Istanbul 2011 - Participatory Communication Research Section Call for Papers


The Participatory Communication Research Section (PCR) invites submissions for its open sessions at the IAMCR 2011 Conference in Istanbul, Turkey under the general theme ‘Cities, Creativity, Connectivity’. Given the broad, inter-disciplinary, multi-perspectival nature of PCR, we welcome papers that explore the theory and practice of PCR from different vantage points.

The on-going research that is presented at PCR sessions is not based on a singular, all-encompassing understanding of participation. Rather, participation is a term that is used to refer to a variety of social processes (including, but not limited to, planned processes and their evaluations) that occur in myriad ways and in a variety of contexts. The PCR Section addresses issues related to communication processes within community and the ways in which communication, information and/or media are leveraged by citizens or other interested parties through participatory processes that foster social change. The section also deals with the many variables inclusive of politics, economics, culture and technology that shape the possibilities and limits of participatory communication. The sessions are meant to contribute towards theoretical and methodological clarification, and we welcome papers that highlight original approaches and fresh thinking.

We welcome papers on e.g. participatory communications and participatory communication processes related to ICTs for sustainable development, agricultural communication, health communication, environmental communication, social networking, citizen communicative practices (including, but not limited to, citizen journalism), communications advocacy, communication rights, community media, communications for gender empowerment, participatory video, non-formal education, and participatory methods (including action research). However, we will give preference for papers that advance new theory and practice in these respective areas.


Besides the open call for papers, we would like to invite papers that address the following special themes:

  1. Participatory Communications and Urban Interventions
    This session will explore issues related to the leveraging of e.g. art, theatre and new media to promote participation aimed at reclaiming the ‘City’, inquiring into power struggles and relationships between online and offline activism.
  2. Participatory Communications and the Urban Poor
    Participatory communications is used by a range of urban poor, including rural migrants, refugees and those working in the informal sector, to produce ‘civic presence’ and claim their rights in the context of so-called global cities. This session will explore the various ways in which participatory communications strengthens identity and capabilities. Participatory communication practices that produce or substantiate ‘civic presence’ at the local level (understood in its multiple connections with the global) will be of particular interest.
  3. The Political Economy of Participatory Communications
    As ‘participation’ becomes increasingly adopted by bilateral, multilateral and other institutional actors, there is a need to explore ‘who’ are involved in setting national and global agendas related to development and aid, ‘how’ participation is operationalised in such agendas, and the consequences of such institutionalisations. One can argue that dominant models offer one-size-fits-all solutions when in reality what is needed are context-specific approaches.
  4. Participatory Communications and new media possibilities
    Mobile phone applications and innovative features of new technologies are contributing towards new types of mainly urban mobilisations. While many of these applications are ‘consumer driven’, these applications can and often are subverted for community and advocacy purposes, and become a tool for social change. In which innovative ways are citizens deploying new media to communicate with each other and to discuss and address civic issues? How is technology encouraging respectful listening, engagement with diverse opinions, thoughtful public deliberation and action about major social issues? This session will explore participation in the context of technologies shaping people and people shaping technologies.
  5. New Advances in PCR Theory and methods
    A perennial issue in PCR has been the persistence of the ‘old’ and a seeming lack of new theory and methods, and/or critical takes on existing ones. This session will highlight papers that explicitly advance original ways of theorising participatory communications and advances in methods while denoting an understanding of the field’s history –which is essential to avoid “reinventing  the wheel”.


There are possibilities for joint sessions with other working groups and sections.

Please do not submit your abstract to more than one section.

The deadline for the submission of abstracts (maximum 300 words) is February 8, 2011. Please note that this deadline will not be extended.

Please use IAMCR’s Open Conference System (OCS) to submit your abstracts using the link found on the official Istanbul conference site. This system will be available to receive abstracts from December 1 onwards. Other information on peer review deadlines and full paper deadlines is available on the conference website.

Please address your suggestions, comments, concerns, etc. to:

Pradip Thomas, Section Head

Florencia Enghel, Section Vice-Head

Satarupa Dasgupta, Section Vice-Head