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Infrastructures and Inequalities: Media industries, digital cultures and politics

  • 21.10.2019
  • 22.10.2019
  • Helsinki, Finland

Infrastructures and Inequalities: Media industries, digital cultures and politics

Joint Conference of three ECREA Sections: Communication and Democracy; Digital Culture and Communication; and Media Industries and Cultural Production

Abstract Deadline 1 June 2019

Confirmed keynote speakers:

* Lisa Parks, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
* Kaarina Nikunen, University of Tampere

In a turn to ‘infrastructuralism’ (Peters 2015), media and communication scholars are increasingly attentive to the materialities and politics of the technological, organisational and cultural infrastructures that underpin media today. Platforms, data centres, software, but also new forms of organising cultural production and labour, shape the politics of digital cultures and transform the media industries. Digital and media infrastructures have become elemental to everyday life. They are significant in reproducing existing social and cultural inequalities, as well as creating new power struggles. As digital/media infrastructures unfold in everyday life, they bring challenges across multiple domains, from the foundations of social justice to the industrial structures underpinning our everyday interactions with media and communication systems. This conference aims to address the politics and inequalities that emerge, as technological and media industries adopt, dismantle and transform infrastructures to channel and process communication flows. Media infrastructures (broadly) operate under different and uneven conditions that configure media labour, media production, and the politics of communication and access (Starosielski and Parks 2015). This conference seeks to examine digital/media infrastructures and inequalities from an inter- and multi-disciplinary perspective, inviting papers to interrogate the significance of the ‘infrastructural turn’ in media and communication studies to our understanding of media industries, democracy and digital cultures.

During this joint-ECREA section conference, we aim to engage with questions concerning inequalities and the infrastructures of digital culture, media industries and (digital) democracy through addressing topics such as (but not limited to):

* The value, significance and relevance of infrastructure studies to media industry studies, the study of media and democracy, as well as digital culture

* The industries and labour that operate and control specific technological media infrastructures, such as data centres, cloud computing, cable/satellite networks, content delivery networks

* The politics and power dynamics of digital/media infrastructures

* The significance of digital/media infrastructures in everyday life, especially related to the reproduction of social inequalities

* The impact of digital/media infrastructures on culture, society, politics and democracy

*The impact of digital/media infrastructures on media labour and cultural production

* The organisational and cultural infrastructures of the media industries

* Experiences and affective relationships that emerge in connection with media infrastructures

* Forms of logistical media

* Temporalities of media infrastructures

* Emerging questions for the foundations of social justice in the digital media infrastructural turn

Submission details

Please submit a 300-word abstract for individual proposals.

Panel proposals should include a 300-word panel rationale plus individual 200 word abstracts from a minimum of four speakers.

All abstracts for individual as well as panel proposals should be submitted through EasyChair:

Deadline for submission is 1 June 2019. Notifications of acceptance will be issued by 30 June 2019.

Registration and Fees

  • Early bird registration €100 (until 12th August)
  • Early bird reduced student fee €50 (until 12 August)
  • Full fees €120 (to be paid until the 15th of September)
  • Reduced student fee €60 (to be paid until the 15th of September)

For more information and enquiries, contact:

Julia Velkova, University of Helsinki at
Anne Kaun, Södertörn University at
Sander de Rieder, University of Ghent at

Or consult the conference website:

Scientific Committee:

Ysabel Gerrard, University of Sheffield
Catherine Johnson, University of Huddersfield
Ana Jorge, Research Centre for Communication and Culture, Universidade
Católica Portuguesa
Anne Kaun, Södertörn University
Maria Michalis, University of Westminster
Christina Neumayer, IT-University of Copenhagen
Sander de Rieder, University of Ghent
Emiliano Treré, University of Cardiff
Julia Velkova, Consumer Society Research Centre, University of Helsinki



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