Zagreb invites applications for the Communication, Capitalism and Social Change: Policy, Practice, Praxis ESA RN18 Mid-Term Conference 2018, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia, September 6-8, 2018.


Keynote Speakers:

Natalie Fenton (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Fake Democracy, Digital Media: Reinventing our Democratic Futures?

Vincent Mosco (Queen’s University, Canada):

The Next Internet


Abstract submission deadline: 1 April

Notification of selected abstracts: 15 May

Conference dates: September 6-8, 2018


Communication is essential to society. There are no social relations without communication, and communication is the key for the intersubjective understanding of humans. Communication is embedded within relations of production in digital capitalism. It is increasingly commodified in digital networks while political radicalism finds new support in right-wing populism. Open, democratic communication is much needed in times of increasing radicalisation of human existence in conservative discourses and confines of consumer logic.

Non-regulated markets, radical politics and corporate technologies distort the social foundations of critical reason, and common-sense. Legacy media, automated systems, fake news, market failures, and global monopolies of key internet services systematically distort the inter-subjective potential of communication.

Burning social issues such as rising inequality, poverty, migration, and climate change cannot be tackled without a common understanding of the main challenges facing humanity. While global networks offer the potential for human liberation, we are witnessing a familiar pattern in which political and economic elites take over the means of communication and common understanding.

What is to be done remains an open question. Supposedly value-neutral media policies often end up proposing administrative adjustments to communication systems, cater to the existing structures, and offer only minor adaptations of the regulatory framework. The key is to break the cycle in which such reforms perpetuate the fundamentally flawed social system.

Systemic tendencies of global capitalism towards creating monopolies, destroying natural resources, increasing inequality, spreading racism and xenophobia are well established. Yet moving from the accumulated critical knowledge towards an actual social change is no easy task. The demand for a better society, and a move from theory to action is a thorny political issue.

Open, democratic communication is the starting point for any meaningful societal change. Such a situation makes it increasingly important to revisit the critical ideas of democratic rationalization within policy and the philosophy of praxis.

The ESA mid-term conference is particularly interested in, but not limited to, the following questions:

Theorizing communication and social change

What theories help us to explain communication and social change? What is the role of the philosophy of praxis in establishing a more just and equal society? What are the current and ‘forgotten’ theoretical approaches that can be of use for us today?

Market failures

Why and how do markets fail to provide positive externalities and public goods? Why do commons-based projects become increasingly commodified? What is the role of intellectual property rights in digital capitalism?

Policy failures

What kind of policies regarding communication and the media prevail today? Why do policies fail to promote the establishment of a more just and equal society? What is the future of media policy for bringing social change?

Media frames of key social issues

How are social inequality, poverty, migration, climate change and other issues framed by the media? How do key actors communicate through the media? What are the obstacles and barriers of mediated representations for bringing social change?

Ideological discourses

What are the main obstacles for democratic communication? How is communication distorted by ideological, conservative and nationalist discourses in contemporary society? What is the role of automated systems and algorithms?

Digitized workspaces

How is communication turned into labour? What is the role of global supply chains for digitized work environments? What are the main tensions, contradictions and struggles in digitized work relations?

Alternatives and social movements

Who are the potential actors promoting democratic communication? How is social change in general demanded by the current media development and how by social movements, NGOs and community media with the use of ICTs? What are the main global and local demands for social change?


 Abstract submission

Abstract submission deadline: 1 April

Notification of selected abstracts: 15 May

Conference dates: September 6-8, 2018

Abstracts should be sent to:

Dr Roy Panagiotopoulou (University of Athens, Greece) rpanag@media.uoa.gr

Dr Thomas Allmer (University of Stirling, UK) thomas.allmer@stir.ac.uk

Abstracts should be sent as e-mail attachment (250-300 words including title, author name(s), email address, and institutional affiliations). Please insert the words “ESARN18 submission” in the subject.


Conference fees

80 Euros for ESA RN18 members / 100 Euros for non ESA RN18 members (conference dinner included)

60 Euros for ESA RN18 members / 80 Euros for non ESA RN18 members (without conference dinner)

25 Euros for students (Bachelor and Master) (without conference dinner) / 45 Euros (conference dinner included)

The registration details, including the registration form, will be available on the conference website in May 2018.

You can become a member of ESA RN18 by joining the ESA and subscribing to the network. The network needs material support, so we encourage you to join or renew your membership. The network subscription fee is only 10 Euros:

http://www.europeansociology.org/member

Participation support for 4 PhD students and/or independent researchers will be available. This will not cover all costs, but part of them (accommodation and full conference fee). Preference will be given to presentations that suit the overall conference topic.

If you want to apply for participation support, please send an extended abstract (300 – 400 words), biographical information (up to 250 words) and indicate this in your abstract submission by adding the sentence “I want to apply for participation support for PhD students / independent researchers”. The notifications about participation support will be sent out together with the notifications of acceptance or rejection of presentations. Additional information to prove your position as a PhD student or independent researcher will be requested.


Conference venue

The conference will be hosted by the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Zagreb. The Faculty is located at Ivana Lučića 3, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia. The event is co-organized by the Croatian Sociological Association (HSD), Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) and the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (FFZG).


The ESA RN18 organising committee is led by

Dr Roy Panagiotopoulou, Coordinator of ESA RN-18, University of Athens

Dr Romina Surugiu, Coordinator of ESA RN-18, University of Bucharest

Dr Thomas Allmer, Co-coordinator of ESA RN-18, University of Stirling

Dr Marisol Sandoval, Co-coordinator of ESA RN-18, City University of London

The local organising committee includes:

Dr Paško Bilić, Chair of the organisational board, Department for Culture and Communication, Institute for Development and International Relations

Dr Kruno Kardov, Chair of the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Zagreb

Dr Jasminka Lažnjak, President, Croatian Sociological Association

Dr Helena Popović, Department of Journalism, Faculty of Political Science. University of Zagreb

Dr Jaka Primorac, Department for Culture and Communication, Institute for Development and International Relations


European Sociological Association (ESA) Research Network 18: Sociology of Communications and Media Research provides a platform for critical research and debate on questions of power, inequality, identity and social change in increasingly mediatized societies. Key research areas include but are not limited to the Internet, digital and social media, alternative media, media and protest, journalism, media and capitalism, media work, ideology and media discourse, media and gender, global media, public sphere, political communication, theories of media and communication, media policy, media industries, ownership and power.

HSD – Croatian Sociological Association is the professional non-profit association of sociologists of around 300 members, founded in 1959 as Sociological Association of Croatia. The association’s current name dates from 1992, when the association became a member of the International Sociological Association. It is also a member of the European Sociological Association. Currently, the Croatian Sociological Association has eleven specialised sections covering broad areas and social domains and has been publishing the scientific journal Sociological Review since 1971. Sociology as an academic discipline has a long tradition in Zagreb. The first chair for criminal studies and sociology was established in 1906 at the Faculty of Law as the first sociology chair in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. In 2018 the Association celebrates the centenary of the first Sociological Society Zagreb that was founded in 1918 and active until 1932.

IRMO – Institute for Development and International Relations was founded by the University of Zagreb and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce in 1963 as the Africa Research Institute. Its research focus evolved from the study of post-colonial Africa, through the developing countries of Asia and Latin America and finally towards the global development processes. Currently, the Institute is organized into four departments: Department for International Economic and Political Relations, Department for European Integration, Department for Resource Economics, Environmental Protection and Regional Development, and the Department for Culture and Communication. Within its interdisciplinary approach, the Department for Culture and Communication studies social, political and economic underpinnings of digital culture, digital networks, cultural and media industries, cultural and media policies, and other areas.

Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb was foundehttp://esarn18zagreb.org/d on the initiative of Rudi Supek in 1963. Today the Department of Sociology is one of the leading institutions in Croatia in development and transmission of evidence-based knowledge of Croatian society and social processes in the region. The Department consists of eleven subject area divisions with a strong research tradition in the areas of sociology of sexuality, military and war, quantitative methodology, and urban and migration studies. Current research orientation of the Department covers the area of inequality, socio-demography, security and digital transformation.


See conference website for more details:

CfP

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