Rethinking Power in Communicative Capitalism. Critical Perspectives on Media, Culture and Society

Rethinking Power in Communicative Capitalism. Critical Perspectives on
Media, Culture and Society
European Sociological Association Research Network 18: Sociology of
Communications and Media Research RN18 Mid-Term Conference
Venue: ISCTE – Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
September 8-10, 2016

Keynote Speakers:
Jodi Dean (Hobart and William Smith Colleges, NY, USA): Communicative
capitalism and class struggle
Christian Fuchs (University of Westminster, UK): Karl Marx and
communicative capitalism

Abstract submission deadline: May, 15, 2016
Notification of selected abstracts: June, 10, 2016
Conference dates: September 8-10, 2016

Please send your 250-400 words abstract to Romina Surugiu (University of
Bucharest), Roy Panagiotopoulou (University of
Athens), and Marisol Sandoval (City University

The proliferation of digital media in the 21st century has once again
shown the deeply ambivalent and contradictory potentials of
technological development.
Digital technologies have been celebrated for enabling new levels of
democratic communication, participatory media production, community
building and media activism. From Wikipedia, to open source programming,
open access publishing, and peer-to-peer file sharing, we have witnessed
the rise of a range of alternative forms of communication and media
production that seemed to challenge established media business models
and momentarily contested corporate power.
However, far from decreasing the dominance of corporate media, the
expansion of digital culture, the Internet and social media further
strengthened the power of multinational corporations over media culture
and human communication. Despite the rhetoric of ‘social’ media,
sharing, community and collaboration, the majority of the digital media
sphere remains privately owned and controlled. In this corporate media
system, multinational corporations maintain almost exclusive control
over large parts of the media and communication technology,
infrastructure and content.
Power in communicative capitalism is uneven and corporate control
confronts us with a range of problems such as the systematic
surveillance of Internet users, an increasingly commercialised online
environment, devastating environmental impacts of the production and
usage of media technologies and the global exploitation of digital
labour. (Digital) media technologies are deeply entangled with the
on-going economic, social, environmental and political crises.
Mobilising the empowering qualities of digital technologies and their
potential to contribute to progressive social change requires an
effective critique of corporate dominance, challenging power
inequalities and strengthening radical alternatives.
This conference invites contributions that offer a critical analysis of
corporate media culture and alternatives to it and thus contribute to
rethinking power in communicative capitalism.

Conference fees
80 Euro for ESA RN18 members / 100 Euros for non ESA RN18 members
(conference dinner included)
60 Euro for ESA RN18 members / 80 Euros for non ESA RN18 members
(without conference dinner)
25 Euro for students (Bachelor and Master) (without conference dinner) /
45 Euros (conference dinner included)

The registration details, including the registration form, will be
available on the DINÂMIA’CET-IUL website
( on June 1, 2016.
You can become a member of ESA RN18 by joining the ESA and subscribing
to the network. The network needs material support, so we encourage you
to join or renew your membership. The network subscription fee is only
10 Euros:

Participation support for 4 PhD students and/or independent researchers
will be available. This will not cover all costs, but part of them
(accommodation and full conference fee). Preference will be given to
presentations that suit the overall conference topic.
If you want to apply for participation support, please indicate this in
your abstract submission by adding the sentence “I want to apply for
participation support for PhD students / independent researchers”. The
notifications about participation support will be sent out together with
the notifications of acceptance or rejection of presentations.
Additional information to prove your condition as PhD student or
independent researcher will be requested.