IAMCR 2013 - Community Communication Section - Call for Papers

The IAMCR Community Communication Section invites submissions of abstracts for papers and panel proposals for the 2013 IAMCR conference to be held from June 25-29 at Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland.
The deadline for submissions is January 28, 2013.

The Community Communication (ComCom) Section brings together research on community, alternative and citizens' media, and other forms of civil society-based and participatory communication. It considers a range of non-governmental and non-commercial communication practices such as do-it-yourself media, media for and by communities of locality or interest, social movement communication, and media that form a 'third sector' next to public service and commercial media. Such communication practices may use a variety of communication technologies, from print newsletters to mobile phones, from community radio to online social networking.

The section asks questions such as: How do marginalized groups develop, adapt and appropriate communication technologies? What makes citizen media effective and sustainable? What are innovative forms of media activism? What is the social, economic, legal and political environment of community and alternative media? What are appropriate theories and research methods for these media? What forms of journalism do they practice? Do they point us to new forms of networked publics, participatory democracy, and active citizenship? Typical theoretical approaches come from social movement research, community theory, radical and citizens’ media theory, journalism, political communication, political art, civil society, citizenship and democracy, among others.

Community Communication is a key site for the consideration of current crises and the global power and communication orders, as it discusses media forms, content and processes which disrupt existing power structures; points to alternatives to current crisis-ridden communication (and political) systems; explores the effects of crisis for local communities; and shows how alternative and civil society-based media can help address the world’s most pressing problems.

Community Communication focus areas, Dublin 2013

The Community Communication Section welcomes contributions from all scholars who research and work in this field, and in 2013 is encouraging submissions particularly on the following themes.

1. Global Power, Communication Orders and Crisis

At a time when the world is witnessing various forms of crisis, alternative and community-driven media continue their attempts to ‘disrupt’ existing power structures and communication orders. What is the role of alternative forms of media production – including community-based, radical, creative/artistic, or citizens’ media – in confronting the current multi-faceted crises, including economic breakdowns and ecological destruction? How do they contribute to changing communication orders? And how are these media affected by crises (financially and otherwise)? Does community communication face its own crisis – socially, economically and conceptually?

2.  ‘Alternative Journalism’ and the Public Interest

The broader 2013 IAMCR conference theme also considers public interest and public service roles and orientations of the media. What particular role do alternative, community and citizen media play in delivering journalism which is more substantially focused on ‘the public interest’ and which more clearly provides a ‘public service’ model? What structures and cultures exist within alternative media organisations to facilitate a unique brand of journalism, both in its process and content? What role do new forms of ‘hyper-local’ journalism play? How does our understanding of the ‘public’ and the ‘public interest’ need to evolve?

3. Community Communication and Social Media

Community Communication remains a site where the enthusiasm for the potential of social media as an empowering and globally democratizing tool is cautiously embraced but also critically investigated. How are social media used by social movements, alternative and community media practitioners? What innovative interactions exist between classic community communication and social media, and what are the challenges and dangers? How can research on classic community communication inform new thinking about social media? But also, how are classic community media challenged by social media – both practically and conceptually? How do social media and digital cultures impact upon collective communicative action? Will commercial social networking platforms out-perform collectively self-organized activist platforms? Do our traditional understandings of community and alternative media need to be updated?

4. Policy Frameworks for Community, Citizen and Alternative Media

Appropriate media policy frameworks are, at some sites, providing space and resources for community and alternative media to exist. Still, the development of relevant policy to better recognize and enhance the contribution of these media is a key issue in many parts of the world. What investigations are occurring within the scholarly community about alternative, citizen and community media policy options? What policies exist in various parts of the world and how do these policies foster or hinder alternative media forms? What role does government play in the support and growth of community media and how far should government go in providing an environment in which such media can flourish? How can we better understand policy advocacy and policy activism? How can scholars engage with upcoming policy processes?

5. Towards a Theory of Alternative, Community and Citizen Media

The Community Communication Section is interested in furthering discussions which theorise alternative, community and citizen media, and their social and political implications. This includes investigating, continuing and challenging the theoretical directions laid out by leading thinkers in the field, and developing understandings of relevant emerging concepts. We are interested in contributions that revisit key ideas, questions and approaches of this research area and update them in light of technological as well as social change. We will continue exploring the relations, connects and disconnects between this field and related fields, such as new technologies, participatory and development communication, and political economy.


I. Format

All proposals must include:

  1. Title, author/coordinator name(s), institutional affiliation(s) and full contact information (mailing address, email address, and telephone number).
  2. Topic area (one of the five focus topics, see above, or ‘other’).
  3. Type of proposal:


Individual or co-authored scholarly paper: Applicants must submit a 300-500 word abstract. The abstract should describe:

  • the main question or research problem
  • its significance
  • the theoretical framework
  • what is known from existing research
  • the research method
  • expected outcomes
  • relation with the chosen topic area

NOTE: For project presentations (without a theoretical background) we encourage applicants to choose a format under TYPE C, not TYPE A.


Panel proposal: The panel coordinator must submit a well-defined statement of purpose (200-300 words), a complete list of panel participants, and full abstracts (as above under Type A) for each presentation in one document.


Other session/presentation formats: We encourage proposals for innovative formats such as workshops, video screenings, performances, webcasts or field trips. The coordinator must submit a well-defined 300-500 word statement of purpose and a detailed description of activities, as well as any infrastructure requirements (space, projectors, etc.). We cannot guarantee, at this moment, that all these formats will be feasible in Dublin, but we commit to supporting proponents in making them possible.

II. Procedure

All proposals must be submitted through the online Open Conference System at http://iamcr-ocs.org between 15 November 2012 and 28 January 2013. Early submission is strongly encouraged.
Only one abstract submission as author or co-author of a paper (regardless of whether it will be an individual paper or as part of a panel) will be considered for review in the ComCom Section. However, you are welcome to additionally act as coordinator/moderator for a panel (and as such submit a panel proposal), or to submit and participate in a TYPE C proposal.

Submitting the same or very similar abstract to more than one section or working group risks being removed from the conference program. Individuals may submit 1 abstract (paper) per Section or Working Group, and a maximum of 2 abstracts (papers) to the overall conference altogether.

III. Paper Submission

All authors whose proposals are accepted for presentation are required to submit a full paper before the conference. Failure to submit a paper will result in the author being taken off the conference program. Only authors who have submitted full papers will be allowed to present their papers in the ComCom Section.

Deadline for full papers: 28 May 2013.

Please indicate at the end of your abstract if you would be willing to chair a session.

Submitting to the Right Section: If you submit your proposal to the wrong section, it may be rejected. Please consider carefully if the Community Communication Section is most appropriate for your proposal (check the list of sections at http://iamcr.org/s-wg/all). Please contact us well before the deadline if you are unsure.

Languages: IAMCR accepts submissions in its official languages of English, Spanish, and French, though an English translation (even a brief summary) of your abstract will be much appreciated. For conference presentations, we encourage presenters who wish to talk in a language other than English to prepare slides or print-outs in English to facilitate understanding, interaction and debate. The Section endeavours where possible to provide summarized translations of key papers in Spanish and French, although we have no funds to hire translators. To this end, we are looking for volunteer translators/interpreters for abstracts, sessions and papers. If you can contribute and help translate some papers or key points into Spanish or French, please contact us (see details of Chair and Vice-Chairs below).

REMINDER: Important deadlines (see full table of deadlines and key dates at the end of this CFP)

Submission: January 28, 2013. This deadline will not be extended. The OCS system at http://iamcr-ocs.org will open on November 15, 2012 and will close on January 28, 2013.

Decisions on acceptance of abstracts will be communicated to applicants by February 28, 2013. For those whose abstracts are accepted, full conference papers are to be submitted via the IAMCR OCS by May 28, 2013.


For the general CFP for the Dublin IAMCR conference, go to: http://iamcr.org/cfp

For information about the conference venue, Dublin City University, go to: http://iamcr2013dublin.com/dcu

To learn more about the Community Communication section, go to:
ComCom Website: http://iamcr.org/section-home-seccomm-201


To contact your Community Communication Section Heads, or to find out more about ComCom in IAMCR, contact:

Section Chair
Arne Hintz
hintza [at] cardiff.ac.uk

Adilson Cabral
acabral [at] comunicacao.pro.br

Susan Forde
s.forde [at] griffith.edu.au

Joanah Gadzikwa
gadzikwaj [at] yahoo.co.uk

Finally, note the following deadlines and key dates for the 2013 IAMCR Conference:

15 November 2012
Open Computer System (OCS) opens for abstract submission at http://iamcr-ocs.org

28 January 2013
OCS closes – final deadline for abstract submission

28 February 2013
Notification of acceptances of abstracts

28 March 2013
Confirmation of participation from all presenters

15 April 2013
Draft conference program

28 May 2013
Deadline for full paper submission

25-29 June 2013
IAMCR Conference