Braga 2010 - Audience Section Call for Papers

braga_2010The Audience Section invites submissions for its open sessions at the IAMCR to be held in Braga (Portugal) 2010 from July 18-22.  The conference theme for 2010 is Communication and Citizenship. Rethinking Crisis and Change.

The Audience Section invites papers within this overall theme and which reflect the Section’s interest in new approaches and thinking to audience research in the context of citizenship and communication.

The Section encourages and aims to inspire greater interest in exploring and understanding audiences in diverse settings. The section also encompasses investigations of the appropriateness of 'Western' theories and methods in 'other' settings. It gives special attention to reassessing the theories, methods and issues that inform practices of audience researchers. The nature of audiences as 'knowledge communities' and producers, ethnographic approaches to researching them and their embeddedness in everyday life, and the extent to which traditional classifications of audiences (masses, publics and markets) are being challenged by the fluidity and ephemeral nature of virtual and mobile audiences are important concerns.


In addition to the open call for papers, we would like to invite papers and proposals for panels which address the following themes:

  1. Citizenship, social integration and the changing nature of audience publics

    Against the background of rapidly transforming media environments and changing audience formations, much interest has been expressed in the potential for fostering citizenship and greater social integration through enhanced media participation. We invite papers that interrogate this proposition and explore through theory and empirical research the world of contemporary audience publics, examining how they are constituted and addressed both technologically and discursively. We are interested in different forms of mediated participation, online and offline, and whether new forms of interaction and engagement, as for example via Web 2.0, do in fact facilitate greater citizenship. Are there insights that can be drawn from the long tradition of audience research or media ethnography in mass media forms such as television? We anticipate a wide-ranging debate that reflects the diverse interests of audience researchers focused around a core concern of twenty first century society.

  2. Resistant audiences, critical audiences.

    Central to the audience research tradition has been a commitment to examining forms of resistance and opposition exhibited by audiences. Much of the seminal work of audience studies was forged in a time of economic crisis through the 1970s and 1980s when forms of audience resistance revealed deep-seated social tensions and a charged political environment. Are similar patterns evident in the current global economic crisis? How is the resistant and critical audience manifest across today’s more complex media landscape? How do audience members discuss, evaluate and trust alternative and mainstream media? How do media organizations and professionals deal with the resistant and critical audiences? We invite papers that look across the full spectrum of audience experience and examine diverse accounts of readings, modes of engagement and mediation of audience relationships with the wider society.

  3. Decentralizing the audience

    Audience studies have often implicitly centralized mediated experiences while at the same time contextualizing, qualifying and decentralizing the role of media in people’s everyday lives. This tension has lead to an over-emphasis on audience activity, both at the level of media consumption and media (self-)production, while more passive and indifferent media uses and referential interpretations are under-theorized and under-researched. We invite papers that focus on the everyday passiveness of (some) media audiences and their acceptance of or indifference to the media frameworks that are offered to them. Moreover, we also call for papers that theorize or research the sometimes limited importance attributed to media in the everyday life of audience members.

  4. Children as audiences

    Children and young people represent are a hugely important constituency for today’s media and are frequently seen to be in the vanguard of new audience trends and emerging practices of consumption and engagement. As a distinct audience grouping, children are the focus of special public policy provisions including codes regarding media content, professional guidelines regarding children as subjects and participants in the media, and a host of initiatives designed to foster citizenship and creativity through media literacy. Empirical work on children as audiences remains scarce however and in this stream we invite papers that explore audience experience from the child’s perspective, and that examine opportunities, risks, and challenges faced by children in the current media environment. Questions might include the extent to which media literacies are evident in children’s audience practices  or how agency supported or strengthened through civil society, educational or governmental action?

Proposals for papers under any of the above should be made by submitting an abstract of between 300-500 words long through the conference website. Each abstract must include title, name(s), affiliation, institutional address and email address of author(s).  Proposals for panels, containing details of each paper, are also welcome.  IAMCR accepts presentations in English, French and Spanish. However, it is requested that abstracts, if at all possible, be submitted in English.

For more on the submission of abstracts, registration, theme, location, etc., please go to the conference website or visit IAMCR's website.

The deadlines are as follows:

  • January 31, 2010: Submission of abstracts (papers will be assessed by double blind review of abstracts).
  • March 15, 2010: announcement of acceptances.
  • April 30, 2010: Full papers due.

For enquiries or further information, please contact:  

Section Head (Interim):

Brian O’Neill
School of Media
Dublin Institute of Technology
Aungier Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
e: brian.oneill[AT]

Deputy Head:

Nico Carpentier
Vrije Universiteit Brussel - Free University of Brussels
Centre for Studies on Media and Culture (CeMeSO)
Pleinlaan 2 - B-1050 Brussels – Belgium
e: nico.carpentier[AT]

Note: Brian O’Neill acts as Section Head following retirement of Virginia Nightingale and Nico Carpentier joins as Deputy Head. The Business Meeting at the conference will elect officers for the next four year term.