CALL FOR PAPERS – Cultures in Disarray: Destruction / Reconstruction
Culture, Media & Creative Industries Postgraduate Conference 2015
Prof. Nick Couldry, Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science
Prof. Peter Dahlgren, Department of Communication and Media, Lund University
Prof. Elisabetta Lazzaro, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium
Cultures are in disarray as never before assaulted and undermined by a complex mix of alienating ideology and transformational technologies. Is culture craving for a paradigm shift? Or is this state of disarray just another moment of re-construction within culture? Looking at culture not just as a concept, we can understand it as being permanently reconfigured, in a constant process of adaptation and symbiosis with social and economic developments, reflecting the Zeitgeist. The tide of neo-liberalism has long since left the narrow realm of economics and infiltrated not just the social realms of education, media, and arts, but even the complex structures of everyday interaction – degrading the construction of the self and the purpose of life. Digital technologies are creating a disintermediation across all spheres of society empowering and enriching the top 1% while the middle collapses as a power law distribution polarise the mass from the political economic and cultural elite. Moreover these technologies reinforce the neo-liberal project affording it with the social techniques of pervasive surveillance, endless assessment, targeting, grading, and the corrosive obsession with competition and instrumentalism, consumption and individualisation. Meanings are being co-opted, with ‘culture’ arguably being replaced by ‘creativity’ in policy agendas, leading to disarray in the definitions,discourses, and policy implications. Globalisation is having a transformative impact on local cultures. The algorithmic affordances of digitalisation reduce the human experience to one dimensional formulaic constructions devoid of complexity or even culture itself.
This analysis is imprecise, limited and does not pretend to do justice the nuance and perspective required to fully appreciate this vast but pressingly important subject. However, it highlights some aspects of the multi-faceted dynamics that academics, policy-makers and activists are struggling with across all cultural spheres. Our question then is what are the reconstructions that oppose and go beyond this destruction? What and where are the cultures of resistance and transcendence, the creative policies and strategies, the structural bases of renewal and re-empowerment, the micro-techniques and individual transgressive statements of dissent? How can the vast cultural and economic resources of our civilisation be socialised and humanised? How can the anarchistic emergences we see on the periphery of established networks of control and privilege be made effective and credible? How can this horizontalist emphasis on participation and direct democracy create viable cultural and political alternatives? And more profoundly but vitally, how can our primal urge for creativity, authenticity, spontaneity, and co-operation (not to mention joy and humour!) be harnessed to reconstruct a rehumanised culture? Should we accept this condition of disarray as automatically defining contemporary culture or as the point of departure for a complex process of social reconstruction? Is creativity the magic word to cure what culture cannot? Can it shake off the scent of elite culture so that policy can be implemented? Will we keep changing the buzzwords or do we need to return to the quintessential debate on culture?
The conference is unashamedly multidisciplinary, or even anti-disciplinary. It calls for innovative statements which break down the academic silos, which separate the culturalist, stucturalist and rationalistic, the analytic from the normative, and the deconstructive from the constructive. We are driven by a commitment to truly critical thinking and innovative perspectives – to make a real ’impact’. To this end we are calling for papers which address the above themes in ways that challenge established categories and conventions. We encourage unorthodox and provocative approaches. We are interested in ideas that break out of assumed rationalities, which may outrage and appear monstrous – that certainly won’t get in the top journals which make up the ’dead heart’ of academia. After all isn’t this what creative destruction always was and therefore must still be all about? In these ’end times’ times then uncensor yourself and make real that paper you always wanted to write. The moment is now and remember, as Keynes said, ’in the long run we are all dead’!
We invite abstracts on the following themes but welcome papers that may not fall directly within them, and feedback about how me may alter or add to them.
- The Problems: analyses of cultures in disarray, common explanations, causes, dynamics and configurations.
- Conceptual Frameworks: changes and developments in the basic notions and questions about the idea of culture, ontology and technology.
- Specific Sites of Contention:
- The Arts / Creative Industries
- Education / Knowledge Production
- Media/ Public Sphere
- Management / Entrepreneurship
- Politics / Ideology
- Economy / Culture of Money
- Urban Culture / Community Development
- Reconstructions: ideas, strategies, designs, and case studies of emergent cultures that provide instruction and hope.
We welcome contributions until
15th of March 1st of April 2015 (paper title, a 250-word abstract and author information – full name, institutional affiliation and email address). Please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Notifications regarding acceptance will be sent by 15th of April 2015. Optional full paper submission (4,000-8,000 words) before 20th of May 2015.
The conference will take place at the Strand campus of King’s College London. On both days there will be social events in the evening. We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!
In case of queries please contact:
Agnieszka Widuto: email@example.com
Mengying Li: firstname.lastname@example.org
Leandro Lima: email@example.com
Ya-Chiao Tu: firstname.lastname@example.org