CfP: Capitalism, Culture and Media (University of Leeds)

School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds:
“Capitalism, Culture and Media”
7-8 September 2015 – University of Leeds
Deadline: 2 February 2015

Keynote and plenary speakers include:
Alison Hearn (University of Western Ontario), Bev Skeggs (Goldsmiths), David Hesmondhalgh (University of Leeds), Des Freedman (Goldsmiths), Jeremy Gilbert (University of East London), Richard Sennett (NYU/LSE – subject to teaching commitments)

The conference is organised by the School of Media and Communication, University of Leeds, in conjunction with the following:

  • The ECREA (European Communication Research and Education Association) Media Industries and Cultural Production Working Group
  • The IAMCR (International Association for Media and Communication Research)
  • The SCMS (Society for Cinema and Media Studies) Media Industries Scholarly Interest Group
  • The Carsey-Wolf Center at University of California Santa Barbara

For many decades, capitalism was a concept largely ignored in the social sciences and humanities. Things have changed since the continuing global financial crisis began. Capitalism is now taken seriously not only by Marxists,but also by non-Marxian feminists, social democrats and conservatives. Yetresearch on how we might understand relations between capitalism, media and culture has remained relatively limited. The rise of approaches to capitalism that emphasise the need to understand it in broad terms, including butnot confined to the economic, potentially provide an inspiring basis to reinvigorate analysis of capitalism/media/culture relations. So too does the interest of cultural studies and other researchers in the nature of relations between culture and economy.

This conference brings together international scholars and activists from arange of disciplines and perspectives, to share research and ideas about the relations between capitalism, media and culture. It aims to combine contemporary and historical perspectives, and to bring theoretical, empirical and action research into dialogue. It will provide a forum for the conceptual and empirical analysis of relations between capitalism, media and culture, regardless of the tradition and perspective in which analysis is grounded(Marxian or otherwise) and regardless of the disciplinary background of the analyst.

Topics and approaches on which we would welcome proposals for papers and panels include the following but are not confined to them, and are in no particular order:

  • Phases, varieties and modes of capitalism and their relevance tomedia and culture
  • Intersections between capitalism and key dynamics of social identity and power: for example gender, sexuality, ethnicity and class
  • How might cultural production research throw light on capitalistmedia and vice versa?
  • Anti-capitalist movements and the media
  • Media labour, exploitation and class
  • Alienation and media labour
  • Power, inequality and capitalism
  • The problem of commodification
  • Capitalism and subjectivity
  • Alternatives to capitalist systems of cultural production
  • Gift, commodity and capitalism
  • Moral economies of media and culture
  • Political economy of media and culture =96 its contributions andlimitations
  • Cultural economy, and relations between culture and economy under capitalism
  • The profit motive and the media
  • Cultural capitalism, cool capitalism, cognitive capitalism, digital capitalism etc
  • Intellectual property as an aspect of contemporary capitalism
  • Markets, their benefits and limitations =96 and their relation or otherwise to capitalism
  • Capitalism, the internet, social media
  • The concept of =93creative industries=94 and the knowledge economy
  • Any individual media industry (music, film, journalism, television) in relation to capitalism
  • Theories and theorists of capitalism and their relations to culture and media: Anderson, Badiou, Boltanski, Bourdieu, Castells, Chiapello, Fraser, Garnham, Gibson-Graham, Habermas, Hall, Harvey, Hirschman, Marx, Piketty, Ranciere, Rubin, Sen, Weber, Williams, Zizek

Leeds is the third biggest city in England, the main city of Yorkshire, anda major cultural and business hub. Immediately to its north are hundreds of miles of beautiful countryside, including the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. It is extremely well served by transport links. It has an international airport with five daily flights from Amsterdam. It is 200 miles/320 kilometres north of London, just over two hours by train. Manchester Airport, the major airport of the north of England, is an hour away by train. The University of Leeds campus is superbly located in the centre of this historical city, a short walk away from numerous hotels.

Please send panel proposals or abstracts to Liz Pollard at by 2 February 2015 as an email attachment in Word. Abstracts shouldbe 250 words maximum and should explain the connection to the conference theme. Panel proposals should provide an outline of the panel idea and its relations to the conference theme (200 words max), and provide abstracts of the 3-4 speakers (250 words maximum per abstract), and the name of a personwho will chair the panel.
Conference fee: 150 pounds/180 euros (80 pounds/96 euros for students), includes lunch and refreshments for the duration of the conference. Researchers from countries where it is difficult to fund research travel should consult the conference organisers.

Local organising committee: David Hesmondhalgh, Giles Moss, Anna Zoellner, Jason Cabanes, Leslie Meier, Lee Edwards, Kate Oakley, David Lee, Andreas Rauh Ortega, Jennifer Carlberg, Luca Antoniazzi, Ellis Jones, Jeremy Vachet

Advisory committee: Janet Wasko (University of Oregon, IAMCR), Rodrigo Gomez Garcia (Metropolitan Autonomous University, Mexico City, IAMCR), Kevin Sanson (Carsey-Wolf Center, University of California Santa Barbara), Michael Curtin (Carsey-Wolf Center, University of California Santa Barbara), Paul McDonald (University of Nottingham/SCMS Scholarly Interest Group), Alisa Perren (University of Texas/SCMS Scholarly Interest Group), Hanne Bruun (University of Aarhus/ECREA Working Group), David Fernandez Quijada (European Broadcasting Union/ECREA Working Group).

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