Istanbul 2011 - Media, Religion and Culture Working Group Call for Papers

istanbulInternational Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR)
29th Annual Conference, July 13-17, 2011, Istanbul, Turkey
Cities, Creativity, Connectivity

Media and the Connectivity in Cities Shaping New Relations with the Religious

In addition to the general theme of the conference on cities, creativity and connectivity, for those of us considering the religious as a factor in that reality, the renegotiation of the place of religion within society, in political life, etc. emerges as a central matter calling for elaboration (Istanbul, and Turkey in general, are often cited in this regard).  It seems that the rigid secular character of the state is adjusting to the overwhelming fact of the religious in the lives of the vast majority of their citizens, in a way that that might enter into, and be acknowledged in the public forum.

Without prejudice to a wide range of themes currently being explored in the religion – media relation, the MRC Working Group invites papers exploring the media’s roles in this renegotiation. How, and to what extent are the media permitting the integration of the religious in public deliberation and action, specifically as that emerges and shapes urban processes of connectivity?

Some Considerations

It can be helpful to consider this pattern of renegotiation against the background of developments in communication industries and technologies, and their scholarly evaluation. In fact, this shift relates to these changes. Communication scholars point out that changes in these areas have cultural implications. Media involve the form of activities implicated by participating communicators. In other words, changes in media technology or the mode of encapsulating information influence the type of media culture that is in existence in any given time. When the means of storing and distributing information changes, perceptions also change and these impact on relationships, psychology, identity, traditions and institutions.  

If this is so, then it would be important to explore and identify how communication is part of that readjustment and bringing the renegotiation of the religious-ness in both social and political life, and especially in city spaces. Again, focus on the urban context would benefit from a more general consideration, i.e., how the religious is coming to be expressed in this context as a humanistic, aesthetic, explicitly religious and even fanatical manner in city environments. Explorations of this factor in different geographical contexts (Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe, Australasia) could help specify various ways in which the media support religious-ness in dimensions of modern life.

In this role of media in the evolution and/or re-entry of the religious into the public forum (e.g., in popular cultural products or expressions, and emotional and attitudinal responses to these products), one of the critical issues concerns how the religious is being or might be configured by the communicative factor of public life, and especially by its mass media, in a way that honours its specificity. Is there a broader and more inclusive account of the religious made available by media dynamics that explains the new relationships between the religious and other aspects of life today?

In addition to the focus identified here, and the facility for all scientific concerns on media, religion and culture, the MRC working group may operate joint sessions with other sections and working groups when the topics and arguments of papers co-incide, and presenters are agreeable to such collaborative initiatives.

Submission Information

Abstracts/proposals (300-500 words) must be sent to the co-ordinators of the MRC working group through the IAMCR's Open Conference System (OCS) using the link to be found on the official Istanbul conference website by February 8, 2011. Include title, abstract, author name, institutional affiliation, and email address with your submission. You will be informed whether your proposal has been accepted by March 25, 2011.  Full papers are due June 3, 2011, again through the official conference website.

For more information contact one of the working group’s co-ordinators:

J. Ehrat

F. Coffey

D. Dipio

W. Ihejirika