Discourses of Disorder: Representations of Riots, Strikes and Protests
Newcastle University, 15-16 October 2015
Organisers: Darren Kelsey and Christopher Hart
Instances of civil disorder in the form of riots, strikes and protests have become increasingly frequent in response to economic decline and other structural conditions, in the UK, Europe and globally. Far from political apathy, these activities suggest increased levels of public concern and civic engagement. We see such forms of engagement, as well as media coverage and government responses, as part of a political process which contains a significant discursive dimension.
Discourse plays a fundamental part in defining agendas, voicing objections, framing debates, legitimating or delegitimating actions, and in formulating policies. We therefore understand the discursive practices of social movements, the media and policy-makers, as political practices. Understanding the complexities of this political process and the discursive dimensions involved requires a multidisciplinary approach addressing issues of language, image, journalism, media, power and political economy. In so far as media and discourse research each provide insights into our understanding of social, historical, political and economic contexts and conflicts, the symposium will be of interest for scholars concerned more broadly with semiotics and social practice.
From a multidisciplinary perspective, this two-day symposium seeks to explore the discourses of social movements, the media and policy makers, the relations between them, and the role they play in the political process. Papers presenting perspectives from Social Movement Studies, Media and Journalism Studies, as well as Critical (Multimodal) Discourse Studies are particularly welcome. We are interested in papers which explore, within international social and political settings, the discursive dimensions of disorder representing or responding to a range of causes/contexts which might include but are not limited to:
• Industrial disputes and trade unions
• Environmental activism
• Ethnic and race relations
• Austerity discourse and protests
• Capitalist conditions and conflicts
• “Populist” protest movements
• International protest movements
• Digital activism and power
• Surveillance, control and protests
• Policing and law & order
Whilst we are currently witnessing renewed levels of civil disorder, this is by no means a recent phenomenon. We are therefore interested in historical as well as contemporary instances of civil disorder and, further, in the intertextual relations between discourses of disorder past and present.
We are pleased to confirm the participation of two guest speakers:
• Tracey Jensen (University of East London)
• Nicholas Jones (author and journalist)
Papers of 20 minutes should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org before 31st May 2015. All papers will be presented in plenary format with equal time for discussion. Only a limited number of presentations can therefore be accepted. However, non-presenters are welcome to attend. Some sessions will be designed for roundtable discussion and open debate, so participation will be inclusive to all delegates.
It is intended that a selection of papers presented will form the basis of a collected volume to be submitted to a major international publisher.