ECREA Communication History Section is launching a call for chapters for a new book project tentatively entitled Historicizing media and communication concepts of the digital age. The book aims to historicize some of the most relevant ideas and concepts in contemporary digital media studies, and will appear in the series “Studies in digital history and hermeneutics” directed by Andreas Fickers (DeGruyter Editor). The volume will be both online with free access and printed thanks to the support of C2DH at the University of Luxembourg, and will be edited by Gabriele Balbi, Nelson Ribeiro, Valérie Schafer and Christian Schwarzenegger – the former and current management team.
The main goal of the book is to show how several concepts did not originate with digital technologies, but existed before the digital age and have been used for long time, also in the “analogue times”. This should help to understand how concepts have changed over time and to see both continuities and profound mutations in their meanings between past and present, between the analog and digital eras. We have selected more than 20 concepts and part of them will be assigned thanks to this Call for Chapters.
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.