RN18 - Sociology of Communications and Media Research

RN coordinator:

Prof. Christian Fuchs, University of Westminster, London, UK


Critical Media Sociology Today

We live in times of ongoing crisis, the extension and intensification of inequalities concerning class, gender, and race, a return of the importance of the economy and political economy, a lack of imaginations of alternatives to neo-liberalism and capitalism, an intensification of right-wing extremism and fascism all over Europe, a lack of visions and power of the political Left, an intensification and extension of extremely repressive forms of state power such as communications surveillance conducted by secret services, ideological scapegoating conducted by conservative and far-right parties, and law and order-politics. Left-wing movements and parties have in some countries emerged or been strengthened, but the crisis has overall brought a further political shift towards the right and an intensification of capitalism and inequality.

We today require politically a renewal of the Left. For critical media sociology this means that it needs to ask questions, theorise, and conduct critical analysis of media and communications in the context of capitalism, class, ideologies, racism, fascism, right-wing extremism, gender, state power, activism and social movements, challenges for public service, media reforms, crisis, globalisation, the rise of China, digitalisation, consumer and advertising culture, information/cultural/media work, digital labour, the new international division of cultural and digital labour, warfare and military conflicts, the new imperialism, financialisation, etc.

ESA RN 18 calls for contributions that shed new light on questions that Critical Media Sociology needs to ask today and on theoretical and analytical insights that help to shape Critical Media Sociology in the 21st Century.

RN18’s panel at the ESA 2014 Prague Conference “Differences, Inequalities and contributions are organised in the form of specific session topics.

  1. General session


  1. Specific session titles

ESA RN18 calls for contributions to the following sessions:

RN18_1: Critical Media Sociology and Karl Marx Today:

What is the role and legacy of Karl Marx’s works and Marxist theory for critical media sociology today?

RN18_2: Critical Media Sociology and Capitalism Today:

How does capitalism shape media and communications today?

RN18_3: Critical Media Sociology and Critical Theory Today:

What is a critical theory of 21st century society? What role do communication, media and culture play in such a theory?

RN18_4: Critical Media Sociology and Stuart Hall Today:

How do Stuart Hall’s works, projects, and collaborations matter for critical media sociology today?

RN18_5: Critical Media Sociology and Cultural Materialism Today

How does Raymond Williams’ approach of cultural materialism matter today for understanding the sociology of media and communications?

RN18_6: Critical Media Sociology, Patriarchy and Gender Today:

What is the role of and relationship of identity politics and anti-capitalism for feminist media sociology today?

RN18_7: Critical Media Sociology and the Critique of the Political Economy of the Internet and Social Media

How does capitalism shape the Internet and social media?

RN18_8: Critical Media Sociology and Ideology Critique Today

What are the main forms of ideology today and how do they operate in the media? Which forms and approaches of ideology critique do we need to understand them?

RN18_9: Critical Media Sociology, Right-Wing Extremism and Fascism Today

What is the relationship of far-right movements and parties, the media and communication?

RN18_10: Critical Media Sociology and Digital Labour Today

What forms of digital labour and digital class struggles are there and how can they best be theorised, analysed, and understood?

RN18_11: Critical Media Sociology and the Left

How could a 21st century Left best look like and what is the role of media and communications for such a Left? What is the historical, contemporary, and possible future relationship of critical media sociology to the Left? What is the role of media, communications, the Internet, and social media in left-wing movements? What problems do such movements face in relation to the media, communications, the Internet, and social media?

RN18_12: Critical Media Sociology and China

How can critical media sociology understand the media in China and the role of China and Chinese media in global capitalism? What are differences and commonalities between European and Chinese media understood with the help of critical media sociology?

RN18_13: Critical Media Sociology and the Public Sphere Today

How can we best theorise and understand potentials and limits for the mediated public sphere in the 21st century?

RN18_14: Critical Media Sociology, the Commons, and the Alternatives Today

What are the problems and post-capitalist potentials of alternative projects such as cultural and media co-operatives, left-wing and radical media projects, alternative social media, alternative online platforms, alternative media, community media projects, commons-based media, peer production projects, etc.?

RN18_15: Critical Media Sociology and State Power Today

How does the relationship of media, communication and state power’s various forms of regulation, control, repression, violence and surveillance look like?

RN18_16: Critical Media Sociology, the University and Academia Today

What are the challenges and problems for teaching and conducting research about the media and communication from a critical perspective? What can be done to overcome existing limits and problems?

Notes for authors

Authors are invited to submit their abstract either to the general session or any specific session. Please submit only to one session. After abstract evaluation, coordinators will have the chance to transfer papers between sessions where applicable.

Abstracts should not exceed 250 words. Each paper session will have the duration of 1.5 hours. Normally sessions will include 4 papers.

Abstracts must be submitted online to the submission platform, see below. Abstracts sent by email cannot be accepted. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed and selected for presentation by the Research Network; the letter of notification will be sent by the conference software system in early April 2015.

Abstract submission deadline (extended):                                                                                                15th February 2015

Abstract submission platform:                                                                                          www.esa12thconference.eu

If you have further questions on the conference, please visit the conference website. For further information on the Research Network, please visit www.europeansociology.org.