Fall, 2016 (Issue 26.1–2)

Populism, Post-Truth Politics and Participatory Culture: Interventions in the Intersection of Popular and Political Communication

Abstract submission deadline (extended!): 20 January 2017 (800 words max.)

When: Thursday, 25 May 2017, 9:00 – 17:45
Where: Hilton San Diego Bayfront, San Diego, CA
Organizers: Cornel Sandvoss (U of Huddersfield) and Stephen Harrington (Queensland U of Technology)

View Call for Papers

What will your preconference be about? 

From the Donald Trump’s shock victory in the US presidential election to the successful BREXIT campaign, via the rise of far right Freedom Party in Austria and the Front National in France, to the emergence of new Left movements across Southern Europe or Corbynism in the UK, we witness dramatic and rapid transformations to the substance of political discourse and decision making across Europe, North America and beyond. This preconference draws on the rich body of work in the study of new political formations, political campaigning, the eroding boundaries between political and popular communication and between popular entertainment and popular and populist politics to provide a forum for the presentation of current research on the rapid rise of political populism, political movements and ‘post-truth politics’ in 2016 in different national and international contexts, and thus aims to provide comparative perspectives on transformations of political discourse, participation and electoral behaviour.

The rise of new political movements and campaigns, including but not limited to the rise of far-right populism, are distinctly multi-factorial. In exploring the premises and consequences of this rise we distinguish between media intrinsic and extrinsic factors. While the preconference will focus on media intrinsic factors that are closely associated with changes in political discourse as a result of a.) technological change including processes of digitisation and media convergence, b.) transformations of media ownership and (broadcast) market deregulation and c.) the proliferation of forms participation and textual production among media users and audiences, it also acknowledges the wider economic, social, cultural and political factors that have informed and driven these transformations.  We invite contribution to a range of related fields of research including:

  • Infotainment and political discourse
  • Citizen journalism and political participation
  • The crisis of political journalism
  • The role of comedy and other entertainment in political discourse
  • Media, politics and trust
  • Social movements, protest and digital media
  • Social media and the public sphere
  • Media ownership and power
  • Fans of politics and political campaigns and movements as fan cultures
  • Political discourse, Othering and anti-fandom
  • The affective and emotional qualities of political support and voting
  • Political campaigning and restyling of politics

Participants are invited to examine a range of associated cases and phenomena from across the world, including, but not limited to:

  • Far right populism including the Tea Party, Donald Trump, Brexit, Fidesz, Front National and the FPÖ.
  • Movements against neo-liberalism and austerity including Bernie Sanders’s 2016 campaign, Syriza, Podemos and Momentum.
  • Forms of civic action and political interventions by media users and audiences across the political spectrum as well as within realms of entertainment.

Why should we have this conference? Why is the topic covered and/or approach taken by your preconference (a) timely and (b) relevant? Why should people submit their work or plan to attend?

We are stating the painfully obvious here: Trump, Brexit, and other far right electoral victories in particular mark not only a challenge to the nature of political discourse and indirect democracies but also carry profound social, cultural and economic threats. Communication, media, cultural and journalism studies have a key role to play in the analysis of the transformations of political communication that have facilitated the emergence of post-truth politics and populism and, crucially, in formulating meaningful and effective responses – as conference organisers we hope many ICA members will join us in this effort. Proposals for contributions to the preconference should be submitted online at https://goo.gl/FcdSjZ. For any further questions on the submission process please contact Cornel Sandvoss at c.sandvoss@hud.ac.uk. The proposal submission deadline is midnight (GMT) on 20th January 2017.

What do you envision to come from your preconference: In which direction do you expect it to pull political communication scholarship? Does is it aim at fueling new collaboration and/or a specific kind of research?

The preconference will foster a dialogue between scholars working within different conceptual and methodological traditions in order to advance interdisciplinary debates and approaches to the study of contemporary popular and populist politics; building on this analysis the preconference will conclude with reflections on how this analysis can and ought to translate into interventions on behalf of communication scholars in the political process and its communicative infrastructure. We will also be dedicated time to international networks and funding opportunities.

Reflecting the broad scope and interdisciplinary nature of the phenomena under investigation, we invite submissions to any of the above themes and topics in the following formats: full research papers, position papers, panels and mediated/alternative submission formats.

Populism, Post-Truth Politics and Participatory Culture: Interventions in the Intersection of Popular and Political Communication