Call for Papers ECREA Communication History Section Workshop, Vienna 2019

Vienna, 11-13 September 2019 – Austrian Academy of Sciences

Jeopardizing Democracy throughout History: Media as Accomplice, Adversary or Amplifier of Populist and Radical Politics

Populism appears to be on the rise for several years now and extreme ideologies as well as radical politics strive for power in many European democracies and around the globe. Public debate and political pundits suggest that there is a link between the proliferation of radical politics, trenches of polarization between political camps and across societies on the one side and contemporary media environments on the other. The emphasis on allegedly new phenomena such as fake news, echo chambers, hate speech or digital platforms as drivers of political polarization and as vessels of agitation, often neglects that mediated communication has always played a vital role in both safeguarding democracy as well as putting it in jeopardy.

For this workshop, the ECREA Communication History Section invites scholarly presentations to shed light on political communication that fosters populist and radical politics in a historical perspective and across various political and cultural settings in Europe and beyond, to learn from the past for contemporary challenges.

The goal is to understand the role media played as potential accomplices or carriers of populist agitation (e.g. in autocratic regimes or out of commercial premises), and as amplifiers of extreme political positions or groups and populist sentiment (e.g. sensationalist and simplistic reporting or excessive coverage for populist tropes). Media and mediated communication can however also act as countering forces and adversaries of radical politics and aim to tame blatant populism or maintain forums for civilized debate. The workshop is also interested in works that help to deconstruct or re-evaluate assumptions about counter publics, alternative media, both for democratically progressive or rather revisionist and reactionary goals, and it aims to assemble a broad portfolio of perspectives on the topic covering a variety of historical periods, national or supranational settings and media involved. We are interested in research that addresses the full scope of media history from early prints to the digital age.

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Save the date !

Our Biannual Workshop is approaching !


When ? 11-13 September 2019.

Where? In Vienna at The Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW).

Topic/Title ? “Jeopardizing Democracy throughout History. Media as Accomplice, Adversary or Amplifier of Populist and Radical Politics”.

Call for paper will be out soon !

Workshop 2017 in Budapest

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!