Call: Networks of transnational and transcultural communication

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As everyday life is changing in an era of growing digitalization and internationalization, “network” has become a catchword in the description of current communication processes: People are employing web-based networking platforms to exchange information and organize their social interactions (sometimes with considerable effects on other social entities, as the recent revolts in North Africa and the Middle East have demonstrated); network organizations, often encompassing different geographical areas and sometimes even the whole globe, are reshaping the patterns of economic relations; social structures in general are transforming themselves into an entity that Manuel Castells calls the “network society”. The idea of communication as a network seems particularly promising in the field of transnational and transcultural communication research. However, despite inflationary use of the term “network” in various analytical contexts, its application in communication and media studies remains vague in most instances, often being stuck in a merely metaphorical meaning of the term which blurs the theoretical concepts that stand behind it.

Which potentials and pitfalls may the network approach entail for the study of transnational and transcultural communication processes? Which scenarios of cross-border communication – e.g. from the fields of journalism studies, political or organizational communication, media economics, sociology of or computer-mediated communication – really deserve to be called a network? Which methodological challenges need to be tackled in transcultural and transnational network analyses? And what does “network” actually mean – and how does it relate to alternative terms and concepts, such as hybridity, translation, connectivity and the public sphere? These questions serve as landmarks for the 2012 conference of the International and Intercultural Communication section of the German Communication Association (DGPuK).

The conference carries the title “Networks of transnational and transcultural communication: Concepts in theory, methodology and research” and will take place from November 22-24, 2012. It will be hosted by the Erich Brost Institute for International Journalism at TU Dortmund University. Submissions for the conference should be made in English and must be sent to the organizers no later than June 1, 2012.

More detailed information about the aims of the conference and the submission process can be found in the full Call for Papers.

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