Rural Communication Working Group - Call for Papers

The call for papers below is an extraordinary reopening of the original Beijing call for papers for authors who did not submit to the Beijing conference but want their work considered for Tampere. 

The Rural Communication Working Group of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) invites the submission of abstracts of papers and proposals for panels for the 2020 Congress of the Association, which will be held from 12 to 16 July, 2020 at Tampere University in Tampere. Submissions for this extraordinary reopening will be accepted from Monday 17 February, 2020 until Monday 2 March 2020 at 23:59 UTC

IAMCR conferences address many diverse topics defined by our 33 thematic sections and working groups. We also propose a single central theme to be explored throughout the conference with the aim of generating and exploring multiple perspectives in plenary sessions and in some of the sessions of the sections and working groups. The general conference theme for 2020 is “Reimagining the Digital Future: Building Inclusiveness, Respect and Reciprocity”.

See the IAMCR 2020 general call for proposals.   

For this conference, the Rural Communication Working Group is interested in papers, panels and workshop proposals that explore the themes of inclusiveness, respect and reciprocity in relation to rural communication. What are the mechanisms for supporting inclusive communication theory and practice in rural contexts? What are the assumptions that have led to inequalities, and how might we challenge them? How can we unpack practices in rural communication that have undermined equalities and/or supported processes of marginalisation? What is the potential for communication to support inclusion and equity in rural contexts? What is unique to the rural context that communication has, or has not, addressed? We are interested in proposals that cover theory and practice – they can propose new, or less known, theoretical paradigms for us to explore communication and inclusion, including critical analysis of existing theory and practice, or proposals for how to reframe and challenge existing thinking. Case studies and examples from practice that can help us generate discussions and lessons about how we can grow as a field in rural communication are also welcome. Workshops and skills-building sessions that engage conference participants in learning, analysis and questioning are also welcome within the working group. These can cover a wide range of theories and approaches to rural communication, and we welcome interdisciplinary work that brings new insights to the field. We will work with authors who wish to present in any of the three official languages of IAMCR – English, French or Spanish – to ensure their participation in the activities of the working group.

Rural Communication Working Group

The Rural Communication Working Group aims to provide a platform for academic scholars and professionals working in the field of rural communication. The focus of our work is more than just rural communication service provision but exploring the breadth of formal and informal communication platforms to formal and informal communication processes. This encompasses technologies ranging from rural radio to ICTs, from farmer field schools to rural telecommunication infrastructure. The key is that we focus on communication in rural areas, and the intersection between communication and rurality. The motivation for this work comes from the recognition that rural contexts post particular opportunities and challenges for communication activities. If communication is to serve a social purpose, these dynamics need to be understood. Therefore, we focus on rural innovations and interventions, social change and development that responds in a sustained and inclusive manner to communication needs of rural populations.

Reimagining the Digital Future: Building Inclusiveness, Respect and Reciprocity

At the critical juncture of the second decade of the 21st century, the world is facing tremendous challenges. The past three decades of cultural, economic and communication globalisation have created sharp income and wealth inequities, a divisive international community, dysfunctional media, an increasingly fragmented digital culture and an accelerating environmental crisis. We witness growing populism and protectionism and a dissolving consensus on global engagement and international collaboration. We see deepening technological contestation in digital media and artificial intelligence between the world’s two economic powerhouses. We also witness a sharp decline of the quality of national and international information flows as a result of widespread misinformation facilitated by social media.

These developments pose urgent questions and challenges for media and communications scholars. What are the reasons for the division, gaps and fragmentation we now see? What roles have digital media communication played in these developments at both the local and global levels? What values should inform our proposals for addressing them.

This year’s conference aims to respond to those challenges by re-examining the roles and patterns of global communication while including local voices, seeking critical reflections on the relationship between them, and exploring feasible agendas for a shared digital future based on inclusiveness, respect and reciprocity.

In the context of growing divisions between elites and citizens, the economically secure and marginalised, mainstream and minority cultures, and intensified political polarization, calls for greater inclusiveness of different voices in the media and equality of access and opportunities, become even more pressing. As researchers we need a more comprehensive understanding of the factors promoting and impeding inclusiveness in the ‘legacy’ print and audio-visual media media domestically and globally and the roles played by existing and emerging digital media.

Having a public voice and opportunities for expression, however, does not in itself guarantee that diverse contributions to a common culture will be listened to attentively or treated with respect. IAMCR 2020 addresses respect for both diversities and shared values. Respect embodies respect for local cultural experiences and developmental models as well as respect for human dignity and international law and institutions. It embodies respect for role of ethics in developing the digital technology and for the safety and security of personal data and privacy. Exploring these issues requires us to reconsider to what extent the current global communication and technological landscapes have facilitated these dimensions of respect for diverse voices, experiences and models; and to ask what communicative values and goals would guaranteed the in the future.

Promoting inclusiveness and respect are essential preconditions for (re)imagining and developing a shared digital future that challenges and transcends political, religious, and cultural boundaries. But pursuing this goal also requires a commitment to reciprocity based on relations between public, governments and business communities rooted in a shared a commitment to inclusiveness, respect and avoiding exploitation or exacerbating divides and conflicts.

Organised by Tampere University , but built on the foundation already set by Tsinghua University and XJTLU, IAMCR 2020 is set to bring together different perspectives on how multi-stakeholders of the global and local communication and media spaces negotiates among heterogeneous communities and institutions in the hope for building an inclusive, harmonious and respectful digital future. 


The Rural Communication Working Group accepts abstracts in the three official languages of IAMCR: English, French, and Spanish. Presentations can be made in any of these three languages.

Guidelines for abstracts

Abstracts should be between 300 and 500 words. All abstracts must be submitted at Abstracts sent by email will not be accepted.

It is expected that authors will submit only one (1) abstract. However, under no circumstances should there be more than two (2) abstracts bearing the name of the same author, either individually or as part of any group of authors. No more than one (1) abstract can be submitted to any section or working group. Please note also that the same abstract or another version with minor variations in title or content must not be submitted to more than one section or working group. Any such submissions will be deemed to be in breach of the conference guidelines and will be rejected. Authors submitting them risk being removed entirely from the conference programme.

The deadline to submit abstracts is 23:59 GMT on 2 March 2020

See important dates and deadlines to keep in mind

For further information, please consult the conference website, or contact the Local Organizing Committee by email: tampere2020 [at] or the heads of the Rural Communication Working Group:

Co-Chair: Sarah Cardey (s.p.cardey [at]
Co-Chair: Rico Lie (rico.lie [at]