CFP: Media and democracy & gender studies methodology

Two preconferences for the International Communication Association’s (ICA) 2017 conference in San Diego, US, are looking for submissions. The preconferences are entitled “Media performance and democracy – the debate continues” and “How to quantify the unquantifiable: The Methodology of Gender and Intersecting Dimensions of Identity”.

The former preconference is a continuation of last year’s on the same theme. As suggested by its title, it seeks to continue the then-initiated discussions about journalism in different democratic traditions, and the functions of different media in democratic societies. The abstract deadline for the “Media performance and democracy” preconference is January 20th 2017. Acceptees will be notified on February 15th.

The latter preconference is interested in the use of quantitative methodologies in gender and identity studies. The preconference welcomes three types of contributions: research papers, position papers, and workshop proposals. All submission types are due by December 15th 2016. Acceptees will be notified by February 20th 2017.

[spoiler title=’Full CFP for “Media Performance and Democracy”‘]



Sponsored by the Journalism Studies Division & the Political Communication Division

Time: May 25, 2017, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: Hilton San Diego Bayfront (Conference hotel)

Deadline for submissions: January 20, 2017

According to many programs and initiatives launched by supranational institutions like UNECSO and the European Commission in recent years, the definition of “quality indicators for journalism is a way to strengthen democratic functions of the media” (as it is stated in a 2010 UNESCO report on Brazilian media). Nevertheless, opinion is divided on whether there is a fixed set of principles across countries that would allow measuring and evaluating the quality of democracy and media performance in an etic way, or whether the extraordinary diversity of democratic configurations throughout the world as well as the diversity of media types call for a more culture- and media-specific, emic approach. Connected to this, scholars working on media performance are particularly concerned with the main question of the 2017 ICA Annual Conference of how research could (or should) contribute to the “good life” and how scholars could (or should) make “communication interventions” in public.

After the great success of last year’s ICA preconference on “Media Performance and Democracy”, this year’s preconference aims at intensifying the discussion by focusing on the two aforementioned challenging dimensions:

(1) Do different concepts and practices of democracy in various parts of the world or different perceptions of democracy within a society call for different conceptualizations of the role of journalism, and thus for different principles of media quality, or do we need an internationally valid framework to assess media performance in various national contexts in a comparative way?

(2) Do different types of media fulfill different functions within a democratic society, thus facing different quality demands, or are there normative claims to be made about the democratic quality of public communication across all media types?

The preconference therefore places special emphasis on

* contributions from countries around the world, particularly from countries or areas that have been insufficiently represented in international literature until now,

* studies dealing not only with mainstream “legacy” media, but also with all kinds of social and “alternative” media and their role in the overall media environment,

* concepts that focus on the relationships between the various levels quality should be measured (policy and regulatory frameworks, media system structures, newsroom investment, organizational standards, journalists’ role perceptions, content characteristics, and user preferences), and

* reflections and practical examples of why scholars should seek, or not seek, to “intervene” in public debate with their research findings in order to support good practice in journalism.

The preconference would like to bring together researchers from different backgrounds, including theoretically, methodologically, and practically oriented researchers both inside and outside academia, in order to exchange innovative ideas for the further development of research on media performance.

Abstracts of 500 words (without any identifying information) must be uploaded to (“MPD 2017”) by January 20, 2017. All submissions will undergo blind peer review and acceptance notifications will be sent out on February 15, 2017.

The preconference is open both to presenters and non-presenters, but authors of accepted abstracts are expected to attend the preconference and present their work. Registration opens on January 15, 2017 ( The participation fee (including coffee break) is $50 USD.

Contact: Josef Seethaler, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies ([email protected]); Linards Udris, University of Zurich, Research Institute for the Public Sphere and Society ([email protected])


[spoiler title=’Full CFP for “How to quantify the unquantifiable”‘]

*Call for Papers: Pre-Conference ICA 2017, San Diego*

*How to Quantify the Unquantifiable*

*The Methodology of Gender and Intersecting Dimensions of Identity*

Feminist Scholarship Division, LGBTQ Studies IG, Mass Communication Division

In the field of media and communication studies the methods we apply are informed by the theoretical paradigms of our investigations. Mass communication research on media users in long-running national surveys or media effects experiments are often tasked with reducing complex theoretical constructs to quantifiable categories. Similarly, research on representations in media applies categorical systematics to assess how gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, class, age, and other dimensions of identity are depicted across media outlets.

On the one hand, research applying standardized methods usually falls short in acknowledging the social construction and blurring boundaries of these categories. On the other hand, scholarship informed by deconstructivist theories has aimed to identify examples and patterns of media realities, but are sometimes criticized for including far-reaching conclusions without generalizable evidence.

Our keynote speaker, Prof. Dr. Susanne Kinnebrock (University of Augsburg, Germany) will open the pre-conference with an overview of how the concepts of gender and sex have historically evolved within our research traditions and how closely related our methodological approaches to these developments have been. This will set the stage to elaborate and think about ways to critically appraise gender and its intersecting dimensions within the quantitative paradigm.

Overall, the pre-conference aims to bring together scholars with different approaches to the same issues with the intention of informing as well as inspiring collaborative approaches across disciplines and paradigms. We invite innovative thinking on what methodologies are open to us, both when we ask questions concerning large populations or when we seek to quantify complex ideas. What methodological approaches can we productively employ while assessing matters of gender, sex, race, ethnicity, and class in a thoughtful manner?

In order to reach this goal we aim to

(a)highlight the newest developments in communication, media, and journalism studies by showcasing current research;

(b)include a workshop on how gender, sex, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, disability, nationality, and other dimensions of identity are discussed within different cultures and research traditions; and

(c) open the floor for roundtable discussions with reports and questions from the scientific community on best practices concerned with questions of how to assess gender, sex, sexuality, race, ethnicity, or class within mixed or standardized methods.

We invite scholars who study gender and its intersecting dimensions and who use or would like to use new methodological approaches to participate and present their findings. To facilitate the roundtables, we ask participants to submit position papers on the pre-conference’s issues, research questions, or research problems that participants would like to discuss with other scholars. Scholars with an interest in methodological triangulations, mixed methods, replications, validation studies, and intersectional research are welcome to participate.

*How to participate*

We invite three types of submissions:

1.*Research reports*that share findings of systematic research projects that use, challenge, or subvert constructions of gender and other dimensions of identity. Please submit an abstract (approx. 500 words).

2. *Position papers* that discuss methodological issues in a current project, general conceptual issues, or possible questions to contribute during our roundtables on the advancement of investigating gender and other intersecting dimensions. Please submit an abstract (approx. 500 words).

3. *Workshop proposals *that**suggest a workshop concept with activities, discussion questions, and other materials. A possible approach to the workshop can include a focus on examining specific concepts of identity dimensions in research traditions, paradigms, or historical periods of communication studies as a discipline. Other topics fitting the theme of the pre-conference are welcome (approx. 500 words + materials).

*Please email all submissions and questions to [email protected] .**Submissions are due by December 15, 2016, 11:59 EST.* Please clearly mark the submission type before the title and in your e-mail. Notifications of acceptance will be sent out by February 20, 2017.

*Pre-conference Organizers *

Sabine Reich, Institute of Journalism and Communication Research, Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Germany

Stine Eckert, Department of Communication, Wayne State University, USA

Natalia Rybas, Department of Communication Studies, Indiana University East, USA

Daniela M. Schlütz, Institute of Journalism and Communication Research, Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Germany


Department of Communication, Wayne State University, USA

Feminist Scholarship Division @ ICA

Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media, Germany


Mass Communication Division @ ICA


Sabine Reich | Post-Doctoral Researcher | | Institute of Journalism and Communication Research |Hanover University of Music, Drama and Media | +49 511 3100480


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