Graham Murdock

Professor of Culture and Economy, Department of Social Sciences, Loughborough University; Visiting Fellow, Department of Media and Communication, Goldsmiths, University of London

Mediatization and the Transformation of Capitalism: Economy, Ecology, Crisis

In ‘Communications and the Constitution of Modernity’ , published in 1993, I argued that social theorists interested in the dynamics of change needed to pay more detailed attention to the central role of modern communications system as : a pivotal infrastructural supports for complex systems, the primary arena for the production of public culture, and an increasingly powerful intervention in the organisation of everyday life and relations. The rise of digital media has intensified all three of those processes and prompted a renewed  outpouring of speculation and theorizing, in which models of mediatization have moved steadily to the centre of debate.

Responding to calls for analysis that explores the relations between mediatization and other metaprocesses of modernity, the present paper asks whether work on mediatization can contribute anything distinctive and substantial to an analysis of a contemporary modernity dominated by the transformation of the capitalist world system and interlocking crises of economy, ecology, and politics.

Short bio

Graham Murdock is Professor of Culture and Economy at the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough University and Visiting Fellow Department of Media and Communication, Goldsmiths University of London. His work on the changing organisation and impact of contemporary communication systems ranges from studies of institutional structures to research on cultural forms and everyday practices but he is particularly well known for his work in the critical political economy of culture and communications , an area where he has played a leading role in developing contemporary perspectives.

His recent and current research focuses on the future of public culture in the digital age. He has held the Bonnier Chair at the University of Stockholm and the Teaching Chair at the Free University of Brussels and been a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Auckland, California at San Diego, Mexico City, |Curtin Western Australia,  and Bergen. His work is available in 20 languages. His recent books include; as co-editor, Digital Dynamics : Engagements and Disconnections (Hampton 2010), The Idea of the Public Sphere (Lexington 2010) , The Blackwell Handbook of Political Economy of Communication (2011), Money Talks: Media, Markets, Crisis (2015), New Media and Metropolitan Life: Connecting, Consuming, Creating (2015) (in Chinese).

Professor Gianpietro Mazzoleni

Department of Social and Political Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy.

Is “mediatization” a process underlying changes in the contemporary communication ecosystems?

 The concept of ‘mediatization’ is enjoying a growing popularity in scholarly research because it provides an insight of the influence of the media logics in society.  This is why it has been applied to several social, cultural and political phenomena.  However, its original meaning has undergone some substantial changes that deserve some discussion.

The paper provides a concise overview of the its applications in the academia and probes into its real usefulness for mass and new media communication research.

Short bio

Gianpietro Mazzoleni is Professor of Sociology of Communication in the Department of Social and Political Sciences at the Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy.

He is internationally known for his work on the impact of media on the political systems and on the communication patterns of political institutions and actors. He served as chair of the Political Communication Division in the ICA-International Communication Association (2004-2006).  He was co-founder and editor of the Italian Journal of Political Communication (Comunicazione Politica) 2000-2013, and member of the editorial board of leading journals in the field (Political Communication, European Journal of Communication, International Journal of Press/Politics and others).  He is co-author of The Media and Neo-populist Movements in a Comparative Perspective (Praeger, 2003),  The Politics of Representation: Election Campaigning and Proportional Representation (Peter Lang, 2004), The Media in Europe (Sage, 2004), Political Pop (Mulino, 2009); author of the best-selling handbook La comunicazione politica (3rd edition, Mulino, 2012), published also in Spanish and Hungarian; and co-editor of Journalists and Media Accountability: An International Study of News People in the Digital Age (Peter Lang, 2014).  His most recent publication, as editor-in-chief, is The International Encyclopedia of Political Communication (Wiley, 2016).

Professor Robin Mansell

Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science,

Inequality, Mediated Communication and Social Inequality: A Critical Perspective

Enthusiasm for the digital era is frequently associated with the potential for disintermediation and non-hierarchical organisational forms, facilitated by the flat architecture of the Internet. This architecture is then associated with enhanced access to information, improved knowledge sharing, and opportunities to foster equitable communicative relationships.  Mediated communication, at least in contexts involving the Internet, sometimes is associated with the reduction of inequality – whether this is linked to material or immaterial resources.  This paper offers a critical perspective on this association, arguing that social inequality presents itself in multiple guises even in networking environments characterized by apparent symmetries of power. This is because mediated communication operates in a complex system of relationships that are too often neglected when scholars focus on networked communication and its impacts on social inequality.

Short bio

Robin Mansell is Professor of New Media and the Internet in the Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science. She is internationally known for her work on the social, economic, and political issues arising from new information and communication technologies. She is a leading contributor to policy debates on the potential of and risks associated with the information society. She served as Head of the Media and Communications Department at LSE (2006-2009), President of the International Association for Media and Communication Research (2004-2008) and Scientific Chair of the EURO Communications Policy Research Conference (2008-2014). From September 2015 she is Deputy Director and Provost at the LSE. She is the author of numerous academic papers and books including Imagining the Internet: Communication, Innovation and Governance (OUP 2012), The International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society (co-editor, Blackwell-Wiley 2015) and The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy (co-editor, Blackwell-Wiley 2011).

Péter Bajomi-Lázár

Head of the Institute of Social Sciences, Budapest Business School, University of Applied Sciences.

Inequalities in the Media in Central and Eastern Europe

Public service media is designed to be a vehicle of ‘media equality’ in that it is to provide voice to and content for all, including niche audiences that most other channels do not cater for. The introduction of public service broadcasting, however, has been a failure story in several countries of Central/Eastern Europe. The recent histories of public service broadcasting in Hungary and in Poland show that neo-authoritarian governments tend to colonise state media and instrumentalise it in an attempt to promote particularistic interests rather than the public good. Rather than maintaining ideological pluralism, state media in these countries are used for the purpose of establishing ideological hegemony. This paper argues that the reasons for the failure of the introduction of the genuine model of public service broadcasting in these countries are twofold, including proximative reasons such as poor regulatory frameworks, and ultimative reasons such as belated industrialisation, a lower level of economic and technological development, weaker middle classes, and a conflict-based political culture, leading to incomplete journalistic professionalisation and clientelistic appointment practices.

Short bio

Péter Bajomi-Lázár is Head of the Institute of Social Sciences at the Budapest Business School University of Applied Sciences. He is the founding editor of the Hungarian media studies quarterly Médiakutató, and a member of the Euromedia Research Group. He worked between 2009 and 2013 as a senior research fellow with Media and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europea European Research Council project based at the University of Oxford. He earned a PhD in political science at the Central European University in 2004. He was granted the Hungarian Pulitzer Memorial Award in 2002 for his book on Hungary’s ‘media war’ (A magyarországi médiaháború, 2001). His latest monograph is Party Colonisation of the Media in Central and Eastern Europe (The Central European University Press, 2014.

Professor Des Freedman

Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London,

Academics and the politics of engagement

How should academics respond to the political crisis facing Europeans today? And how should communications academics respond to the crisis affecting public media across Europe? Should we remain aloof from the grassroots movements that seek to intervene in this crisis or should our research and teaching directly inform campaigns for social justice? My paper will reflect on how academics are simultaneously urged to ‘engage’ in the social world and to retain a scholarly detachment that protects their scientificity. It argues that media studies, however, should not (and probably cannot) be insulated from the critical questions of power and representation from which it emerged and suggests that academics should refuse the false binary between ‘scholarly’ and ‘political’ activity.

Short bio

Des Freedman is Professor of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. He is the author of The Contradictions of Media Power (2014) and The Politics of Media Policy and co-author (with James Curran and Natalie Fenton) of Misunderstanding the Internet (2016). He is the former chair of the Media Reform Coalition and was project lead for Lord Puttnam’s 2016 Inquiry into the Future of Public Service Television.

Professor John Downey

Director, Centre for Research in Communication and Culture, Loughborough University, UK,

In this paper John Downey will make a case for Public Communication scholarship i.e. communication scholars engaging in political and policy debate and action. He will do this through first arguing that communication research should have an explicitly normative dimension (and that intellectual resources for the development of such a dimension have been overlooked in the field) and then discussing how this translates, in some cases uncomfortably, into public engagement.

Short bio

Dr John Downey is Professor of Comparative Media Analysis and Director of the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture at Loughborough University, UK. As well as academic books and articles on comparative media and new media he has engaged in research for the BBC Board of Governors, the BBC Trust, Office of Communication (OFCOM), The Guardian newspaper, UK’s Electoral Commission and in 2015 gave evidence to a House of Commons Select Committee on the future of the BBC.