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Infrastructures and Inequalities: Media industries, digital cultures and politics
 
Call for Papers ECREA Mid-Year Section Conference 
 
21-22 October 2019, University of Helsinki, Finland

Joint Conference of three ECREA Sections: 
Communication and Democracy; Digital Culture and Communication; and Media Industries and Cultural Production
 
Abstract Deadline 1 June 2019
 
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Lisa Parks, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kaarina Nikunen, University of Tampere
 
In a turn to ‘infrastructuralism’ (Peters 2015), media and communication scholars are increasingly attentive to the materialities and politics of the technological, organisational and cultural infrastructures that underpin media today. Platforms, data centres, software, but also new forms of organising cultural production and labour, shape the politics of digital cultures and transform the media industries. Digital and media infrastructures have become elemental to everyday life. They are significant in reproducing existing social and cultural inequalities, as well as creating new power struggles. As digital/media infrastructures unfold in everyday life, they bring challenges across multiple domains, from the foundations of social justice to the industrial structures underpinning our everyday interactions with media and communication systems. This conference aims to address the politics and inequalities that emerge, as technological and media industries adopt, dismantle and transform infrastructures to channel and process communication flows. Media infrastructures (broadly) operate under different and uneven conditions that configure media labour, media production, and the politics of communication and access (Starosielski and Parks 2015). This conference seeks to examine digital/media infrastructures and inequalities from an inter- and multi-disciplinary perspective, inviting papers to interrogate the significance of the ‘infrastructural turn’ in media and communication studies to our understanding of media industries, democracy and digital cultures.
 
During this joint-ECREA section conference, we aim to engage with questions concerning inequalities and the infrastructures of digital culture, media industries and (digital) democracy through addressing topics such as (but not limited to):

The value, significance and relevance of infrastructure studies to media industry studies, the study of media and democracy, as well as digital culture
The industries and labour that operate and control specific technological media infrastructures, such as data centres, cloud computing, cable/satellite networks, content delivery networks
The politics and power dynamics of digital/media infrastructures 
The significance of digital/media infrastructures in everyday life, especially related to the reproduction of social inequalities
The impact of digital/media infrastructures on culture, society, politics and democracy
The impact of digital/media infrastructures on media labour and cultural production
The organisational and cultural infrastructures of the media industries
Experiences and affective relationships that emerge in connection with media infrastructures
Forms of logistical media
Temporalities of media infrastructures
Emerging questions for the foundations of social justice in the digital media infrastructural turn
 

Submission details
Please submit a 300-word abstract for individual proposals. 
Panel proposals should include a 300-word panel rationale plus individual 200 word abstracts from a minimum of four speakers.
All abstracts for individual as well as panel proposals should be submitted through EasyChair: 
https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=infrastructuresandin

Deadline for submission is 1 June 2019. Notifications of acceptance will be issued by 30 June 2019.

Registration and Fees
Early bird and ECREA-members fee:  €100 (until 12th August)
Early bird reduced student fee (for students who are also ECREA members): €50 (until 12 August)
Full fees and non-ECREA members: €120  (to be paid until the 15th of September)
Student, non-ECREA member fee: €60 (to be paid until the 15th of September)

Conference website: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/infrastructures-and-inequalities 

For more information and enquiries, contact: 
Julia Velkova, University of Helsinki at [log in to unmask]
Anne Kaun, Södertörn University at [log in to unmask]
Sander de Rieder, University of Ghent at [log in to unmask] 

Or consult the conference website:
https://www.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/infrastructures-and-inequalities

Scientific Committee:

Ysabel Gerrard, University of Sheffield
Catherine Johnson, University of Huddersfield
Ana Jorge, Research Centre for Communication and Culture, Universidade Católica Portuguesa
Anne Kaun, Södertörn University
Maria Michalis, University of Westminster
Christina Neumayer, IT-University of Copenhagen
Sander de Rieder, University of Ghent
Emiliano Treré, University of Cardiff
Julia Velkova, Consumer Society Research Centre, University of Helsinki

Related conferences in Helsinki during that same week:
 
ECREA section conference on “Communication Rights in the Digital Age”, 24-25 October, keynote speaker is Philip Napoli (Duke University):
https://www.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/communication-rights-in-the-digital-age/call-for-papers
 
Alexanteri conference 2019 on “Technology, Culture, and Society in the Euras­ian Space”, 23-25 October, among the keynote speakers are Benjamin Peters (University of Tulsa) and Natalie Koch (Syracuse University).
https://www.helsinki.fi/en/conferences/technology-culture-and-society-in-the-eurasian-space/

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