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Wednesday, July 27 • 16:30 - 18:00
Welcome and Opening Plenary

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Professor Graham Murdock: Graham is a Professor of Culture and Economy at Loughborough University, UK. His research focuses on issues around change, power, inequality, risk and representation. Specifically, he has focused on organisational changes in the cultural and communication industries; the future of public cultural institutions; the social and cultural impact of new technologies; social and cultural changes in Asian societies; and popular representations and responses to perceived risks and threats. Graham is the author or editor of six books and over fifty articles. http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/socialsciences/staff/academicandresearch/murdock-graham.html 

Communication and Crisis:Economies, Polities, EcologiesFrom the outset, the modern western world system that emerged in the late eighteenth century rested on a series of fundamental tensions that have generated both crises and struggles. These have played themselves out across the last two and a half centuries , but have been sharpened and defined in their present forms by the intersection between the (re)turn towards the market and the digitalisation of  communication systems.We are currently living with a crisis on three fronts- economic, ecological, and political. The global embrace of market driven models of growth rests on levels of consumption and disposability that are propelling climate instability beyond the boundaries of sustainability while generating rapidly widening social inequalities of condition and opportunity. Political systems , confronting these challenges , find themselves attempting and failing to manage tensions between parties and movements. Communication systems are central to the analysis of the present crisis not only because they constitute the major imaginative and discursive spaces in which competing accounts of the past and alternative visions of the present and future struggle for ascendency, but because they provide the core infrastructural supports for organising economic and social relations at every level, from governments and corporations to the intimacies of everyday life.This paper traces the origins of the present crisis and explores the challenges it presents for the analysis of communications 

Dr. Shakuntala Banaji, is a lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. She participated in several large cross-European projects on young people, new technologies, schooling and democratic participation between 2006 and 2014. She is currently UK project director of a multi-country Horizon 2020 project, CATCH-EyoU, on active youth citizenship in Europe (2015-2018), and Principle Investigator for a collaborative project with American University Sharjah on participatory culture, the internet and creative production in the Middle East (2015-2017). Shakuntala is the author of five books, and has published widely on gender and politics in relation to South Asian media, Hindi cinema, audiences, creativity, news reception and online civic participation. http://www.lse.ac.uk/media@lse/WhosWho/AcademicStaff/ShakuntalaBanaji.aspx

Media, communication, and the “touristic gaze”: beyond universalised localism 
Research about migrants, Islam, sexuality, anti-racism or feminism online suggests that the backlash against perceived political correctness has swept across platforms, across media, and gained new technically knowing audiences. While mundane or pleasurable engagement, creativity and social justice activism continues in mediated spaces, racist, sexist and homophobic tendencies outnumber their counterparts. The semiotics of (global south) totalitarianism and of Western orientalist neoliberalism make excellent bedfellows. Lack of fair media regulation and, ironically, mechanical insistence on ‘free speech,’ have allowed far right narratives to establish legitimacy. In some cases, audience empowerment even looks and feels a lot like fascism. Meanwhile everything seems to have been theorised already – usually by the 1970s! In this messy context where old injustices are layered over by new ones, and as different media bleed into each other, where and how should those of us who research in and about media and communications, audiences and politics the global south situate ourselves and our work? Which concepts and theories offer us the greatest leverage and inspiration? 

Wednesday July 27, 2016 16:30 - 18:00 BST
De Montfort Hall Granville Rd, Leicester LE1 7RU