ECREA Special Panel

Julia Pohle, co-Chair of the Communication Policy and Technology Section of IAMCR, will participate in a "special panel" at the upcoming ECREA conference in Aarhus, Denmark, entitled "Essential yet Endangered: The State of CLP Research in Europe". The panel will be devoted to a conversation about the future of the communication policy field, and about creating enticing opportunities for early-career scholars. On behalf of the CPT chairing team, Julia will speak among representatives of the management teams of ECREA-CLP, ICA-CLP and YECREA. She will reflect on the three major challenges that researchers with a focus on communication and technology policy are facing in their daily work, including interdisciplinarity, the need to account for the “messiness” and “situatedness” of the policy processes under scrutiny, and the attention paid to technological developments which brings opportunities as well as new challenges. More details below.

The session will take place on Thursday, October 20th, 11:00 to 12:30, 1333-101 A1 (see for more information on the conference)

Raising Attractiveness by Focusing on Communication AND Technology Policy. Reflections by the IAMCR-CPT Section Co-Chair

Presenter: Julia Pohle, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Berlin/Germany

The contribution by the co-chair of the Communication Policy & Technology section of IAMCR will reflect on the three major challenges that researchers with a focus on communication and technology policy are facing in their daily work:

First, communication and technology policy research is necessarily highly inter- and transdisciplinary and draws on theoretical and methodological approaches from communication studies, policy research, political sciences, IR, sociology, STS, and others. While academic institutions and funding agencies around the world emphasize the need for interdisciplinary research, the reality of grant proposal writing and academic career paths shows that most disciplines, including communication studies, seek to protect their boundaries and are often not very open to researchers or projects with an interdisciplinary background.

Secondly, critical communication policy research needs to account for the “messiness” and “situatedness” of the policy processes under scrutiny. With the particular attention that communication scholars pay to the role of language and ideas, the analysis of policy processes and governance settings becomes increasingly complex. However, over the last decades, communication scholars have borrowed conceptual and methodological approaches from other disciplines (see our first challenge) and developed their own tools to account for the multiple and heterogeneous influences in policy.

Third, amongst the policy-focused sections in the large communication associations, IAMCR’s CPT section has the particularity that its members do not only focus on communication and media policy but on communication AND technology policy. While this makes it possible to integrate research perspectives and topics that are on the border of the disciplinary focus of communication studies (again, see our first challenge), the attention paid to technological developments brings also new challenges. For instance, in addition to understanding the structural conditions of policymaking and the power relations at play, it is often necessary to also understand the functioning of technologies, in particular of digital technologies, and the power relations at play there. In addition, with digital technology becoming increasingly pervasive, policy issues related to digital communication are intrinsically linked to other aspects of technology, economy, and society. But, although this adds to the complexity of the issues under scrutiny, this also enlarges the thematic spectrum of communication policy research and, thus, might contribute to the attractively of the field for new scholars.