The Participatory Communication Research (PCR) Section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) invites the submission of proposals for papers and panels for IAMCR 2022, which will be held online from 11 to 15 July 2022. The conference will also have a national hub at Tsinghua University in Beijing. The deadline for submission is 9 February 2022, at 23.59 UTC.

See the CfPs of all sections and working groups >

Conference Themes

IAMCR conferences have a main conference theme (with several sub-themes) that is explored from multiple perspectives throughout the conference in plenaries, in the programmes of our sections and working groups, and in the Flow34 virtual cinema and podcasts stream. They also have many themes defined by our 33 thematic sections and working groups. Proposals submitted to sections and working groups may be centered on an aspect of the main conference theme as it relates to the central concerns of the section or working group, or they may address the additional themes identified by the section or working group in their individual calls for proposals.

The main theme for IAMCR 2022, “Communication Research in the Era of Neo-Globalisation: Reorientations, Challenges and Changing Contexts,” is concerned with possibilities for rethinking communication research agendas in the post-pandemic world, which has seen dramatic shifts in the way we interact and understand our physical, social, cultural, political and material environments. See the complete theme description and rationale here.

The Participatory Communication Research Section (PCR) explores the theory and practice of participatory communication, and has played an important role as a platform for new thinking. In line with the general IAMCR call for papers for the Beijing 2022 conference, the PCR section addresses issues related to communication adaptation to ever changing contexts in a post-pandemic environment that has been marked by health, economic, political, social and economic uncertainty and unpredictability. We welcome contributions — papers and panels, individual research or thematic multi-paper session proposals, according to the different possibilities of the IAMCR Beijing 2022 conference — focusing on participation from a diversity of fields, including (but not limited to) development and social change, activisms, politics and democracy, citizenship and consumption, climate change and sustainability, health and care, culture and arts, urban and rural, education and literacy, and the everyday. While the PCR section has traditionally accommodated creative approaches to participatory communication, it has over recent years intentionally encouraged interdisciplinary methods marked by critique, creativity and innovation.

This year conference theme allows the PCR section an opportunity to highlight the imperative of participation and participatory communication to deal with the contemporary challenges of neo-globalisation as well as its potential to build a shared vision for the times ahead: whether shaping borderless communicative phenomena in face of crisis and uncertainty or in the empowering of communities breaking tangible and symbolic boundaries, initiatives aimed at social change, resistance and participation emerged. 

Both as an intrinsically political concept and as an evolutive process, participation has been a driver for change and innovation. To discuss and discover the limits and horizons of the participatory territory is a contemporary challenge: the glorification of participation on one hand and phenomena of dark or pseudo participation on the other hand, should raise questions about both the conditions and the perceptions of genuine participation, providing inspiration and instigating participatory communication researchers. Why, how and what kind of participation matters in the 21st century?

Adding to the conference main theme submissions the section welcomes contributions that discuss theoretical or methodological perspectives on a variety of participatory communication research issues and specific case studies. In particular, the section invites proposals for single papers and multi-paper sessions, theoretical, research-based, or case studies that engage with any of the following themes:

1. Participation in the era of neo-globalisation

Current debates about neo-globalisation emphasize the role of civil society and collective action. This enhances the need to discuss the ways in which we understand participation in the post-pandemic world, through social movements, civic groups, advocacy networks and more, in face of the reinforcement of the restrictions on international mobility and interchange. What are the challenges of our times for participation? 

This axis welcomes approaches to participation in the public sphere, but also those that challenge the traditional split between public and private spheres, emphasizing the relevance of participation in areas of social life which have been traditionally considered private, or free from political or institutional interference, such as identities, gender and religious practices. 

2. Participation and technology

A few years ago there was an almost automatic association between digital media and participatory cultures. However, in the age of platformization, algorithms and datification, the same technologies that facilitate participation have also been breeding grounds for polarization, misinformation and harassment. In this line, we welcome approaches that problematize the challenges that digital technologies represent to participation. What are the implications of platformization and algorithmization for communication practices and participation in the public sphere? What are and how do barriers to participation in digital media operate? How do resistances - eg. data activism and data feminism - operate to counteract the challenges of datification? 

3. Participation and uncertainty 

Risk? Crisis? The fear of the unknown? Although uncertainty as a concept has been the subject of psychological, economic, health and behaviour research, and intolerance to uncertainty has been identified and studied, it does not substantially feature in communication and participatory investigation. Does uncertainty about the future promote the need for participation? Is the participatory drive of communities enhanced by times of incertitude? Is the perception of risk a driver for participation and for creative and innovative forms of participation? Proposals that address these themes are encouraged.

4. Participation and sustainability challenges

Contemporary global events and circumstances, heavily shaped by the pandemic reality, public health, climate change and social and economic downfall, expose individual and collective agency (or its absence). The realization of extreme phenomena in climate, health or migration crises due to conflicts or natural causes, for example, brings to light the need and also the failure of participatory communication. What is the role of individual and collective action? What is the contribution of public and corporate communication? 

Furthermore, alternative forms of participation in the economic, social and political system have been emerging, originating from a civil society that has been looking for new paths and forums to make its voice heard. Whether in sparse and spontaneous events, or embedded in more organized and strategically designed movements, these phenomena have been gaining prominence and constitute a research topic that is relevant to the section. Are these more authentic forms of participation and are they representative of social reality? Are they part of an empowering awareness-driven discourse for consumer-citizen initiatives? What are the implications of their participation in the reconfiguration of the public sphere? What powers do they subvert or create? Are there material consequences towards the more sustainable daily lives of communities? 

Critical thinking, extensive and comparative research, as well as case studies are welcome on these subjects.

5. Participation, communication for development and social change 

Practitioners as well as academics working in the field of Communication for Development and/or Social Change (CDSC) are invited to critically reflect on the role of regional communication, and on its participatory dimensions. What are the similarities and differences in how CDSC is conceived and practiced across the globe? Who are the changemakers, what are their goals and challenges, and how do they articulate and perform processes of change? A broad spectrum of initiatives – ranging from institutional actors such as governments and INGOs, to smaller NGOs, civil society platforms, and social entrepreneurs – may reflect on the role of participation and on how the transformation of social, cultural and political territories influence and/or function as a pretext for their work.

6. Participatory Theory, Ethics and Methodology

To develop a deeper understanding of the theoretical backbones of participatory practices, the section values proposals that ground participatory practices in social, political and/or cultural theory, or that provide a philosophical reflection on participatory practices. Conceptual discussions about the nature of participation and its related concepts – as for instance power, empowerment, interaction, and engagement – are welcomed.

Also contributions that reflect on the need for, and development of, participatory ethical frameworks, the ethical evaluation of contemporary participatory practices, and critiques on the abuse of participatory procedures and mechanisms for non-democratic aims are welcomed. Could the increased opportunities of interaction be considered participation? How to strengthen the articulation of participatory procedures with core democratic values, human rights and ethics? Practices such as trolling and flaming, that are highly present in the contemporary, place considerable pressure on the development of more egalitarian societies, as they generate new imbalances by using (and abusing) the mechanisms of participation and democracy. 

Adding to that, researchers in participatory communication face specific methodological challenges. Relevant questions are here: What is ‘participatory’, if anything, about the ways in which we conduct research? Is participatory (action) research required for doing participatory communication research? How do we construct our identities as researchers, and negotiate our positions towards research participants and other stakeholders in a participatory-democratic way? How do we design the analytical process, and implement criteria for validating our findings? How can we present our work in more interactive and participatory ways? Submissions to this subsection are preferably grounded in concrete research experiences within participatory communication. All research traditions are welcome, including quantitative, qualitative, ethnographic, arts-based, action-oriented, etc.

Guidelines for abstracts

Abstracts are requested for the Online Conference Papers component. Abstracts submitted to the Participatory Communication Research Section should have between 300 and 500 words and must be submitted online at Abstracts submitted by email will not be accepted.

The deadline to submit abstracts is 9 February 2022 at 23h59 UTC.

See important dates and deadlines to keep in mind

It is expected that authors will submit only one (1) abstract. However, under no circumstances should there be more than two (2) abstracts bearing the name of the same author, either individually or as first author. No more than one 1 abstract can be submitted by an author to the Participatory Communication Research Section. Please note also that the same abstract or another version with minor variations in title or content must not be submitted to more than one section or working group. Any such submissions will be deemed to be in breach of the conference guidelines and will be rejected.

Proposals are accepted for both single Papers and for Panels with several papers (in which you propose multiple papers that address a single theme). Please note that there are special procedures for submitting panel proposals. You can find the detailed procedures when submitting your abstract online in the abstract submission system.


The PCR section encourages the submission of proposals in any of the three official languages of the association (English, Spanish, French).

For further information about the conference contact beijing2022 [at]

For further information about the Participatory Communication Research Section (PCR), its themes, submissions and panels please contact: iamcr.pcr [at]

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