Call for papers: Applying the Capabilities Approach to Media and Communications


Applying the Capabilities Approach to Media and Communications

May 24, 2018
Venue: Main Conference Hotel
Abstract Deadline: December 15, 2017

Recent years have seen a growing interest in the concept of justice in media and communication studies. In the more general literature on social justice, an important contribution has come from the capabilities approach developed by Indian economist Amartya Sen and US philosopher Martha Nussbaum. The theory challenges utilitarian narratives and liberal notions of redistributive justice and has become the cornerstone of the United Nations’ Human Development Index. Despite its potentially great relevance for media industries and production studies, information and communication for development, telecommunications and media policy, and digital media research, there has been limited use of the capabilities approach across the media, communication and cultural studies field.

By bringing together for the first time scholars engaged in applying the capabilities approach to media and communications, this ICA preconference advances an agenda to create a new interdisciplinary focus in the field. It aims to build conceptual bridges across emerging frameworks for studying communicative capabilities, media practice, and digital literacies and to engage with normative debates about media justice, creative justice, and data justice. The preconference directly engages with the central theme of the ICA Annual Conference on “Voices” by inviting reflection on the ways we can address inequalities and enhance communicative opportunities for media workers and users in a global context.

The preconference will open with a keynote address by Nick Couldry (London School of Economics) and feature panels from invited speakers applying the capabilities approach to policy debates, development interventions, and normative media theories. We also invite paper submissions from scholars interested in this topic and we will accept a small number of papers from this open call.


Nick Couldry (LSE)
Heather Ford (University of Leeds)
David Hesmondhalgh (University of Leeds)
Tom Jacobson (Temple University)
Krishna Jayakar (Penn State)
Kari Karppinen (University of Helsinki)
Dorothea Klein (Sheffield University)
Robin Mansell (LSE)
Giles Moss (University of Leeds)
Jonathan Corpus Ong (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Amit Schejter (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev / Penn State)
Noam Tirosh (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
Thomas Tufte (University of Leicester)

Abstract of up to 500 words and a short bio of the author(s) should be sent to Prof Amit Schejter (<>) by December 15, 2017.

Please write IIPCAP: YOURNAME in the subject line of the email.

Abstracts and bios should be sent as Word attachments, each in a separate document, one saved as YOURNAME:Abstract and the other as YOURNAME:Bio.

Abstracts not sent according to the above instructions and not accompanied by a short bio will not be reviewed.

Authors will be notified of their acceptance before January 12, 2018. A small number of abstracts will be accepted to the workshop and full papers are expected by May 1, 2018.

Authors presenting at the pre-conference will be invited to submit their completed papers for review in a special issue of the Journal of Information Policy (<>) to be published in 2018.

The preconference will take place at the ICA venue on Thursday, May 24, 9AM-5PM. With financial support from the Institute for Information Policy at Penn State, cost per participant will be $50 (including two coffee breaks and lunch).

Pre-conference organizers:

David Hesmondhalgh, University of Leeds
Heather Ford, University of Leeds
Robin Mansell, London School of Economics
Jonathan Corpus Ong, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amit Schejter, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Penn State

Sponsor: The pre-conference is sponsored by the Institute for Information Policy at Penn State University.

Categories: Conferences

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