[artinfo] Call for Papers: Rethinking Power in Communicative Capitalism

Marisol Sandoval marisol.sandoval at uti.at
Tue Feb 16 11:22:23 CET 2016

Call for Papers

Rethinking Power in Communicative Capitalism. 
Critical Perspectives on Media, Culture and 

ESA RN18 Mid-Term Conference 2016
Venue: ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
Date: September 8-10, 2016
Website: http://esarn18.tumblr.com

Keynote Speakers:
Jodi Dean (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, NY, 
USA): Communicative capitalism and class struggle

Christian Fuchs (University of Westminster, UK): 
Karl Marx and communicative capitalism

Important dates:
Abstract submission deadline: May, 15, 2016
Notification of selected abstracts: June, 10, 2016
Conference dates: September 8-10, 2016

Please send your 250-400 words abstract to Romina 
Surugiu (University of Bucharest) 
romina.surugiu at fjsc.ro, Roy Panagiotopoulou 
(University of Athens) rpanag at media.uoa.gr, and 
Marisol Sandoval (City University London) 
marisol.sandoval.1 at city.ac.uk

Call for Papers:

The proliferation of digital media in the 21st 
century has once again shown the deeply 
ambivalent and contradictory potentials of 
technological development.

Digital technologies have been celebrated for 
enabling new levels of democratic communication, 
participatory media production, community 
building and media activism. From Wikipedia, to 
open source programming, open access publishing, 
and peer-to-peer file sharing, we have witnessed 
the rise of a range of alternative forms of 
communication and media production that seemed to 
challenge established media business models and 
momentarily contested corporate power.

However, far from decreasing the dominance of 
corporate media, the expansion of digital 
culture, the Internet and social media further 
strengthened the power of multinational 
corporations over media culture and human 
communication. Despite the rhetoric of 'social' 
media, sharing, community and collaboration, the 
majority of the digital media sphere remains 
privately owned and controlled. In this corporate 
media system, multinational corporations maintain 
almost exclusive control over large parts of the 
media and communication technology, 
infrastructure and content. 

Power in communicative capitalism is uneven and 
corporate control confronts us with a range of 
problems such as the systematic surveillance of 
Internet users, an increasingly commercialised 
online environment, devastating environmental 
impacts of the production and usage of media 
technologies and the global exploitation of 
digital labour. (Digital) media technologies are 
deeply entangled with the on-going economic, 
social, environmental and political crises.

Mobilising the empowering qualities of digital 
technologies and their potential to contribute to 
progressive social change requires an effective 
critique of corporate dominance, challenging 
power inequalities and strengthening radical 

This conference invites contributions that offer 
a critical analysis of corporate media culture 
and alternatives to it and thus contribute to 
rethinking power in communicative capitalism.

Questions that can be addressed include, but are 
not limited to the following ones:

-	Theorizing communicative capitalism
How does power work in communicative capitalism, 
how can it be theorised and rethought? 

-	Ideology in communicative capitalism
What are the main forms of ideology in 
communicative capitalism and how do they operate 
in the media? Which forms and approaches of 
ideology critique do we need to understand them? 
How are contemporary right-wing extremist, 
far-right populist, fascist, neoliberal, 
patriarchal, racist, anti-socialist, 
pro-capitalist and religious ideologies expressed 
on the Internet and social media and what are the 
ways of expressing their petitions for 
challenging them?

-	The environmental impact of communicative capitalism
What are the environmental impacts of the 
production of media and communication 
technologies along global supply chains? What are 
the environmental impacts of media usage and 
'cloud computing'? What are key drivers of 
negative environmental impacts and how can they 
be confronted?

-	Labour in communicative capitalism
How does exploitation and alienation work in 
communicative capitalism? What is the relation 
between various forms of digital labour? How do 
working conditions look like in the global 
production of media and communication 
technologies? What are the limits and potentials 
of a global solidary labour movement in 
communicative capitalism? How can we best think 
of the relation between work and communication, 
labour and profit, the economy and culture? How 
do we have to rethink or even revise the concepts 
of the "base" and the "superstructure"?

-	Marxism and communicative capitalism
What is the role, importance and legacy of Karl 
Marx's works and Marxist theory in the age of 
communicative capitalism?

-	Gender and sexuality in communicative capitalism
What is the role of and relationship of identity 
politics and anti-capitalism for feminist media 
sociology today?

-	Global perspectives on communicative capitalism
What global power inequalities and asymmetries shape communicative capitalism?

-	Communicative capitalism and the public sphere
How can we best theorise and understand 
potentials and limits for the mediated public 
sphere in communicative capitalism?

-	Media and communicative capitalism 
How have the media changed in recent years? Are 
there scopes beyond the capitalist media? How can 
we best use critical/Marxist political economy 
and other critical approaches for understanding 
the media today? What is the role of media and 
communication technologies in the acceleration 
and globalization of the capitalist economy? What 
are the conditions of working in the media, 
cultural and communication industries in the 
contemporary times? Who owns the media and ICTs? 
What are specific characteristics of knowledge 
and the media as property?

-	Resisting communicative capitalism
What are strategies for left politics to 
effectively resist and challenge communicative 
capitalism? What is the role of media activisms 
today? And the relation between the street 
activism and the media activism ("Tweets and the 
streets"Š)? And how the unions and other kind of 
non-governmental associations use the media? How 
their uses differ from the uses made by the newly 
social movements? Which are the opportunities and 
the limits of media activisms?

-	Alternatives to communicative capitalism
What are the problems and post-capitalist 
potentials of alternative projects such as 
cultural and media co-operatives, left-wing and 
radical media projects, alternative social media, 
alternative online platforms, alternative media, 
community media projects, commons-based media, 
peer production projects, etc.?

-	Communicative capitalism and the common
What are the potentials or the common to 
challenge and offer an alternative to 
communicative capitalism? How can the threat of 
co-optation be resisted?

-	Communicative capitalism and state power
How does the relationship of media, communication 
and state power influence the various forms of 
regulation, control, repression, violence and 

Abstract submission

Submission deadline for abstracts: May, 15, 2016.

An abstract should be sent to:
Dr. Romina Surugiu (University of Bucharest) romina.surugiu at fjsc.ro,
Dr. Roy Panagiotopoulou (University of Athens) rpanag at media.uoa.gr,
Dr. Marisol Sandoval (City University London) marisol.sandoval.1 at city.ac.uk

Abstracts should be sent as e-mail attachment 
(250-400 words abstract, title, author name(s), 
email address, institutional affiliations). 
Please insert the words "ESARN18 submission" in 
the subject.

Conference venue

The conference will be hosted by ISCTE- University Institute of Lisbon

The RN18 organising committee is led by Dr. 
Romina Surugiu, University of Bucharest and Dr. 
Marisol Sandoval, City University London.

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