Imagination, Images and Public Engagement: When Impending Death Stands in For Death in the News

Barbie Zelizer: University of Pennsylvania

This paper will discuss the current permutations in visual coverage of the news by tracking the importation of a particular visual trope -- that of people about to die -- into the news coverage of contested and complicated events involving death.

Using the coverage of the so-called "war on terror," the paper will argue that such images depend on the public imagination to complete what the news does not show and in so doing push a certain kind of public engagement that does little to fuel public understanding of the news.

 

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Communication Research in An Era of Recession: Reflections from China

Jack Linchuan Qiu: The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Are we prepared, theoretically and methodologically, to study communication in an era of global economic recession? The answer is no. Why is this the case? One crucial reason, as I shall contend, is because communication scholars in the past two decades have paid insufficient attention to social class, defined not only in the classic Marxian sense but also with new characteristics of the global network society.

We have invested too much in communication research in an era of prosperity. Its limitations have been exposed by the economic crisis, whose long-term effect on communication studies has only begun to be seen. We need communication research in an era of recession, which arguably shall be a hallmark of communication studies in the twenty-first century.

Drawing on recent trends in China's media industry, communication discipline, and grassroots cultural patterns, I shall discuss the key conceptual and empirical issues for the development of "communication research in an era of recession" under the theoretical framework of working-class network society. These shall include such crucial factors as information and communication technologies (ICTs), material and immaterial labour, citizen journalism, commercialization, and globalization. Besides the uniqueness of China, more emphasis shall be put on the universality of the Chinese experience, its generalizable lessons and global implications.

 

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IMC – New Horizon or False Dawn for a Marketplace in Turmoil?

Philip J. Kitchen, PhD: Research Centre for Marketing, Communications, and International Strategy (CMCIS)

Is IMC a new horizon or simply another false dawn for marketing communications that has failed to live up to its promises?  This issue becomes critical in a marketplace in economic turmoil.  The paper offers a totally new view and agenda for IMC going forward to match the new economic realities faced by marketing organizations.  IMC application is inexorably driven by marketplace, consumer and technology changes enhanced by increasing globalization and a shift of marketplace power to the consumer, all heavily influenced by the current economic conditions.

 

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Journalism in the age of dissolutions

Brian McNair, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

This lecture will consider the present state and possible futures of journalism in a period characterised by the dissolution of temporal, spatial, technological and professional boundaries which have structured and shaped it for centuries. As the globalised public sphere develops and expands in unpredictable directions, journalism is in the midst of a global crisis. Journalists, and the great carrier media of the twentieth century, print and broadcasting, are challenged by new online media, fundamental change in patterns of consumption and production, and the collapse of established business models. News and journalism-based cultural forms proliferate, but many journalists feel themselves part of an endangered species. Brian McNair will present an assessment of what in traditional journalism is likely to survive this period of transition, what will decline or disappear, and the implications of these outcomes for the globalised public sphere of the twenty first century.

 

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Voice: Culture and Politics beyond the Horizon of Neoliberalism

 

Nick Couldry: Goldsmiths, University of London

 

My talk will start out from the way neoliberal discourse's absolute prioritization of market functioning over and above other political and social values generates a crisis of voice in what we might call neoliberal democracies, a crisis that operates along many dimensions: in the economic sphere, in politics, and in culture. After outlining aspects of that multiple crisis, I will explore what values are available from which a counter-rationality (in Wendy Brown's term) to neoliberal discourse can be developed.; in this, I will draw on various sources from Amartya Sen's criticism of the assumptions of neoliberal economics to Axel Honneth's theory of recognition. While drawing particularly on the dilemmas faced within the UK's governance culture, I will reflect also on their relevance for other countries which have adopted neoliberal discourse to a significant degree. I will end by reflecting on the implications of my argument for current priorities for media and cultural studies research.

Nick Couldry is Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author or editor of seven books including most recently Media Consumption and Public Engagement: Beyond the Presumption of Attention (Palgrave 2007, new edition out early 2010, co-authors Sonia Livingstone and Tim Markham) and Listening Beyond the Echoes: Media Ethics and Agency in an Uncertain World . (Paradigm 2006).

 

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