Call For Papers

Mediaflows Conference 2021

Dissidence and Communication:

Voices and discourses in the era of alternative facts

October, 27, 28 and 29th, 2021. UIMP Valencia

The vocation of this conference is to host an academic debate on the role that communication is currently playing in modern societies as a tool with which to challenge official discourses and raise alternative readings to the voices of power, but also as an instrument with which to build versions of reality that have little or nothing to do with the factual truths, resulting in endless hoaxes and conspiracy theories. The relationship between communication and dissidence is therefore revealed as an object of discussion and academic reflection of the utmost importance given that, as demonstrated in recent months, it is a phenomenon that impacts on all kinds of areas, from politics to science, including religion and culture.

To submit a paper, a 250-word proposal must be sent through the specific section’s form until July 15, 2021. The languages accepted for papers will be Spanish and English. The congress foresees a face-to-face presentation of the communications, although it will consider the virtual modality (through the sending of a video or synchronous online participation) if the health circumstances require it.

A selection of the accepted proposals may form part, if the researchers so wish and the papers pass the relevant evaluation, of the monograph that the Catalan Journal of Communication & Cultural Studies (https://www.intellectbooks.com/catalan-journal-of-communication-cultural-studies)  -published by the British publisher Intellect Ltd. and indexed in Scopus (Q2)- will dedicate to the conference in October-November 2022, as well as issue 8 of Dígitos journal (https://revistadigitos.com) -of the Department of Language Theory and Communication Sciences of the University of Valencia-, that will publish in 2022.

CALENDAR

  • 15th July 2021: deadline for submission of paper proposals
  • 31th July 2021: communication of admitted papers
  • 15th September 2021: opening of registration and payment of fees
  • 15th October 2021: submission of full texts
  • 27, 28 and 29th October 2021: Mediaflows Conference 2021

SESSIONS

1. New actors in political communication: parties and institutions between science and influencers

Coordinators:

This thematic session is dedicated to the new opinion leaders that have emerged because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as opposed to the traditional political actors, who until now have occupied a privileged place in the configuration of public discourse through the mass media. Their institutional role has allowed them to occupy the position of primary definers and they have therefore acted as trusted sources whose voice was rarely questioned and enjoyed credibility on the part of journalists and citizens. The health crisis has shown that this position of authoritative voice has entered into crisis, and political actors can no longer assume exclusive responsibility for shaping the public narrative.

The need to awaken confidence in society at a time of great uncertainty and to reach sectors of the population far removed from institutional discourse has led politicians to surround themselves with and/or seek the collaboration of scientific experts and influencers.

For this reason, this session is dedicated to the analysis of the evolution of political communication in recent years, the challenges it faces and the changes it has undergone in the current complex environment of institutional discredit.

Possible lines of research

  • Descriptive, temporal and comparative analysis of the discourses of traditional political actors and new opinion leaders
  • Strategies and communication channels of the new political referents
  • Institutional discredit in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • New referents, new verbal and non-verbal languages
  • Citizen perceptions of the discourses of power
  • Structure and morphology of the network where traditional and new actors are related

2. Conspiracy and crisis: the questioning of official discourses

Coordinators:

This thematic session is dedicated to conspiracy theories, an element that has been part of contexts of crisis and political instability. However, in recent years, their appearance seems to have multiplied, partly thanks to the ease with which their messages can circulate through the network, where these theories are gaining consistency and number of followers.

In this sense, particularly welcome are those papers that focus on the conspiratorial discourses that have been used to explain phenomena of different kinds, from the US elections, finally won by Joe Biden, to the impact of COVID-19 on health and economy.

This session aims those papers that reflect on the genesis, characteristics and development of these theories, both from a current and historical point of view, to understand what elements define the messages that seek to undermine official discourses and how they circulate in the digital space.

Possible lines of research

  • Genesis, characteristics and development of conspiracy theories
  • Analysis of the content and variability of conspiracy messages. Comparative analysis
  • Fear and other factors that favor the configuration of theories with no logical or scientific basis
  • Audiences: profile and consumption habits of the followers of conspiracy discourses
  • Study of the media and platforms that promote the questioning of official discourses, as well as the forms of circulation of these discourses
  • The social consequences of conspiracy. Effects on implicit and/or explicit attitudes.

3. Non-mainstream journalisms, changes in the media structure and fracturing of official agendas

Coordinators:

The mass media have long been considered as transmission chains of official agendas, in such a way that the political agenda and the media agenda fed back on each other to the point that it was practically impossible to differentiate them. Thus, as instrumentalist theory points out, the issues that appear in the media are, to a large extent, those sanctioned and promoted by political and economic power. Some journalistic initiatives far from the hegemonic media structure have launched publications, platforms and informative practices that seek to break this association by promoting an alternative view of reality, seeking to problematize the public in a different way and move away from the agendas promoted by the mainstream media.

This session is oriented to the analysis and discussion of these alternative journalistic practices and their impact on the public space. The papers presented should study who are their creators, which are their communication channels and what contents consume their audiences.

Possible lines of research

  • Beyond the mainstream: new media and changes in the communicative structure
  • Universes of alternativity: from alternative media to alter-reality
  • Situated journalism and information activism
  • Narratives and channels of alternative journalism: podcasts, social networks and Youtube
  • Change in business models: cooperativism as an alternative to the mainstream media
  • Journalistic actions in the face of power

4. Political alternatives to traditional politics: scope, limits and impact

Coordinators:

The last few years have witnessed the entry into the political sphere of new parties and leaderships, both in Spain and in many other countries on the European continent. These formations, which in some cases have been labeled as "the new politics", have tried to offer an alternative, in substance and form, to the proposals of the traditional parties. In our country, organizations with hardly any relevance a few years ago, such as Podemos, Ciudadanos and Vox, have today reached a very significant position in our institutional structure, with a wide representation in several legislative chambers and assuming executive functions within coalition governments, a formula also new in a long time in Spanish politics.

This session is intended to host research on the scope and impact achieved by alternative political parties to the formations that shaped the two-party system in many countries, focusing on their discursive and communicative strategies at the organizational and institutional level.

Possible lines of research

  • Construction of new leaderships: causes, platforms, media, networks and campaigns
  • The political use of social networks in electoral campaigns
  • The communication of new parties inside and outside of governments
  • Communication strategies and challenges of coalition governments in Spain and other countries
  • New and old political marketing formulas in the third decade of the 21st century.

5. Movements and counter-movements: the framing of social activism and its reactions

Coordinators:

Dissidence against institutional power has traditionally had its materialization in collective action. Social movements have put on the table alternative proposals for reading reality, directing attention to aspects of our environment neglected and unattended by those who should seek solutions to collective problems.

In parallel, we find progressive neoliberalism that has provided a sort of alibi for certain reactionary economic policies to appear emancipatory and has been embodied in existing currents such as sustainable development, green growth or neoliberal feminism.

Finally, also in recent years, there has also been a clear emergence of counter-movements, for example collective actions that mobilize to oppose previous movements, as evidenced by the climate change denialist movements.

This session will reflect on how social activism has found on Internet a new space in which to seek the mobilization of citizens, giving rise to the so-called connective action, although this has not ended with action in physical space. For this reason, the research presented here will focus on the analysis of collective action at the present time, in its broadest sense, to study its characteristics, communicative strategies and forms of mobilization.

Possible lines of research

  • Mobilization strategies: narratives, repertoires (demonstrations, pots and pans, etc.) and media skills
  • Networked social movements adapted to local contexts
  • Social counter-movements: anti-feminism, anti-vaccine and climate change denialists
  • Social movements, intersectionality and neoliberal feminism collective action in circumstances of social isolation and confinement
  • Collective action in circumstances of social isolation and confinement
  • LGTBIQ mobilizations
  • Cacophony of environmental movements: the cult of wilderness, efficiency and sustainable development, post-materialism and environmentalism of the poor.

6. New methodologies in communication research: mixed methods and techniques for the digital environment

Coordinadores:

Research in social communication has been diversifying and improving in recent years, and along with the classic works focused on quantitative and qualitative content analysis, studies have been carried out based on much more diverse methodologies, ranging from big data analysis to other approaches based on ethnographic observation techniques, also in the digital environment, where much of today's social interactions take place.

The purpose of this session is to bring together methodological proposals and reflections that advocate the implementation of analysis techniques far removed from those that are more deeply rooted in the field of communication studies, in order to bring together peripheral perspectives adapted to the digital reality.

Possible lines of research

  • New methodologies for the analysis of social and political communication
  • Big data applied to the study of communication consumption in social networks and audience analysis
  • Ethnographic techniques of participant and non-participant observation in the digital environment
  • Technical and ethical challenges of new research methodologies
  • Hegemonic and minority research techniques in communication studies
  • Specific computational methods, including techniques such as scraping, sentiment analysis, text classification, topic modeling, entity detection, social network analysis, image analysis
  • Critical reviews of predominant theoretical and methodological approaches in communication studies in Spain and Latin America.