Letter from the president-elect

Nico Carpentier, IAMCR president-elect

IAMCR Newsletter - June 2020

A post-election statement about enjoyment and relief

When elections take place, they combine disruptive and constructive elements. They are reasons to celebrate and regret, to look to the future and to the past. They change and consolidate all at once. I will not hide the enjoyment that I feel, at this very moment, nor the relief. A considerable part of the relief is triggered by the good turnout. IAMCR’s democracy deeply matters. Even if the election of our leadership (at the level of the organisation itself, and at the level of the sections and working groups) is only one part of our democratic culture, it is an important part. It is one of these moments where people that care about the organisation hold their breath, and wonder how many other people will care. Care enough to vote. 470 ballots were submitted of 800 eligible voters. You care. Good.

Of course there is enjoyment. That is human, all too human. There is pleasure in being elected, clearly. There is pleasure in seeing other colleagues being elected, and sharing the enjoyment. There is sadness because others did not get elected, and it is hard to see their courage frustrated. But then, there is relief as well. I went into these elections with a clear programme, as captured in the Lockdown Fireside Talks, asking for a mandate, driven by the idea that we should not take everything that we have been doing in the past for granted. This is not an iconoclastic programme, but, in contrast, a programme that is deeply respectful of IAMCR’s past and tradition. It is a programme that celebrates and propagates diversity, in who we are, and in what we do. It is not a frantic programme, but a programme that aims to carefully open more doors for communication and media scholars. It is a programme of slow but consistent change, through trial and (undoubtedly some) error, reflections and dialogues, experiments, attempts, failures and eventually successes. 

This programme is still a choice, a plan, a wish, a vision for the future. Even if it grew out of many IAMCR interactions and participations, it was still one person that took it to the IAMCR elections, subjecting it to the scrutiny of the membership. I was pleased (and, as I said, relieved) to see the substantial support I received in these elections. I was also pleased to see, I must honestly confess, that the vote did not produce a Stalinist result. There were about 10% abstentions. Of course, the interpretation of election results is a talent in its own right, but this result provides me—at least in my eyes—with a clear mandate for the programme that I have proposed. This is, for me, a crucial outcome of these elections. I am grateful for this, and respectful of the trust that has been placed into me, by the members of the organisation, to start our search for more directions that can be aligned with the wonderful trajectories that we already have created in the past decades.

At the same time, this is a humbling experience, because there is the immediate realisation that this programme cannot be implemented, or even initiated, by a handful of people. It will need many people, present and future IAMCR members, that want to think about how to expand communication and media studies, while still protecting what is dear to us, for instance, our critical stance, our global perspective, and our commitment to academic quality. And, of course, complete novelty does not exist, and many have worked to bring us where we are now. And that is absolutely not a bad place. This is actually part of the humbling experience, to stand on the shoulders of the IAMCR giants, knowing that so many before me have done such a wonderful job, in making IAMCR what it is now. I will only try to add four letters: MORE.

Read the rest of the newsletter at https://mailchi.mp/iamcr/june-2020