Cfp: the values of critique and social relevance in research on communication and culture

Alon Lischinsky alischinsky at
Tue May 28 07:52:25 UTC 2013

(with apologies for cross-posting)

Call for papers
Comunicazioni sociali, I/2014
Editors: Maria Francesca Murru, Nico Carpentier

The responsibility of knowledge
The values of critique and social relevance in research on
communication and culture

Ā«The essence of the task is not closure, but opening; not the
selection of human possibilities worth pursuing, but preventing them
from being foreclosed, forfeited or simply lost from view. The calling
of sociology is nowadays to enlarge and to keep the width of that part
of the human world which is subject to incessant discursive scrutiny
and so keep it saved from ossification into the "no-choice" conditionĀ»
(Bauman, 2001, p. 13).

Since its beginnings, research on media and communication has claimed
a strong empirical and practical orientation. In 1941 an article
authored by Lazarsfeld drew for the first time clear boundaries
between critical and administrative research, specifying that the
commitment to theoretical generalization and normativity was essential
for the former but irrelevant for the latter.

Even if within the boundaries of that opposition, Lazarsfeld didn't
stop in the following years to specify that the choice of privileging
empirical specificities wasn't the result of subordination to
commercial interest; rather, it was an answer to the need of
contributing to social organisation, preferring a neutral assessment
of social facts to any aprioristic judgments.

This special issue of Comunicazioni Sociali intends to open the debate
on how the values of critiques and social relevance, are currently
translated in the contemporary research of communication and culture.
We invite both theoretical contributions and reviews aimed at mapping
those research projects or activities where the principles of critique
and social relevance are concretely deployed in the ratio and the
praxis of research. Contributions in the broad field of communication
and culture are welcomed.

Addressed topics can include (but are not limited to):

* Definition of a critical approach to research on communication and
culture, its foundations and possible applications. What does it mean
to develop a critical approach to communication and culture? In which
strands of research is this perspective is not only claimed but also
fully applied in specific empirical choices?
* Case studies showing the importance of a critical approach in
studying contemporary (media) cultures.
* Identification of parameters of social relevance in research on
communication and culture, starting either from a theoretical
reflection or empirical inquiry. An interesting topic could address
the dialectic between parameters of social relevance produced
internally by academic community and those conventions or negotiations
which establish their legitimacy from the point of view of
* Conditions, potentialities or obstacles to the dialogic exchanges
between academic community and stakeholders. In which occasions the
reflexivity produced by research is able to increase the symbolic
awareness of involved subjects?
* Theory and praxis of action-research in studying communication and
culture. The focus will be on those cases in which action and
reflection, theory and practice are combined in a virtuous circle with
the aim of solving problems or promoting the wellbeing and dynamism of
specific life contexts.

Submission of proposals

Deadline for abstract submission: June 23, 2013
Abstract:  250 words maximum (references not included)
On the basis of these short abstracts, invitations to submit full
papers will then be sent out at the beginning of July.

Full papers will be due by October 10, 2013, and will undergo a
double-blind peer review procedure. Papers: length between 4000 and
5000 words maximum (references included)

Papers in English, French and Italian are accepted.

Submissions should be sent to Maria Francesca Murru: maria.murru at

About Comunicazioni sociali

Founded in 1973, Comunicazioni sociali is a journal that features both
monographic and miscellaneous issues, dealing with critical questions
pertaining to studies of the performing arts, film, radio, television,
journalism, advertising and new media. Founded on an interdisciplinary
approach, the journal has since its inception promoted rigorous
debates on media content, representation and consumption in terms of
theory, history and critical analysis. The journal has enhanced
exchanges with academic institutions, research centres, European
networks and prominent scholars, by hosting both theoretical
elaborations as well as empirical findings. Since 2009, the journal
has adopted the double-blind peer review system and enhanced the
international profile of its editorial board, including scholars from
European and extra-European countries.
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