[FoME] CfP: Networks of transnational and transcultural communication

Tobias Eberwein tobias.eberwein at udo.edu
Mi Apr 18 12:00:05 CEST 2012

Call for Papers

Networks of transnational and transcultural communication: Concepts in 
theory, methodology and research

Conference of the International and Intercultural Communication section 
of the German Communication Association (DGPuK)

November 22-24, 2012, Erich Brost Institute for International 
Journalism, TU Dortmund University, Germany

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 conference, 
which aims at updating the concept of the network in transnational and 
transcultural communication research. The contributions will be grouped 
in three thematic blocks:

1. Theory: In contemporary communication studies, the network approach 
has been accentuated as an ideal perspective to keep track of 
developments related to the current media shift. However, most network 
analyses seem to blank out that the approach in fact has a long 
tradition with (sometimes conflicting) roots in such diverse research 
contexts as logic and mathematics, political science, sociology, social 
anthropology, social psychology and geography. What can we learn from 
these and other (classical as well as contemporary) variations of the 
network approach? Which traditions and innovations in network theory can 
be helpful for explaining current developments of cross-border 
communication? In how far do they also take into account the effects and 
selectivities of network-building processes – and what are alternative 
approaches? By critically retracing and examining these different lines 
of research, the conference wants to specify the concept of the network 
and explore its potentials for transnational and transcultural 
communication research – as well as its limitations.

2. Methodology: The application of network analysis in transnational and 
transcultural communication studies brings new challenges to empirical 
research settings – in all stages of the research process: Which 
particularities need to be taken into account with regard to the 
selection of cases? How can the necessary data be collected and 
analyzed? Which techniques of visualization comply with the standards of 
comparative research? The conference encourages a critical reflection of 
all kinds of methodological challenges in cross-cultural network 
analyses and welcomes presentations of innovative overall research 
designs as well as discussions of specific methodological problems.

3. Empirical analysis: In recent years, the idea of the network has been 
resonating in the analysis of various kinds of scenarios of 
transnational and transcultural communication: Interpersonal networks 
and social movements, network organizations and media markets, online 
journalism and the World Wide Web are just a few objects of research 
that lend themselves to be examined with the help of the network 
approach. However, the approach is not restricted to individuals, 
groups, organizations and other entities, or their communicative acts; 
it can be gainful whenever there is relational data. The conference 
invites proposals that may present all kinds of examinations of 
cross-border communication, be they mediated or non-mediated, which 
demonstrate the advantages (and the disadvantages) of the network 
approach in applied research settings. The presentations can focus on 
transnational and transcultural communicative networks on the micro, the 
meso as well as on the macro level; they may originate from any 
sub-discipline in the field of communication and media studies. Attempts 
at systematizing existing network analyses of cross-cultural 
communication processes are also welcome. Thus, the conference hopes to 
illustrate a broad variety of research on networks of transcultural and 
transnational communication in practice.

Integrated PhD workshop

The conference will be supplemented by a workshop at which PhD students 
can present their dissertation research in international and 
intercultural communication without any thematic restrictions imposed. 
Renowned scholars will be commenting on each presentation, thus offering 
a unique opportunity to obtain constructive feedback from experts who 
would otherwise not be easily available.

Submission and selection of papers

Submissions for the conference should be made in English, submissions 
for the PhD workshop can be made in English or German. Please send your 
proposal to the organizers (iic2012 at brost.org) no later than June 1, 
2012 (using a pdf or a doc file). The abstract must not be longer than 
8000 characters (including blank spaces). Please add a title page to the 
abstract containing the name(s) and address(es) of the presenter(s) and 
the title of the presentation. Conference submissions are for 20-minute 
presentations and should be assigned to one of the three thematic 
blocks. All submissions will be subjected to anonymous review based on 
the criteria of originality, relevance, theoretical foundation, 
appropriateness of the methods used, clarity of language, and reference 
to the conference theme (the latter criterion does not apply to PhD 
workshop submissions). All submitters will be informed by July 13, 2012, 
about the outcome of the selection process.

Local organization

Dipl.-Journ. Tobias Eberwein/
Prof. Dr. Susanne Fengler/
Dipl.-Geogr. Julia Lönnendonker, M.A.
Erich Brost Institute for International Journalism
TU Dortmund University
Otto-Hahn-Straße 2
D-44227 Dortmund
Tel.: +49 (0) 231/755-4152
Fax: +49 (0) 231/755-4131

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