Our Group First! – Historical perspectives on Minorities/Majorities, Inclusion/Exclusion, Centre/Periphery in Media and Communication
The 2017 workshop of the Communication History Section aimed to discuss how communication has been used to disseminate stereotypes, narratives and social myths, creating clear distinctions between a superior “us” and the “other”. The chant “Our Group First”, which echoes past times, has gained momentum in the contemporary political discourse in Europe and the United States. This led the Section to consider it urgent to discuss and better understand the role played by the media in the dissemination of populist and xenophobic ideals and to also look at how minorities have used different media to come together as communities.
Tibor Frank, Nelson Ribeiro, Balázs Sipos, Andrea Pető
The workshop took place in Budapest at Eötvös Loránd University, on September 7-9. It was organized by Balázs Sipos who the Section Management Team wishes to thank for his wonderful work. During three days participants attended more than twenty five presentations, including keynotes by Tibor Frank (Eötvös Loránd University), Andrea Pető (Central European University), Susanne Kinnebrock (University of Augsburg) and Erika Szívós (Eötvös Loránd University). The talks presented made it clear how much can be learned about contemporary media and political discourses when looking at how different communication technologies were used in the past to foster hate and fear against the “other”. It was also made clear how different groups have used different media to promote their own ideas and how many of these media have played a role in in-group identity construction, frequently transcending borders and linking transnational audiences.
One of the most touching moments at the workshop was the roundtable “Remembering Klaus Arnold”, in which section members paid tribute to one of the founders and the first Chair of the Communication History Section who passed away earlier in the year. Those who participated at the roundtable remembered not only Klaus’ work in setting up the Section but also his contributions to Communication Studies at large. He will be missed and his legacy will remain as the section grows and develops its research agenda.
At the business meeting section members were briefed on the developments of the European Communication History Handbook, a project also envisioned by Klaus Arnold, that will be published in 2018 by Wiley-Blackwell. The group will meet at the European Communication Conference, in Lugano, from October 31st to November 3rd 2018. The next workshop is scheduled to take place in Vienna from September 18th to 20th. Please do join us!