IAMCR 2014: Audience Section CfP - Deadline 10 February

Call for papers: Audience Section, IAMCR 2014

The Audience Section invites submissions for its open sessions at the IAMCR to be held in Hyderabad, India 2014 from July 15-19. The conference theme for 2014 is:  Region as Frame: Politics, Presence, Practice.

Conference Website: http://iamcr2014.org/

The Audience Section invites papers within this overall theme and which reflect the Section's interest in a diversity of approaches to audience research in the context of a convergent media environment. The Section encourages and aims to inspire greater interest in exploring and understanding audiences for a range of media technologies, in diverse settings, reflecting the role of media and communication in identity, everyday life and broader social and political engagement.
In the context of major transformations in media, we seek to encourage reflection on the changing nature of audiences, innovations in ways of studying audiences across a wide range of devices and contexts, and the extent to which traditional understandings of audiences as masses, publics and markets are being challenged by the fluidity and ephemeral nature of digital and mobile media experiences.

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.  

  • 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, 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 dealing with 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 (1970s) 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? We invite papers that look across the full spectrum of audience experience and examine diverse 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. New empirical research on children, youth and media across diverse cultural contexts is especially welcome. We are willing to receive papers that explore audience experience from the child’s perspective.

  • Audiences in the WSIS: As part of a joint IAMCR effort to engage with international debates around communication and social transformations in the digital age, in the line up to take stock of the World Summit on the Information Society +10, we also invite papers addressing WSIS related topics consistently with our Sections’ focus and approach. These may include papers on the changing role played by audiences in knowledge societies and media systems, the social transformations fuelled by media and ICT uses, the consequences of media access and literacy in the evolution of classical and new social and global divides or issues related with safety and surveillance in online spaces. The selected papers may be profiled and inserted (upon the authors' approval) in a global database - www.globalmediapolicy.net - as a contribution of the IAMCR scholarly community to the WSIS+10 process and debate.

Submission Guidelines

Individual papers and panels are possible, but all proposals must be submitted through the online Open Conference System at http://iamcr-ocs.org from 1 December 2013 – 10 February 2014. Early submission is strongly encouraged.

There are to be no email submissions of abstracts addressed to any Section or Working Group Head for Panel Submissions, abstract submissions must include the words PANEL PRESENTATION in their title and the complete title of the panel in the first line of the abstract.

It is expected that for the most part, only one (1) abstract will be submitted per person for consideration by the Conference. However, under no circumstances should there be more than two (2) abstracts bearing the name of the same applicant either individually or as part of any group of authors. Please note also that the same abstract or another version with minor variations in title or content must not be submitted to other Sections or Working Groups of the Association for consideration, after an initial submission. Such submissions will be deemed to be in breach of the conference guidelines and will be automatically rejected by the Open Conference System, by the relevant Head or by the Conference Programme Reviewer. Such applicants risk being removed entirely from the conference programme.

Upon submission of an abstract, you will be asked to confirm that your submission is original and that it has not been previously published in the form presented. You will also be given an opportunity to declare if your submission is currently before another conference for consideration.

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.


8 November 2013

 First call for abstracts (for papers and panels)

1 December 2013

Open Computer System (OCS) available for abstract submission at http://iamcr-ocs.org

10 February 2014

OCS closed

11- 20 February 2014

Initial technical review of submissions (review process by Sections and WGs will start after this)

24 March 2014

Notification of acceptances of abstracts

15 April 2014

Confirmation of participation deadline

30 April 2014

Deadline for early bird registration

15 May 2014

Final conference programme

13 June 2014

Conference programme to be published online

20 June 2014

Deadline for full paper submission

15-19 July 2014

IAMCR Conference

For enquiries or further information, please contact:

Section Head:
Peter Lunt,
University of Leicester,
Department of Media and Communication,
Bankfield House, 132 New Walk,
Leicester, LE1 7JA
United Kingdom

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

Vice Chair:
Miguel Vicente
Universidad de Valladolid
Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Jurídicas y de la Comunicación
Plaza del Alto de los Leones, 1. 40005 Segovia (SPAIN)
mvicentem[at]yahoo.es / miguelvm[at]soc.uva.es