Communication, Capitalism and Critique: Critical Media Sociology in the 21st Century

We live in times of deepening economic, political, social, pandemic, ideological and ecological crises that are apparent in widespread precarious labour, the commodification of (almost) everything, the rise of new nationalism, populism and authoritarian forms of capitalism, and ecological destruction. The display of power and counter-power, domination and spaces of power struggles, and the commons and the commodification of the commons characterise modern society. Contradictions and antagonisms between the haves and the have-nots shape contemporary Europe and beyond. Media and communication are fields of conflict in this power struggle: they are power structures and sites of power struggles, able to support both the expansion and the commodification of the commons. RN 18 invites contributions to the sociological understanding of these processes at its conference in 2022.

This year’s conference will be in Torino, where the Italian intellectual and political activist Antonio Gramsci lived, and where he set up the weekly newspaper ‘L’Ordine Nuovo’ and acted as editor of the newspaper ‘Il Grido del Popolo’. Gramsci exerted huge influence on the study of culture and communication in society. The meeting will take a particular note of this and invites papers that address the question: What is the relevance of Gramsci and other approaches and thinkers inspired by Marx for the study of communication and society today?

ESA RN18 calls for contributions that shed new light on theoretical and analytical insights that help to shape critical media sociology in the 21st century, in particular, but not exclusively, addressed to any of the following:

  1. Critical Media Sociology and Capitalism
  2. Critical Media Sociology and Critical Theory
  3. Critical Media Sociology and Critical Political Economy of Media, Information and Communication
  4. Critical Media Sociology, Gramsci and Hegemony
  5. Critical Media Sociology and Ideology Critique
  6. Critical Media Sociology and Cultural and Communication Labour
  7. Critical Media Sociology and Digital Labour
  8. Critical Media Sociology, New Nationalism and Authoritarianism
  9. Critical Media Sociology, Consumption and Production in Urban Processes
  10. Critical Media Sociology, Patriarchy and Gender
  11. Critical Media Sociology, Social Inequality, Identity and Subjectivities
  12. Critical Media Sociology, COVID-19, Pandemic and Crisis
  13. Critical Media Sociology, Ecology and Climate
  14. Critical Media Sociology, Democracy and the Public Sphere
  15. Critical Media Sociology and the Left
  16. Critical Media Sociology, the Commons and Alternatives

While the conference wishes to encourage contributions to the questions indicated here, it seeks to provide an opportunity for the presentation of the best and most widely interesting work by sociologists of communications and media regardless of specific focus.

Abstract submission

Abstract submission deadline: 1 April 2022 – EXTENSION UNTIL 15 APRIL 2022

Notification of selected abstracts: 15 May 2022

Conference dates: 1-3 September 2022

Abstracts should be sent to:

Conference Organising Committee,

Abstracts should be sent as an e-mail attachment (400-600 words including title, author name(s), email address(es), and institutional affiliation(s)). Please insert the words “ESA RN18 Submission” in the subject. Although we do not provide a template for the abstract submission, we expect abstracts that include a rationale, research question(s), theoretical and/or empirical methods applied, and potential results and implications. Each abstract will be independently reviewed by two members of the ESA RN18 Board based on the call for papers.

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