IAMCR 2013 - Audience Section - Call for Proposals

The Audience Section invites submissions for its open sessions at the IAMCR to be held in Dublin, Ireland from June 25-29, 2013. The conference theme is:  Crises, ‘Creative Destruction’ and the Global Power and Communication Orders. The Section invites papers within this overall theme and which reflect the Section's interest in new approaches and thinking to audience research in a global context. The Section encourages and aims to inspire greater interest in exploring and understanding audiences in diverse settings, and the contextualized power balances and imbalances that characterize these settings.

The nature of audiences as critical interpreters and producers, ethnographic approaches to researching them and their embeddedness in the power logics of 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.

Also the relationship between audiences and technological affordances, limiting and/or enabling their empowerment, the struggle for an increased semantic democracy and ways of dealing with glocalized or translocalized media content are on the agenda of the Audience Section.

Finally, the Section gives special attention to reassessing the theories, methods and issues that inform practices of audience researchers. The Section also encompasses investigations of the appropriateness of 'Western' and 'non-Western' theories and methods in this diversity of settings.


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

Reinventing/transforming Audience Research:  Innovation of both a theoretical and methodological nature is an ongoing requirement for audience researchers if they are to keep pace with a rapidly changing media environment where audience(ing) takes multiple forms and resists easy categorization or investigation. We welcome proposals for papers that address new conceptual and practical approaches to studying audiences in new media worlds, that examine and highlight the complexity of audience data within converged, cross-platform media contexts, and that reflect on the emerging agenda for audience studies in a radically transformed media ecology.  Papers may wish to reflect on the relevance of tried and tested research methods while proposing novel approaches towards accessing audiences in dispersed and sometimes fragmented locations, whilst theorizing the contribution that audience studies make to an understanding of changing media realities.

Active/passive audience practices: 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.

Resistant audiences, critical audiences, networked 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? The locus of resistance has shifted from the ideal-interpretative to the material-productive. How does this affect the nature of resistance? How do audiences network and join forces in alternative interpretative communities? How is the resistant and critical audience manifest across today’s more complex media landscape? How do media organizations and professionals deal with the resistant and critical audiences? And how is resistance, at the level of the ideal-interpretative and the material-productive incorporated and transformed into compliance? 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.

Youthful audiences:  Young people’s relationship with media has been the subject of both celebration of the potential for new forms of creative expression and anxiety with regard to the impact of powerful media on vulnerable audiences. In relation to new media forms, young people are frequently seen to be in the vanguard of new audience trends and emerging practices of consumption and engagement. Yet, research on children, youth and media remains under-developed, particularly within the field of audience studies.  Papers within this theme might address questions of access, consumption, risk and harm, identity and re-presentation among youthful audiences. New empirical research on children, youth and media across diverse cultural contexts is especially welcome. We welcome 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 can be made by submitting an abstract of between 300-500 words long through the Conference website. All proposals must be submitted through the online Open Conference System at http://iamcr-ocs.org from 15 November 2012 – 28 January 2013. Early submission is strongly encouraged. 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.

Individuals may submit 1 abstract (paper) per Section or Working Group as lead author, and a maximum of 2 abstracts (papers) to a single IAMCR conference in general. Presenters are expected to bring fully developed work to the conference. Prior to the conference, it is expected that a completed paper will be submitted to Section, Working Group, Session Chairs, and/or Discussants.



The deadline for submission of abstracts is 28 January 2013. Please note that this deadline will not be extended. The OCS system will close at midnight GMT on 28 January 2013.

Decisions on acceptance of abstracts will be communicated to applicants by their Section or Working Group Head no later than 28 February 2013.

For enquiries or further information, please contact:

Section Head:
Brian O’Neill
School of Media
Dublin Institute of Technology
Aungier Street - Dublin 2 - Ireland

Deputy Head:
Toshie Takahashi
School of Culture, Media and Society
Waseda University
Toyama 1-24-1, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan 162-8644