Audience Section - Call for Papers 2020

The Audience Section of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR) invites the submission of abstracts of papers and proposals for panels for the 2020 conference of the association, which will be held from 12 to 16 July, 2020 at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. The deadline to submit abstracts is 23:59 GMT on 10 February 2020.

IAMCR conferences address many diverse topics defined by our 32 thematic sections and working groups. We also propose a single central theme to be explored throughout the conference with the aim of generating and exploring multiple perspectives in plenary sessions and in some of the sessions of the sections and working groups. The general conference theme for 2020 is “Reimagining the Digital Future: Building Inclusiveness, Respect and Reciprocity”.

See the IAMCR 2020 general call for proposals.   

The Audience Section invites submissions that reflect the conference theme or the section's interest in new approaches to audience research in the context of a fast moving digital, global media environment.  The Section aims to reflect and encourage interest in understanding audiences for a range of media technologies, in diverse settings, reflecting the role of media in identity, everyday life and broader social, cultural and political engagement.

In the context of major transformations in media, we seek to encourage reflection on the changing nature of audiences, innovations in ways of studying audiences across a range of media and contexts to address the challenge of an increasingly complex convergent media environment.

Themes

The general conference theme represents an excellent opportunity for audience researchers and we encourage papers that address the theme of Reimagining the Digital Future: Building Inclusiveness, Respect and Reciprocity. The theme reflects audience research engagement with the embedding of media content in digital platforms and the role of audience practices in constituting the digital media environment. The challenges of dynamic and hybrid media contexts for inclusiveness, respect and reciprocity are key challenges for practical engagement in digital media as audiences and users. We also, reflecting the hosting of the conference in Beijing, welcome research that challenges the Western traditions of audience research and reflects diverse contexts of media production and reception.

In addition to the call for papers that reflect the general conference theme, we would like to invite papers and proposals for papers and panels that address the following themes, although we are also open to innovative and critical research on audiences from the full range of disciplinary and theoretical positions:

Rethinking Audience Research: Innovations in theory and method are essential if audience researchers are to keep pace with a rapidly changing media environment where audience(ing) takes multiple forms and resists easy categorization or investigation. We welcome proposals for papers that address new conceptual and practical approaches to studying audiences in the complex convergence of digital and linear media across a range of platforms and that reflect on the emerging agenda for audience studies in a radically transformed media ecology.

Configuring Audiences: academic audience research no longer ‘owns’ the concept of ‘the audience’, as, media industries, governments, regulators and NGOs are increasingly interested in audience research. We welcome papers that address the varied ways in which audiences are conceptualized, measured, and addressed by media industries, governments, NGOs and online groups and participants. How is the audience configured in these different contexts, for different reasons and using different methods?

Audiences in Context: There is a growing acknowledgement that the audience is not only to be found in front of the television in the domestic space of the living room. Studies of Fans and other dispersed audiences have encouraged an ethnographic turn in audience studies and the decentering of the contexts and practices of being an audience. We welcome submissions that ‘follow’ audiences into different contexts and engage with the ways that media are dispersed through the practices of everyday life. Complementing this is a rethinking of the spaces of media consumption, including the home, which integrates a range of media technologies in everyday practice.

Audience Experience: There are a variety of ways in which audience experience(s) are being rethought in media and communication. For example, as participants in social media, audiences contribute to the media environment through their online practices and join themselves to a variety of groups and movements. There has been a growing recognition of the importance of belonging and affect in media engagements suggesting new ways of thinking of the visceral aspects of audience engagement that afford new forms of connectivity. These shifts are both welcomed as creating inclusive spaces of engagement and also feared because of the strength of feeling associated with populism. The section welcomes presentations that engage these new ways of thinking about audience experiences.

Measuring Audiences: a variety of methods are developing to quantify audience practices in a variety of ways. Broadcasters gather data on audience responses through a variety of means that are displacing traditional audience surveys and panels. Twitter feeds provide resources for big data analysis of connected audiences and their sentiments. Submissions reflecting on new media audience research tools and applications are welcomed.

Youthful audiences: Young people’s relationship with media has been the subject of both the celebration of the potential for new forms of creative expression and anxiety with regard to the impact of powerful media on vulnerable audiences. In relation to new media forms, young people are frequently seen to be in the vanguard of new audience trends and emerging practices of consumption and engagement. We welcome papers that explore audience experience from the child’s perspective, and that examine opportunities, risks, and challenges faced by children in the current media environment.

Transnational Audiences: there is a transnational turn in media audiences for global formats and local series, signaling an increasing range of audio-visual content available to consumers, fans and publics, including translations, subtitling and fan subbing of fiction and non-fiction television and social media. Doing audience research in digital and transnational media landscapes calls for multi-faceted, pragmatic approaches to varieties of audience experiences in social and cultural contexts. We welcome papers that explore transnational audiences, including the significance of distribution contexts, geo-cultural approaches to audiences, and the significance of place and time, to researching audiences, users and publics.

Languages

This Section accepts abstract submissions and presentations in all three official languages of IAMCR - English, French and Spanish.

Submission guidelines

Abstracts should be between 300 and 500 words. All abstracts must be submitted through IAMCR’s submission platform https://beijing2020.iamcr.org/submit. Abstracts sent by email will not be accepted.

It is expected that authors will submit only one (1) abstract. However, under no circumstances should there be more than two (2) abstracts bearing the name of the same author, either individually or as part of any group of authors. Please note also that the same abstract or another version with minor variations in title or content must not be submitted to more than one section or working group. Any such submissions will be deemed to be in breach of the conference guidelines and will be rejected. Authors submitting them risk being removed entirely from the conference programme.

The deadline to submit abstracts is 23:59 GMT on 10 February 2020.

For other important dates and deadlines, please see IAMCR 2020 key dates on the conference website.

For further information, please consult the IAMCR Beijing 2020 webpage or contact the Local Organizing Committee by email: beijing2020@iamcr.org or the head of the Audience Section:

Peter Lunt
University of Leicester
pl108@le.ac.uk