Call for papers: Protest and the Media, University of Westminster, 12 and 13 June 2013

The 5th Annual Conference of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University Westminster, held in association with the British Journalism Review, will focus on ‘Protest Movements, Free Speech and the Media’.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • W. Lance Bennett, Professor of Political Science, Ruddick C. Lawrence Professor of Communication, and Director of the Center for Communication and Civic Engagement, University of Washington
  • Nick Couldry, Professor of Media and Communications and Director of the Goldsmiths Centre for the Study of Global Media and Democracy, Goldsmiths College

The recent wave of protests sweeping both authoritarian regimes and Western liberal democracies has highlighted the close interconnections between media and protest, particularly in times of economic hardship. New forms of social media can disrupt constraints placed on traditional sources of information and public debate, whether through state intervention or monopolistic private ownership, and in theory provide platforms for a multiplicity of voices. Going beyond the hype surrounding ‘Twitter’ or ‘Facebook’ revolutions, this year’s conference will look at the role of media in representing and promoting protest and dissent. It will explore how contemporary media can shape practices of organizing, decision-making and mobilisation, change the focus of public debate, and influence the structure of protest movements and their capacity for social and political change.

Our focus is not confined solely to recent protests or to new media. Instead, we aim to situate current movements such as Occupy or the movements of the Arab Spring within broader trajectories of protest with papers examining the role of media in past mobilizations. We also seek to investigate the plurality of media used in protest, both new and old, mainstream and alternative, digital, analogue and paper-based.

We welcome a variety of approaches and topics which may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  •  Media representations of protest
  •  Media surveillance, censorship and repression of dissent
  •  Media and the global diffusion of protest
  •  The interaction between alternative/ citizen journalism and mainstream media
  •  The interface between protest movements and journalists
  •  The role of mediated communication in the organizing and decision-making practices of protest movements
  •  Protest movements and their use of the media to appeal to the state
  •  Comparisons between the role of the media in current and past protest movements
  •  The impact of the media on protest movements’ capacity for social and political change

PROGRAMME AND REGISTRATION
The conference will take place on Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 June 2013. The fee for registration will be £195 with a concessionary rate of £99 for students, to cover all conference documentation, refreshments, lunches, wine reception and administration costs. Registration will open in March 2013.

DEADLINE FOR ABSTRACTS
The deadline for abstracts is Monday 4 February 2013. Successful applicants will be notified by Monday 18 February 2013. Abstracts should be 250 words long. They must include the presenter’s name, affiliation, email and postal address, together with the title of the paper. Please send abstracts to Helen Cohen atjournalism(at)westminster.ac.uk

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