CFP: Post-Representative Participations: Engaging with Civic Action in the Times of Digital Citizenship


Post-Representative Participations: Engaging with Civic Action in the Times of Digital Citizenship

School of Media, University of Brighton (UK)
16th November 2018

Keynote speakers: Professor Nico Carpentier, Uppsala University + TBC

The Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Association’s Postgraduate Network (MeCCSA PGN), the Participatory Communication Research (PCR) section of the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), and the Centre for Digital Media Cultures, University of Brightoninvites postgraduate students, early-career researchers, filmmakers, civil society members and activists to submit proposals for our joint one-day conference at University of Brighton.

The aim of this conference is to provide a platform for the critical dialogue between Participatory Communication Research communities and media practitioners (such as activists, filmmakers etc.) to examine the issues of social, political and cultural change in the times of digital media, giving a particular focus on ‘digital citizenship’. It also aims to bring together international academics and media practitioners to explore the creative participatory methods. We are keen to involve not only academic presentations, but also workshops and film screenings by media practitioners at the event, giving them the chance to present their work, ideas and practices to an international audience.

About the Conference Theme

The contemporary era can be seen an experience of schisms, created by living in an increasingly connected world with highly polarized social contexts, a situation that has been referred to as living in “the era of the both” (Carpentier, 2018). Even as media technologies continue to proliferate and evolve to stimulate new(ish) socialities (Jenkins et al., 2016), the global political environment seems to turn towards intolerance and hatred. Arguably, increased levels of participation form one of the antidotes to this violence, but this antidote can no longer consist out of the older forms of civic participation, which were almost exclusively grounded in the logics of representative democracy.

The context for democratic struggles has shifted more than ever towards the usage of a mélange of different technologies that are deployed to engage in civic action, at a variety of political levels, some of which concern institutionalized politics, but others which do not. To refer to a book co-edited by Henry Jenkins: Civic action is organised “by any media necessary” (Jenkins et al., 2016). Digital participations feature prominently in this mélange, which has structurally enriched the repertoires available to civic action, but we should not ignore the articulation of digital activist practices with many other participatory-democratic practices outside the digital realm. Simultaneously, also the digital industries are now increasingly becoming object of media critique, which aligns them with the older mass media industries, which have been endlessly targeted by civic activists, e.g. critiquing these media for manufacturing consent (Herman and Chomsky, 1988).

As academics and scholars, we need to engage with these newer forms of participations that are encoded in the language of old and new industries, activist practices and the performance of different politics that transcend the representational, such that we can adapt and influence strategies to continue fostering a diverse and a tolerant vision of the future.

The central theme of the seminar is Post-Representative Participations: Engaging with civic action in the times of digital citizenship. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Participatory Communication
  • Participatory Methodology
  • Representation and civic action
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Digital Activism
  • Social Media and Social Movement
  • Mobile Communication and Activism
  • Activism, Surveillance and Datafication
  • Digital Literacy and manufactured consent
  • (Digital) Nomadism and civil participation

Please send your abstract, of no more than 250 words for presentation/workshop/film screening/art-projects, along with a resume detailing your work, to‎ by 15thof August 2018. For panel proposals, please include a brief rationale for the panel and abstracts for all papers, including authors and affiliations. Panel slots are one hour long, thus please include between three and four papers in your panel proposal.You will receive a notification from the conference organisers confirming whether your abstract has been accepted by the 15thSeptember.

The deadline for the submission of full papers and films is the 3rd of November. The submission of a full paper is desirable but not obligatory for conference participants. It is required in order to be considered for the special issue publication. Films have to be made available to the conference organisers before the 3rd of November. A selection of papers will be considered for publication in a special issue of Networking Knowledge, Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, depending on receiving a sufficient number of high quality papers. We would thus like to encourage delegates to write up the full version of their papers. Visual essays, and other, less common, formats will also be considered.

We look forward to your abstracts. For any queries, please contact Emma Kaylee Graves


Carpentier, N. (2018) Foreword – The Era of the Both in ‘Networks, Movements

and Technopolitics in Latin America: Critical Analysis and Current Challenges’. Palgrave Macmillan.

Herman, E. S. and Chomsky, N. (1988) Manufacturing Consent: the Political Economy of the Mass Media. New York: Pantheon Books.

Jenkins, H., Shresthova, S. L. Gamber-Thompson, N. Kligler-Vilenchik, A. Zimmerman(2016) By Any Media Necessary: The New Youth Activism. New York: NYU Press.

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