Call for Papers and Events

Call for Chapters

Dr Ben Harbisher: Media Discourse Centre

 

This CFC emerges from recent conferences held by the MDC in 2019, in Jakarta and the UK. In 2015 the United Nations set out an audacious plan – under UN Resolution 70/1 – to promote health, life, equality, and the environment. In order to achieve this ambition, it created seventeen separate development goals, to be met over a fifteen-year period.

 

The Sustainable Development Goals include: ending Poverty and Hunger; promoting Health and Well-being; providing Quality Education; the pursuit of Gender and Racial Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; Affordable and Clean Energy; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Developing Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Responsible Consumption and Production; creating Sustainable Cities; protecting Life Below Water and on Land; and the pursuit of Peace and Justice through forming Strong Institutions.

 

In response to the UN’s SDG programme, this edited volume explores the way in which Sustainability narratives are disseminated in public discourse. The project examines how the UN SDGs are envisaged, articulated and then enacted by state and non-state actors, and how the outcomes are communicated to audiences throughout the world. The volume welcomes contributions that investigate unique or novel responses to the UN’s ambitions by NGOs, charitable organisations, and by grass roots campaigners, and seeks to document the substantial work being done by numerous public agencies.

 

Besides analysing the worldwide production and dissemination of sustainability narratives, the book also asks to what extent the UN goals are truly supported by governments and the corporate sector. The appearance of local initiatives (in which indigenous populations are making a real difference) seems to be overshadowed by multinationals which claim that they are rectifying the damage their goods have done. Do ‘headline’ claims made by the corporate sector gain more credible media coverage than the work of activists? How are newsworthy initiatives like the reduction of single-use plastics, pertinent to someone who has limited access to clean food or running water?

 

The concern is that while Western countries condemn the developing world’s treatment of the environment, many such territories have entered trade agreements to receive the exported waste of the ‘advanced’ nations. The UK for example, shipped 68,000 tonnes of non-recyclable refuse to Indonesia in 2019, most of which found its way into the ocean. This is plastic waste that affluent counties are unable to deal with themselves: gathered by third-party companies (which are subcontracted by city councils) it is sent to recycling centres across the UK. Waste is then sorted into recyclable and non-recyclable bails and is sold by the metric tonne for processing aboard. However, many unscrupulous companies mix recyclable and non-recyclable goods for profit, knowing the developing nations to which it is sold lack the infrastructure to dispose of this material safely.

 

The disreputable treatment of the world’s fragile ecology therefore typifies the paradox of sustainability. The SDG agenda is decidedly colonial in word and deed, dictating to the developing world both how and where its efforts must be guided, and allowing multinationals to exploit DAC territories and use them as a dumping ground. Evidence of this situation can be found in the shipbreaking yards of India, the plastic mountains of Indonesia, and the toxic trade in electronic waste that now permeates South-East Asia. As such, further criticisms of the SDG programme posit the venture as a marketing vehicle for big industry, in which clean-up campaigns are perceived as greenwashing. Additional arguments call for stricter trade regulations, and academic contributions reject the initiative as a form of meta-governance.

 

In one sense, however, the SDG programme can be represented as a form of ‘empowerment’, as sovereign (developing or assisted) nations can also determine their own terms of engagement with the edicts being offered by the UN. In recent months (and following China’s decision to stop processing foreign waste), Malaysia and Indonesia have followed suit, refusing to accept contaminated shipments from the West. There are further stories where local initiatives have been a resounding success, but these are rarely covered by Western media – even in cases where Western audiences would learn from stories that are a success. For example, one ground-breaking project in Jakarta pays for recyclable waste in gold. This encourages local communities to remove plastic bottles and other such goods from the street to exchange them for something of value. But because this has little news value in the West, these events are generally not covered by mainstream media. In this respect, coverage of the Sustainability initiatives is profoundly flawed, as a result of institutional politics, news selection, bias, house styles, and other contributing factors to the framing of news discourse.

 

In association with the Media Discourse Centre at De Montfort University, this edited volume contributes to the international conference series entitled ‘The Global Promotion and Mediation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals’. The volume seeks submissions from a variety of disciplines including public policy, media studies, social movement theory, governance, and the environment. The collection of individual works aims to document success stories, captures core issues, and identifies new areas of interest or activity regarding the United Nation’s Sustainable Development programme. As part of the Protest, Media and Culture series for Rowman and Littlefield International, contributors should consider responses aligning to the following areas:

 

  • Media and the Discourse of ‘Sustainability’
  • The UN Goals: Narratives and Narrativisation
  • Cover-ups and ‘Greenwashing’
  • ‘Business Leaders’ and Capitalist Intervention
  • Sustainability and Post-conflict Communication
  • Race, Ethnicity and theories of the Postcolonial
  • Social Movements and the Global Coordination of Protest
  • Global Governance and State Power
  • Investigative Journalism and the UN Goals
  • The use of Race, Class and Gender Identities in Publicising the UN Goals
  • ‘Post-truth’, PR and Publicity
  • Documentary Film in the Service of Dissent
  • Photography and Images of the Subaltern
  • Critiques of Corporate/State power
  • Comparative histories of UN initiatives
  • Coverage of successful local initiatives
  • Emerging areas of interest or activity
  • Interventions – by state, non-state, corporate actors and activists

Proposal for Chapters

Please send an abstract of the proposed piece at 300 words, and a brief bio of 150 – words to ben.harbisher@dmu.ac.uk – no later than Friday 23rd October 2020. Feedback will be provided shortly thereafter, with draft submissions due late December 2020 for editing.

The anticipated publication of the book will be March 2021.

Upon acceptance of your CfC response please also consider IP factors such as copyright in advance of completing a form from the publishers to secure publication rights for your work and any images provided therein.

Call for Chapters

Power, Media, and the Covid 19 Pandemic: framing public discourse

Edited by Stuart Price and Ben Harbisher

Media Discourse Centre, De Montfort University, UK

Deadline – 20th May 2020: Send Name, Title, Affiliation, followed by a 300-word Abstract (as an attachment and in the main body of the email) including focus, approach/method and academic references. Editorial response will be sent by or before 1st June. Send to mdc@dmu.ac.uk cc’ing sprice@dmu.ac.uk and ben.harbisher@dmu.ac.uk (Early Publication Date tbc – needless to say, we seek polished, well-referenced material that will help us meet our editorial deadlines – method of referencing will be Harvard, blended with our ‘house style’)

 

Overview of CfC and suggested topics

The Media Discourse Centre has secured the support of a major international publisher for the production of a book provisionally entitled Power, Media, and the Covid 19 Pandemic: framing public discourse. The immediate goal of this edited volume is to provide an in-depth, interdisciplinary critique of state, corporate, media and ‘citizen’ response to the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus. By response we mean both i) the discursive articulation of purposes, narratives, legal strictures and points of view (from supposedly authoritative briefings and the repetition of ‘scientific’ discourse, to social media tropes and disruptive political hypotheses) and ii) the often unpredictable material activities that public authority and its critics initiate, promote, or attempt to suppress or control (including the regimen of ‘social distancing’, socially ‘cohesive’ measures like Clap for Carers, the appearance of mutual aid networks, the global use of tracking apps, collective actions like the Brazilian pots and pans protests, Right-wing manifestations in the United States, and the apparently illegal practice of solitary sunbathing in public parks).

 

The ultimate purpose of the book, however, is not just to analyse the various perspectives and actions that gained traction during the first wave of infection, but to produce a text that helps ‘demythologise’ the (mediated) event, based in part on the work undertaken by health workers, investigative journalists, trade unions, anti-surveillance collectives and scientists (as well as by unconscious satirists like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro). A number of forces, knowingly or not, have provided a series of counter-narratives or perspectives that revealed, for example, the disconnection between official descriptions of a (PPE) ‘supply’ that never matched the ‘demand’ that was supposed to drive capitalism, or that offered an alternative to scientific rationality by destroying 5G towers on the basis that they helped spread the virus.

 

These reactions, among many others, constituted a political/popular challenge to an already confused cacophony of ‘messaging’ produced by competing power centres within state/corporate structures, national polities, and transnational institutions. While one strand of populist authoritarianism seemed to dismiss the virus as a damaging hoax (led by Bolsonaro in Brazil), and another used the crisis to centralise power (Orbán in Hungary), the leaders of systemic democracies, supported by their scientific and behavioural advisors, promoted a ‘lockdown’ that blended the discourses of public health, warfare (against an ‘invisible enemy’), national security and grassroots solidarity. Reactions varied from the strict shutdown imposed by Spain’s PSOE administration, to Britain’s combination of in-depth debate, patronising oversight and lackadaisical neoliberalism.

 

In the UK, politicians schooled in the practices of austerity had no choice but to amplify the heroism of key workers while they tried to satisfy the demands of those business patriarchs and elite social actors who bemoaned the interruption of ‘business continuity’. Meanwhile, the Covid crisis emphasised – by virtue of the procedural template circulated by the World Health Organisation, and the lens of a ‘globalised’ media – the critical divisions between political/economic systems, as much as it drew attention to the fact that it was often the poorest, most dedicated, and/or most oppressed in every country who bore the brunt of the disaster. A range of categories was used to designate these groups, including care workers, delivery drivers, ‘blue-collar’ personnel, the frail, elderly and/or ‘vulnerable’, and ‘front-line’ health-workers, with particular attention paid to BAME employees and women thrown into the maelstrom without adequate protection.

 

A project of this nature, as suggested above, will draw its material from research conducted in a number of countries, since a pandemic is by its nature transnational and thus best understood within the context of a comparative global study. In addition, the methodological range of the enquiry is bound to be extensive, limited only by the governing rationale of the enquiry undertaken. This does not, however, alter the focus of the collection, which is the interrogation of established, ‘politicised’ structures as they generated forms of public address, the comparative visibility and influence of social actors, the effects of media forms on the structure and delivery of messages, and the actual conduct of groups and individuals trying to survive in altered circumstances.

 

Topics can include, but are not limited to the following, which may, depending upon volume of receipt, become thematic clusters (prospective authors may nominate original fields of enquiry, provided they fall within our general remit):

 

Power, Contingency and the State

Authority, Protest and Mediated Resistance

Liberty, Lockdown, and Rights

Patriarchal and Racialised Discourses

Class Analysis of the Covid Crisis Response

Medical Discourses in Popular Form

Policing, Coercion and Consent

Investigative Journalism and Coronavirus

Trade Union and Political Communication

Discipline and Surveillance

Time, Space and Efficiency

Rhetoric of Governance

Experts and Expertise (e.g. WHO and SAGE)

Quarantine and Social Distancing

Pandemics and Propaganda

Mediation, Culture and Trauma

Grassroots Organisations and Mutual Aid

Behavioural Modelling and Society

Right-wing Conspiracies

Right-wing Press Discourses in the UK

Binary Constructs in Official Discourse

Clapping for Carers

Biopolitics and Eugenics

Race, Orientalism and Difference

Austerity, PPE, and the NHS

Neoliberalism, Austerity and the Pandemic

Globalisation, Markets and Profiteering

Politics, Technology & Covid-19

 

Part Two – CFP – The Global Promotion and Mediation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

16th September 2019
Introduced by Professor Rusi Jaspal (NTU)
Keynote: Dr Sara Thornton (Leicester)

For those submitting papers please note the themes cited in our original CfP as below for Part One of this series. This conference call will provide an opportnuity for researchers to update their initial research and for original papers to be delivered by new colleagues wishing to join the event.

Tickets are free and can be found here.

Location

The Guildhall, Guildhall Lane, Leicester, LE1 5FQ View Map
250 Word Abstract and Bio are required by Friday 19th July 2019 – send to mdcevent@dmu.ac.uk
Feedback and acceptance will be offered by the following Friday 26th July 20199.

 

 

Part One – CFP – The Global Promotion and Mediation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

mdcevent@dmu.ac.uk

On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development came into force. The UN describes its Sustainable Development Goals as ‘a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future’. Consisting of 17 inter-connected fields of activity, the UNSDGs are framed as a moral intervention, and couched in the language of development. It is this perspective – an apparently progressive commitment to justice combined with adherence to the expansion of the economy – that has encountered both support and some criticism from academic commentators. While Kopnina believed that the UNSDGs will lead to ‘a greater spread of unsustainable production and consumption’ (2015), the sheer scale of the UN’s ambitions prompted Biermann et al (2017) to note that ‘[the Goals] collective success will depend on a number of institutional factors such as the extent to which states … translate the global ambitions into national contexts’.

The SDGs address a number of ‘stakeholders’- ranging from multinationals to Governments; NGO’s and of course are regarded as objectives that should apply to all citizens of the world. Over the next fifteen years, the UN intends to mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’.

Three years into this programme, the conference examines the progress made in the fight to end poverty, to promote health, to develop sustainable smart cities, to prevent further climate change, to facilitate economic growth, to protect the oceans, and to end world hunger.

Conference themes include:

how the objectives above are communicated or promoted within ‘developed’ and especially ‘developing’ nations

the extent to which these goals being encouraged, measured, enacted or resisted

the local, autonomous, grassroots initiatives that may embrace or go beyond the framework set by the UN

the social, political, cultural and economic barriers to the successful attainment of the UNSDGs

the application of discourse/multi-modal approaches to the textual material produced within a material/symbolic environment

the representation of those groups identified as vulnerable and in need of support

the ways in which the rights of women, notions of gendered identity, descriptions of class location, and ideas about race/ethnicity are articulated (or not) within the UNSDGs

the use by state and corporate authority of discourses that attempt to reproduce the symbolic references employed by the UN

who, within the various DAC territories and within ‘developed’ nations, are presented as the main proponents, actors, or opponents of the UNSDGs

the relationship between the UNSDGs and the concept and practice of globalisation

the role of policing, surveillance, regimes of border-control, and other barriers and impediments to collective social action

the relationship between the Goals and the activity of social movements

how ‘existential’ and other threats are constituted through the language and images used in the SDGs

the media ecology/context of the call and the responses it creates

case studies covering the successes or failures of the initiatives

For those submitting papers please note …

250 Word Abstract and Bio are required by Friday 15th March 2019 – send to mdcevent@dmu.ac.uk
Feedback and acceptance will be offered by the following Monday, 18th March 2019.
Original research generated from this phase of the conference will be considered for the second edition of the International Journal for Media Discourse (Link: http://www.ijmd.org.uk).

Part Two – CFP – The Global Promotion and Mediation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals


On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development came into force. The UN describes its Sustainable Development Goals as ‘a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future’. Consisting of 17 inter-connected fields of activity, the UNSDGs are framed as a moral intervention, and couched in the language of development. It is this perspective – an apparently progressive commitment to justice combined with adherence to the expansion of the economy – that has encountered both support and some criticism from academic commentators. While Kopnina believed that the UNSDGs will lead to ‘a greater spread of unsustainable production and consumption’ (2015), the sheer scale of the UN’s ambitions prompted Biermann et al (2017) to note that ‘[the Goals] collective success will depend on a number of institutional factors such as the extent to which states … translate the global ambitions into national contexts’.

The SDGs address a number of ‘stakeholders’- ranging from multinationals to Governments; NGO’s and of course are regarded as objectives that should apply to all citizens of the world. Over the next fifteen years, the UN intends to mobilise efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’. Three years into this programme, the conference examines the progress made in the fight to end poverty, to promote health, to develop sustainable smart cities, to prevent further climate change, to facilitate economic growth, to protect the oceans, and to end world hunger.

Conference themes include:

how the objectives above are communicated or promoted within ‘developed’ and especially ‘developing’ nations

the extent to which these goals being encouraged, measured, enacted or resisted

the local, autonomous, grassroots initiatives that may embrace or go beyond the framework set by the UN

the social, political, cultural and economic barriers to the successful attainment of the UNSDGs

the application of discourse/multi-modal approaches to the textual material produced within a material/symbolic environment

the representation of those groups identified as vulnerable and in need of support

the ways in which the rights of women, notions of gendered identity, descriptions of class location, and ideas about race/ethnicity are articulated (or not) within the UNSDGs

the use by state and corporate authority of discourses that attempt to reproduce the symbolic references employed by the UN

who, within the various DAC territories and within ‘developed’ nations, are presented as the main proponents, actors, or opponents of the UNSDGs

the relationship between the UNSDGs and the concept and practice of globalisation

the role of policing, surveillance, regimes of border-control, and other barriers and impediments to collective social action

the relationship between the Goals and the activity of social movements

how ‘existential’ and other threats are constituted through the language and images used in the SDGs

the media ecology/context of the call and the responses it creates

case studies covering the successes or failures of the initiatives

250 Word Abstract and Bio are required by 1st May 2019 – send to mdcevent@dmu.ac.uk: authors will be notified by the 15th May, and successful contributors will be asked to submit full papers by 30th August. Original research generated from this phase of the conference will be considered for the second edition of the International Journal for Media Discourse (Link: http://www.ijmd.org.uk).

 

Surveillance, Social Media, & Identity — 24th – 25th October 2018

SUBMIT: 250-word abstract to mdcevent@dmu.ac.uk by 30th August 2018 with name/title/affiliation

FULL PAPERS: 6,000-8,000 words to mdcevent@dmu.ac.uk by 8th October 2018

+++ MEDIA DISCOURSE CENTRE +++

http://www.dmu.ac.uk/research/research-faculties-and-institutes/technology/media-discourse/media-discourse-centre.aspx

De Montfort University, Clephan Building, Bonners Lane, Leicester

Journal Launch: IJMD, 2019, International Journal of Media Discourse

(Editors: Sanz Sabido, CCCU; Harbisher, DMU; Price, DMU)

Queries re. Journal, write to: journal@ijmd.org.uk

Attitudes to the growth and use of Social Media have evolved, from broadly positive conceptions of their role as instruments/sites of democratic exchange, to less favourable assessments that identify their part in the reproduction of an inequitable and fractious social order. In recent years, greater emphasis has been placed on the Faustian bargain that the ‘consumer-citizen’ (Needham, 2003; Clarke and Newman, 2007) has been forced to strike with the ‘platform capitalists’ (Srnicek, 2016) who control access to this domain of sociability, and more attention has been devoted to the role of the state in monitoring online behaviour (Trottier, 2015). This observation should not suggest that ‘new’ media forms are solely responsible for the destruction of privacy, the repression of dissent, or the enlargement of individual egos, because technological developments throughout history can be subjected to the same kind of critical analysis.

One of the key questions is, therefore, the particular role of social media in both facilitating and regulating expressions of human agency, as people attempt to build networks of like-minded individuals, establish forms of intimacy, and intervene in political controversies. The promotion of the ‘self’ as a cultured, capable, autonomous and yet connected being, requires the careful maintenance of online profiles and the constant revision of ‘status’. In addition, those driven by the goal of professional attainment try to draw attention to their ‘marketable’ skills and abilities. Yet, if the price of entry to this new sphere of influence is self-exposure, then these selves are composed of elements that are, in part, specifically chosen in anticipation of the scrutiny that they will receive (not only from the ‘weak ties’ established between fair-weather Facebook friends, but from intelligence agencies and corporate power).

This conference examines the ways in which mediated identity is constructed and monitored, which can encompass the circulation of communal identity, the reproduction of gendered personas, and the role of state and corporate formations in the segmentation of individuals through their political allegiance and ‘lifestyle’ choices. It also engages with recent revelations that describe the attempted manipulation of opinion and electoral preferences, and the rise of forms of surveillance designed to pre-empt the supposed ‘radicalisation’ of disaffected groups (see below for suggested content and confirmed speakers).

Papers may include, but need not be confined, to the following:

Workplace surveillance and forms of resistance

Corporate surveillance of the consumer-citizen

Self-promotion in the digital ‘marketplace’

Histories of surveillance

Counter-surveillance and political consciousness

Protest events and policing

‘Securitisation’ and public insecurity

The contested identity of the ‘refugee’

Feminist identities and politics

Collective identities and ‘cultural’ resistance

Online rumour and state intervention

Confirmed speakers from the Media Discourse Centre (panel keynotes in italics)

Electronic Music Collectives (Zoe Armour)

‘Breaking’ Cambridge Analytica (Alice Gibbs)

Surveillance and political identity (Ben Harbisher)

Greece & Cyprus: Political Agency, Identity and Gender (Nayia Kamenou)

Online Feminist Identities (Claire Sedgwick)

Iraq: Gender and Online Identity (Ahmed Bahiya)

UK: Child sexual abuse, surveillance, control (Jason Lee)

Brazil: Collective identity and resistance (Fernanda Amaral)

China: Misinformation and mistrust: rumours on Chinese social media (Yu Sui)

Italy: Autonomy, Surveillance and Power (Marco Checci)

Sociopolitical digital heritage in Israel-Palestine (Gil Pasternak)

Spain: Leftism, Nationalism and Identity (Stuart Price)

Identity, Class and Intergenerational Change (Gurvinder Aujla-Sidhu)

UK R10 Studio: Surveillance, Re-approprIAtedPost War Technologies and Evotronics

(Paul Mazzitelli)