IAMCR 2015: Audience Section CfP - Deadline 9 February

The IAMCR Audience Section invites papers that both reflect the conference theme and the Section's interest in new approaches to audience research in the context of a digital, global media environment.  The Section aims to reflect and encourage plural  understandings of audiences for a range of media technologies, in diverse settings, reflecting the role of media in identity, everyday life and broader social and political engagement.

Conference theme: “Hegemony or Resistance? The Ambiguous Power of Communication

See the conference key dates and deadlines: http://iamcr.org/congress/montreal2015-keydates

See all Calls for Papers for IAMCR 2015: http://iamcr.org/congress/montreal2015-cfp

Visit the conference website: http://congresiamcr.uqam.ca

In relation to the Conference Theme we encourage submissions on the relationship between audiences and media that limit and/or enable audience empowerment. More broadly, 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 range of media 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.

Suggested Paper or Panel Themes

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.   

Claiming the Audience: Audience research extends beyond academia to include commercial, governmental and civil society bodies all of whom are interested in understanding audiences.  We welcome submissions that focus on the purposes, methods and value of non-academic audience research and on the relationship between academic audience research and that in other sectors. 

Social media / Mass media audiences: Media consumption has drastically changed during the last decade, being the emergence of social media one of the more salient transformations. Even a growing part of the audience has shifted their attention to online worlds, conventional mass media are still a key factor to understand and explain any given media(ted) landscape. We are aiming for papers and panels studying the evolution of hegemonic and resistant strategies in social media by means of a comparison with the previous model. How and why some social media have turned into dominant spaces worldwide, while others have disappeared or readdressed their focus on regional, national or local areas? Which alternatives are offered to social media users if they do not want to follow the path described by global Internet corporations? To which extent are these corporations defining the concept itself of audiences?

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?

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.

Guidelines on Submissions

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 2014 – 9 February 2015. Early submission is strongly encouraged. There are to be no email submissions of abstracts addressed to any Section or Working Group Head.

The Audience section will accept abstracts in English, French or Spanish, and will arrange for presentations in the three languages as well..

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

For enquiries or further information, please contact:

Section Head:
Peter Lunt
University of Leicester, Department of Media and Communication

Vice Chair:
Toshie Takahashi
School of Culture, Media and Society. Waseda University

Vice Chair:
Miguel Vicente
Universidad de Valladolid, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Jurídicas y de la Comunicación
mvicentem[at]yahoo.es / miguelvm[at]soc.uva.es 

See the conference key dates and deadlines: http://iamcr.org/congress/montreal2015-keydates

See all Calls for Papers for IAMCR 2015: http://iamcr.org/congress/montreal2015-cfp

Visit the conference website: http://congresiamcr.uqam.ca